“La bottega della scienza” is an innovative laboratory of participative research in Trento (Italy), hosted by Fondazione Bruno Kessler with the funding of Autonomous Province of Trento (call “I comunicatori STAR della scienza”), that brings together three different actors of the society: citizens, researchers and high school students.

Following the model of the Science Shops – entities that carry out scientific research on behalf of citizens and local civil society – the aim of the project to collect scientific research proposals from citizens and high school students and teachers: after a selection process, the best proposal become real research projects carried out by the students themselves under the supervision of researchers of Fondazione Bruno Kessler and other local research centers. At the end, for each project the students have to present their results in the form of a real scientific paper.

The goal of the project is therefore twofold: on the one hand, to encourage the active engagement of citizens and schools in the scientific research, and on the other hand to offer young students the opportunity to “touch” the needs of the local community in which they live and to measure themselves against the design and implementation of a research activity based on a real need, in the “name” of civil society.

In the first edition of the project (in the school year 2018/2019), the students of three local high schools realized four on-demand research project (based both on citizens’ suggestions and on proposals by students and teachers of the engaged schools): a study of the environmental impact of 3D printers, a survey about gender discrimination, a questionnaire for students on the best learning strategies and a study of the vegetation of a local river by means a drone.

The second edition (2019/2020) is now in progress.