– a science education and translation research group at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland
The Liggins Education Network for Science (LENScience) is a dedicated science education and translation group within the Liggins Institute and a member of Gravida: National Centre for Growth & Development. Our team includes educators, scientists, communicators, and research and teaching support staff.
LENScience, was established in 2006 by Liggins Institute founding director Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, with a view to addressing the critical issue of the widening gulf between science and society. Working in collaboration with scientists and schools, LENScience has developed and implemented a vision for school-science-community partnership focussed on nurturing lifelong scientific and health literacy to support social wellbeing and economic development.
We have a particular focus on effective translation of evidence for the early-life origins of health and disease, the focus of the Liggins Institute and Gravida. However additionally we have worked with scientific partners from throughout New Zealand demonstrating that our partnership model has relevance for the communication and translation of a wide range of science. Within the education sector our model is now used in Cook Islands, Tonga, the United Kingdom (Imperial College London and the University of Southampton) and is seen as a desirable addition to science and education communities.
Our programmes have been used in more than 200 schools across New Zealand. Since inception we have reached well over 50,000 students through a combination of face-to-face programmes, blended e-learning and most importantly through the in-depth learning modules that are enabled by teachers in schools. Our alumni are now returning to contribute back into the programme as PhD students, teachers, health professionals and young scientists.
Our model rejects the practice of scientific outreach via transmission of information. We facilitate partnerships that explore communication, translation and application of scientific knowledge within communities. This is a transactional communication model. It recognises that all partners - scientists, teachers, clinicians, young people and their families - are learners who collectively contribute to understanding and use of science knowledge in appropriate ways within communities.