Systemic evaluation of the ecosystem of science communication actors in Flanders and the role of science centre Technopolis in the ecosystem
In 2017-2018, the time had come to evaluate and renew the management contract of various structural science communication partners of the Flemish Government. They are the science communication expertise units, RVO-Society, the Flemish Public Observatories and the not-for-profit Flanders Technology International vzw (FTI), which also manages Technopolis, the Flemish hands-on science centre in Mechelen. This created a momentum to evaluate not only each of the individual actors, but also the broader landscape of science communication actors, as well as their cohesion and the role that FTI can play in this to strengthen this ecosystem further.
In 2017, IDEA Consult carried out focused evaluations of the expertise units for scientific communication, RVO-Society and the Flemish Public Observatories at the request of the Flemish Government. In 2018, IDEA Consult also carried out a focused evaluation of the FTI’s activities (including the Technopolis hands-on science centre in Mechelen), along with a systemic evaluation of the science communication landscape.
In addition to an extensive document analysis and interviews with stakeholders in Flanders, a benchmark analysis of three foreign science centres and two science communication networks was also carried out for the evaluations. Based on the analysis, a SWOT analysis was drawn up and recommendations were made to the Flemish Government in anticipation of the new covenants.