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Horta ,  February 22, 2019

Gui Menezes admits reforming Network of Azores Science Centres

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology defended in Horta the need "rethink" the Network of Azores Science Centres (RECCA), which can be "reinforced and optimised" through the collaboration with other entities.
Gui Menezes spoke at the opening of the meeting of the Technical and Scientific Council of the Azores Science Centres. On the occasion, he stated that the Regional Government will propose "the creation of RECCA 2020." In addition to encompassing the six Azores Science Centres, it may also include, as associates, the Environmental Interpretation Centres of the Azores and the Network of Regional Museums as well as other public and private non-profit organisations aimed at disseminating the scientific and technological culture.
For the Regional Secretary, "the more entities are involved, the more interesting activities to be developed in order to attract audiences, especially younger ones."
The agenda of today's meeting was focused on the formalisation of the Technical and Scientific Council of RECCA. According to Gui Menezes, it will provide "an important contribution," especially in the "analysis and evaluation of educational and exhibition contents" featured at these spaces as well as in other scientific and educational matters.
The Secretary for Science stated that the Azorean Government counts on advisers to support Science Centres in the annual planning of activities, reminding that, "despite being a responsibility of centres themselves and their governing bodies, a look from outside may enrich the activity" of these spaces.
The government official also emphasised that the dissemination of scientific culture is intended to be "carried out at regional level." In this regard, he pointed out the need to work so that Science Centres will be able to "intensify their activities with schools and the school communities from islands other than those where they are located."
This is a "challenging goal given the geographic dispersion" of the Azores, Gui Menezes said, stressing that it is necessary to make "an effort to reach all islands without Science Centres so that young people and the society in general may have a closer contact with Science."
As for good examples, Gui Menezes pointed out the Fifteen Days of Science and Technology, an initiative that took place between November 15 and 30. Its various activities reached all islands of the archipelago in partnership with Science Centres.
"We recognise the work of these spaces in the dissemination of scientific culture," said the government official. Although science is universal, "it is sometimes easier if we show practical and concrete examples based on regional themes to have the feedback of Azorean youth.
In 2018, Science Centres managed to involve "more than 93 thousand people among participants in activities and visitors," the Regional Secretary mentioned, noting that many visitors were tourists.
"This is a type of audience that should also interest us, and, for this reason, Science Centres should also be part of the tourism offer for families visiting the Region," said the government official.
In his speech, the Regional Secretary also recalled the Action Plan for Scientific and Technological Culture of the Azores (PACCTO Azores) launched last year. It covers five programmes and provides for an overall investment of more than 2.2 million Euros by 2020.
According to Gui Menezes, the implementation of these programmes aimed at promoting scientific culture, bringing citizens closer to science and motivating young people to this area will reach "cruising speed" this year.
"We can say that 2019 will be the year of scientific and technological dissemination in the Azores to the extent that these programmes will be fully implemented," stated the government official.
RECCA currently comprises six spaces: EXPOLAB, the Azores Environment Observatory, the Astronomical Observatory, the Azores Sea Observatory, the Microbial Observatory and the Azores Volcanological and Geothermal Observatory. These entities are privately managed, but the financing is ensured by the Regional Government.
The Technical and Scientific Council of RECCA was recently created and encompasses nine personalities from different fields linked to Science.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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