Dialogue between research and society: 33 Agora projects funded

As part of the 14th call for proposals for the Agora scheme, the SNSF is funding 33 new projects by researchers who want to communicate with the public in collaboration with experts in communication.

Of the 77 project proposals submitted, the SNSF will support 33 projects through the Agora scheme for a total of CHF 6.5 million francs. This represents a success rate of 42.8%. Of the projects funded, 75% are in the humanities and social sciences, 22% are in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, and 3% are in biology and medicine.

The aim of the Agora scheme is to promote direct dialogue between scientists and society. It encourages researchers to communicate their research to a non-specialist audience. Agora projects are based on interactions and mutual listening.

Two important changes to Agora's rules and regulations applied to this call for proposals. Firstly, the applications were also assessed in terms of their contribution to the promotion of diversity and equal opportunities. Secondly, Agora projects had to be submitted jointly by a scientist and a communications specialist, who were evaluated in a similar way to scientists.

Workplace conflicts, artificial intelligence and sensory walks

The projects funded include that of Sara Greco, Annamaria Astrologo and Stefano Tardini (USI). They developed a range of innovative conflict management activities and events for schoolchildren that are applied directly in the classroom. This programme teaches students how to behave in the event of disagreement and provides argumentation support. In the longer term, this approach could help children to cope better with conflicts in everyday life – and later also in the workplace. In collaboration with Gennady Plyushchev (Skyentific), Sylvain Calinon and Emmanuel Senft (Idiap) are creating an AI and robotics installation for Phänomena (2026 in Dietikon) that presents research challenges and encourages exploration of the role of robotics and AI in a creative and artistic way. Rodrigo Camara Leret (UZH) and Antoine Bertin (Studio Antoine Bertin) are designing a sensory walking exhibition in greenhouses, which includes guided walks with audio storytelling, data sculptures and interactive elements.

More information on the funded Agora projects can be obtained from the SNSF database (see link below).

Rolling Call Agora

The Agora scheme also providing funding of up to 50,000 francs to projects throughout the year. Researchers may submit their application at any time, and decisions are given within four months.