Outreach Fund

The European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) welcomes applications to the ESEB Outreach Fund for projects that promote evolution-related activities. The goal of this initiative is to improve public knowledge about evolution globally. Applications for funding will be accepted for educational initiatives that promote evolution, translation of evolutionary material (books, films, and websites) intended for a general audience, public outreach seminars, public exhibitions, etc. While most projects will be financed for a sum between 1000-1500 Euros, exceptions can be made if a strong argument is provided for additional funds. Applications (application form) will be accepted twice yearly (deadlines March 15, September 15) and should be submitted by email to Ute Friedrich (Email: office@eseb.org; Subject: Outreach).

The applications will be evaluated by the Outreach Committee:
Bas Zwaan, Chair (University of Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Santiago Elena (University of Valencia, Spain)
Sara Magalhães (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
Karen D. McCoy (MIVEGEC, CNRS, France)

March 2015 - Accepted Proposals

Evolution's toolkit: how species came to be
Applicants: Wendy A. Valencia-Montoya, Blanca Arbeláez, Carlos Jiménez, Héctor M. Arango, Edwin Hurtado, and Henry Arenas-Castro, Colombia
Funding provided: € 1500
The evolution's travelling toolbox will provide didactic material about evolution for a non-specialist audience. We aim to introduce some evolutionary biology tenets (the origin of species through mutation, reproductive isolation, natural selection, and genetic drift) in an easy and interesting way. We will offer workshops about the use of the toolboxes targeted to high school teachers and public libraries to which the toolbox will be given for free in eight cities of Colombia. Furthermore, we will publish an electronic version and tutorials of the games at www.colevol.co.

Using object-based learning to support pre-service teachers’ subject and pedagogical knowledge and understanding of the evidence for biological evolution.
Applicants: Paul Davies, Joanne Nicholl, and Dean Veall, UK
Funding provided: € 1735
This project is designed to support both pre- and in-service high-school teachers in understanding about some of the important evidence for evolution, and developing their pedagogical approaches in teaching students about evolution. Based at the Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL, London, the project builds on the theory of object-based learning to develop materials with teachers that use museum specimens to explore ideas of homologous and analogous structures, adaptation and variation and common ancestry. An important outcome from the project will be the development of classroom-based resources for use in school, which will utilize specimens from the museum, to enhance the teaching and learning about evolution in U.K. schools.

Ode to Evolution: a podcast series integrating evolution, art and storytelling.
Applicants: Lauren Esposito and Kathryn Quigley, USA
Funding provided: € 1500
It is very difficult for modern humans to simultaneously grasp their insignificance in the evolutionary tree of life, and their tremendous significance with respect to influencing the course of evolution. This fundamental misconception lies at the heart of what has led us to the precipice of another mass extinction event on Earth. Ode to Evolution is a five episode podcast series, that uses a storytelling approach to relate key concepts in evolution. Each podcast will follow scientists exploring evidence for evolution via examples of current research in the field of Evolutionary Biology, accompanied by 1-2 minute animated videos, and lesson plans for adaptation in schools. Offering the public a deep perspective of the scale of evolution and the human relationship with life on earth, Ode to Evolution provides a valuable perspective at a critical moment in history.

Applicants: Kamna Shastri and Bashira Chowdhury, USA
Funding provided: € 983
scienceRMBL is a weekly half-hour long radio broadcast of stories narrated by evolutionary ecologists in English and Spanish. We bring together three scientists per episode to tell the stories underlying their work. Through storytelling, we aim to excite our audience about evolution and ecology while emphasizing the critical thinking that scientists employ to address evolutionary puzzles. In our stories, we will explore perspectives that are often overlooked in discussions of evolutionary ecology. And through our station affiliates, we will speak to underrepresented communities worldwide, bringing stories to those often left out of mainstream scientific enrichment.

Science Bus
Applicant: Ian Song, USA
Funding provided: € 1600
5C Science Bus teaches hands-on, interactive science lessons to more than 500 upper elementary school students on a weekly basis. Many of the students we serve are from underrepresented minority groups and/or are socioeconomically disadvantaged and have few opportunities to learn about evolution in a fun and engaging way. Since evolution is an integral part of our understanding of the natural world, this topic will be featured as one of the lessons at our annual Science Day event, open to student participants and their families. Currently planned lessons for Science Day and for our weekly visits to the classrooms include lessons on adaptation (using art supplies to “build” animals that respond to environmental stimuli) and natural selection (using different colored beads on various substrates), and new lessons are under development.

Different Approaches and Models for a New Didactics of Evolution (EvoDiAMoND)
Applicant: Claudia Vannini, Italy
Funding provided: € 1000
The aim of the proposal is to raise awareness in future researchers and teachers on the multifaceted aspects of evolution as they are being shaped by the latest frontiers of knowledge and on the fact that their impact mainly depends on the propriety of the language by which they are disseminated. We believe that the perception of the wide spectrum of approaches and models applicable to the evolution is a key step to develop more effective didactic approaches. A workshop will be held by experts in different fields of scientific communication (educators, journalists, museum curators) and by scientists working on different evolutionary models, with MS/PhD students and life science teachers as the target audience. Cross strategies to make concepts and results of the current evolutionary theory outreached at different educational levels will be looked up and assessed.

Experimental evolution at play: Illustrating the importance of the components of adaptive evolution by using drawings.
Applicant: Adam Uriel and Jelle Zandveld, The Netherlands
Funding provided: € 1500
'Experimental evolution at play' is a combined educational and artistic workshop in which we illustrate the role of selection, heritability and variation in evolution by making use of drawings made by students. The key aim is to fire young adolescents´ imagination so as to envision for themselves what life´s characteristics, challenges and conditions were/are like in remote times, environments, or scales.
As Richard Dawkins suggests in 'the selfish gene'(1976) there are parallels between what he terms ´memes´ in culture, and genes in nature. Memes can be seen as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures. In the workshop, we apply this concept to drawings (of a life form) as drawings can also be replicated (i.e. redrawn), show variation between students (new mutations occur when drawings are redrawn) and can be selected by another student to be redrawn. And so we expect a gradual change of drawings to happen when this process is repeated enough times.
After visiting twelve high schools, each of which represents another generation of this ‘experimental evolution of drawings’ we make an animation movie of the gradually changed drawings that will be shown at each high school.

September 2014 - Accepted Proposals

Breaking Bio: video and audio podcasts with leading scientists
Applicant: Tom Houslay, UK
Funding provided: € 900
Breaking Bio (http://breakingbio.com) is a general-audience interview podcast with scientists and science communicators that focuses on current and future leaders in the biological sciences, particularly evolutionary biology. Our main goal is to humanise scientists, and to make their research accessible to a non-specialist audience. The podcast provides scientists with a platform to express their ideas and enthusiasm for their research in their own words; recent guests and topics include the evolution of cooperation with Dr. Andrew Jackson, Prof. Marlene Zuk on studying rapid evolution in the wild, and a chat with renowned science writer and National Geographic contributor David Quammen. We also aim to enthuse, inspire and include young scientists (for example, we recorded short-form interviews with Columbia University’s MA Conservation Biology class on their research topics). We hope to extend our reach further into classrooms and online communities to illustrate the breadth and importance of evolutionary research.

Evolution Education with Feeling!
Applicant: Kristin Jenkins, USA
Funding provided: € 1100
The goal of this project is to adapt existing evolution education materials for students with visual impairments. The target audience is K-16 students. Specific materials to be adapted include a natural selection activity that traditionally involves picking colored markers off a colorful piece of cloth, and adapting an activity for teaching tree thinking which uses a combination of the Great Clade Race and a pipecleaner activity. Additional activities may be adapted as time and funding allows. We propose to develop tactile variations of these effective and popular activities to allow visually impaired students to benefit from using these valuable resources alongside their sighted peers.

The Bush of Life 3D teaser
Applicant: Jonathan Landais, France
Funding provided: € 1500
Nunatak plans to create an “educational installation”, a physical sculpture enlighted in interaction with visitors thanks to a mobile app. The scientific validation is made by Prof Guillaume Lecointre (National Museum of Natural History).
In order to explain the subject of the concentric vision of Theory of Evolution and to explain the operation of the physical sculpture (the “Bush”), we will produce a 3D video trailer. The 3D trailer has the power to explain clearly in a short time a project.
This trailer will help us to present our project to the institutional prospects (museums, scientific centers …) and it will be used in the crowdfunding campaign we will start to fund the fabrication of the Bush of Life.
This 3D trailer will last 1 minute. It will both help us to present the Bush of Life and explain the current representation of the Theory of Evolution.

"Evolve an animal": an interactive game for kids
Applicant: Denis M. Larkin, UK
Funding provided: € 1200
The aim of the project is to develop an interactive game to help kids to understand principles of DNA and chromosome evolution. One of the reasons why evolutionary concepts are difficult to be accepted is because the evolutionary changes are not visible and traceable during a human life. Therefore a simple interactive game that would allow kids to "see" and "get involved" with the DNA evolutionary process would help them to understand how the evolution works and be prepared for the acceptance of evolutionary concepts. In our game the player would be given a "breakable" set of ancestral chromosomes, fragments of which could be arranged in many ways. When fragments are moved to new positions they go through "the evolutionary process" that leads to novel phenotypes of a new species. The game will be tested at local schools and will accompanied with an e-book introducing concepts of chromosome evolution in several languages.

Evolution in a Summer Science Camp: Answering the Why(s)?
Applicants: Leila Masri, Georg Heilig and Sophie Fessl, Austria
Funding provided: € 1100
The aim of this project is (i) to make evolutionary biology accessible to children aged between 6 and 10 years, as evolutionary biology is usually taught at much later ages, (ii) to train future teachers to experimentally address topics of interest and (iii) to build a bridge between available research centers in evolutionary biology and younger generations. Thus we will organize a one week Summer Science Camp, titled “Answering the Why(s)" during which we will develop an entertaining field and experimental program to answer the typical and endlessly asked questions by children: "Why?". "Why are roosters colorful?" "Why are there so many species?" "Why…?"
The activities of this program will be developed and carried out by scientists of evolutionary biology and students from a teacher education institute. The children will benefit from several research centers working on several fields of evolutionary biology, such as IST Austria.

Animation explaining the dangers associated with the evolution of antibiotic resistance in microbes to increase awareness in the Egyptian public
Applicant: Sara Mitri, UK
Funding provided: € 1500
This project will create a short animated video aimed at increasing awareness and understanding among the Egyptian public of the dangers of the evolution of antibiotic resistance, with the goal of reducing the misuse of antimicrobial drugs. In Egypt these drugs can be bought without prescription and over-medication by physicians as well as patient self-medication are common. Excessive use of antibiotics is a substantial driver of the global spread of resistance, as well as damaging patients' health. Our video will target physicians and prospective patients, and explain the problems and causes of antibiotic resistance, emphasizing how antibiotics are not appropriate for ailments such as the common cold. The video will be made available online, and disseminated through social media, following in the success of similar public information campaigns.

Touch Tank Evolution: Exploring Local Adaptation in a Variable Ocean
Applicants: Sara Schaal and Katie E. Lotterhos, USA
Funding provided: € 950
Local adaptation plays an important role in evolution, but this process is not widely understood by the general public. This activity will illustrate local adaptation in the ocean through the use of touch tanks containing different populations of the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) grown in a common garden. These populations experience various pH levels and temperatures in their natural range, which cause variation in shell thickness and size between populations. By observing differences in these morphological traits, students from local high schools and the local science center will be challenged to make hypotheses as to why phenotypes differ when grown under the same conditions. In addition, the workshop will illustrate concepts of climate change, how knowledge of local adaptation can help us predict responses to climate change, and how local adaptation relates to the mechanisms of evolution: migration, mutation, selection, and drift. Finally, we will produce an interactive webpage for use in classrooms that cannot visit the tanks.

Applicant: Eli Vieira Araujo-Jnr., UK
Funding provided: € 450
Evolucionismo.org is a website created in 2009 to tackle some of the problems faced in the teaching of evolutionary biology in Portuguese-speaking countries, by spreading up-to-date information about evolution and related topics. Among the educational challenges faced by these countries, those related to the teaching of evolution are of particular concern. Even when, e.g., the Brazilian government's guidelines are acceptable, students will often learn about evolution only in the last year of high school. Science denialists are increasing in numbers and getting more organised and politically active, even trying to pass a bill (PL 8099/2014, Brazil) to impose the teaching of Creationism in schools. The project has reached thousands of people in Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde; and includes a Q&A section now with more than 477 answers, all freely available for teachers and students. Evolucionismo is run voluntarily by biologists and can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.
→ Click here to reach the project web site.

Comic book and game to cover the recent addition of evolution to the UK primary school curriculum
Applicant: Daniel Zadik, UK
Funding provided: € 1000
We are producing a comic book for schools, aiming to cover the evolutionary concepts recently added to the UK primary school curriculum. We also plan to provide supplementary teaching materials, such as home-work tasks, required to easily plan lessons. Humour, characterful artwork and an integrated game will ensure that the subject matter is fun and inspiring, as well as scientifically accurate, so that children would also enjoy reading/playing at home.
It will initially be available on-line to teachers and children around the world, free of charge, and will be updated as work continues. On completion, books will be printed and distributed to collaborating primary schools. We will also translate the text into other languages, and make several versions available on-line.

Meeting with Darwin and his ideas Tour
Applicants: César Alberto González Zuarth, Mexico
Funding provided: € 1800
The ultimate goal of our project is to create "The Evolution Fest Tour" and visit the main cities in the Peninsula of Yucatan México to spread the importance of watching our world from the perspective of the evolutionary theory, so children, students and adults realize that this theory not only allows us to answer such profound questions as "Who are we?" "Where did we come from?", but also the significant role of evolution in our daily lives. For example, the origin of the antibiotics resistance bacteria. The Fest will consist of a posters exhibition with basic information about the evolutionary theory, video presentations with a debate at the end of each one, conferences with our participation and local academics as speakers, a discussion panel entitled "Evolution vs ID", a workshop "Building complexity through natural selection" for all people and the workshop "Playing with Darwin" for elementary school children.

March 2014 - Accepted Proposals

Science To Go: George Price’s London and the Theory of Altruism
Applicant: Jennifer Carpenter, Canada
Funding provided: € 2000
This mobile app tells the story of George Price---the man who theorised altruism---by bringing his London haunts to life. As you travel around the city, GPS-triggered audio-stories tell the final 12 years of Price's life and his journey to solving the riddle of why altruism evolved. Combining interviews with leading scientists, extracts from his letters and papers, and the adaptation of an award-winning play, we will take you on a listening tour of Price's 1970s London and a theory that is helping scientists understand everything from the genetics of kindness to the neuroscience of human charity and fairness.

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: Evolution Zone
Applicant: Sive Finlay, Ireland
Funding provided: € 1500
I’m a Scientist gets scientists and school students talking, online at http://imascientist.ie for 2 weeks. It consists of 5 scientists writing profiles, being questioned, taking part in live chats with students and facing eviction rounds based on the votes of 350 students. At the end of the two weeks the winning scientist receives € 500 as a prize to spend on further science communication. An Evolution Zone will encourage discussions on the topic between students and research scientists. Students will have the opportunity to ask whatever they like about evolution to evolutionary biology experts. Scientists will develop their communication skills, gain a fresh perspective on their research, and find out what young people think about evolution, science and the role of scientists.

Darwin’s sparrows’: measuring evolution in the schoolyard.
Applicants: Xana Sá Pinto, Raquel Vasconcelos, Carina Fernandes, Rui Freitas, Corrine Almeida, Aline Rendall, Elyane Dias, Pedro Cardia, Samir Martins, Augusto Faustino, and Martim Melo, Portugal
Funding provided: € 2000
During his stay in Cape Verde, Darwin was amazed by the natural curiosity and genuine interest of children. Here we aim to build on these children features to promote a long lasting understanding of evolution in Cape Verdean students by focusing on Passer iagoensis, an endemic sparrow from this archipelago and one of the first species collected by Darwin. We will organize workshops for biology teachers in distinct Cape Verdean islands where this species is present and link teachers and their pupils to an on-going scientific research project that aims to study the evolution of Passer iagoensis. The school communities will be invited to explore morphological variability of this species and collect data that, together with data obtained by scientific researchers, will be used to test evolutionary hypotheses. Resulting databases will be made available on the internet in Cape Verdean, Portuguese, and English so that this system can be used to promote active learning on evolution elsewhere.

Speciation patterns on Mount Kinabalu explained for visitors of the Kinabalu World Heritage Site
Applicant: Menno Schilthuizen, The Netherlands
Funding provided: € 2000
In 2012, Malaysia’s Sabah Parks and Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands, organised the "Crocker Range – Kinabalu Expedition" to Mt. Kinabalu (the tallest mountain in Southeast-Asia). 40 Malaysian and Dutch biologists collaborated to derive generalised evolutionary scenarios for the origin of the high number of high-elevation endemics on the summit of Kinabalu, using single- and multi-locus phylogeographies for several tens of taxa.
To make the results also accessible for the 240,000 local and international visitors to Kinabalu Park, we wish to produce information boards that can be placed in a prominent place in the park and can explain the speciation scenarios that have led to the mountain’s unique and largely endemic biodiversity.

Microbial drug-resistance: an evolutionary perspective for medical graduates
Applicants: Roshan Vijendravarma and Sunitha Narasimha, Switzerland
Funding provided: € 1000
The primary goal of this project is to sensitize medical graduates to the indiscriminate usage of antibiotics in India and its role in evolving drug-resistant pathogens. A symposium along with a discussion session with evolutionary biologists will be organized for representative students from the 12 medical colleges located in Bangalore, the garden city of India. In addition, a book list covering topics on Evolutionary Medicine and display books will be prepared for the medical college libraries in an attempt to integrate evolutionary biology into the curriculum.

September 2013 - Accepted Proposals

Our Cousin From Mozambique: Tales (and Skulls) From Our Mammalian Origins
Applicant: Rui Castanhinha, Portugal
Funding provided: € 2300
We will use Niassodon mfumukasi, a new fossil species found in 2009 in the Niassa region of Mozambique, as a cinematic leitmotif for a short-feature broad-audience documentary on the evolutionary history of mammals. With this documentary we expect to fill in a scientific-culture gap that currently prevails among the general audience: the evolutionary history of our mammalian origins. The documentary will be subtitled in English and made available on the web (Vimeo and Youtube).

Applicants: Tatiana Giraud and Laetitia Giraud, France
Funding provided: € 1500
The fund will be used for creating a theatre play and a movie (1h) to explain Evolution to children, written based on interviews, discussions and debates between children, scientists and actors/artists in schools, and created with stage actors, puppets, music, and cartoon movies. Working with children will reveal their false beliefs and help discover the best arguments and illustrations for them. Interactions between scientists, artists, teachers and children will also stimulate curiosity, imagination and creativity, and link education to theatre. The play will inform theatre audiences while arousing their curiosity and desire to learn about evolution. The theatre play will be in French, but the movie will be translated in English and Spanish.
→ Three of the interviews (in French) are now available at YouTube following one of these links: interview with Puri Lopez Garcia; interview with Jacques Arnould; interview with Cédric Villani.

A bedtime picture book of evolution
Applicant: Jan Heuschele, Denmark
Funding provided: € 1800
The goal of the project is to produce a picture book that introduces young kids and their parents to the general processes and requisites of evolution: variation, heritability and selection, as well as common mechanisms of speciation. The picture book will provide examples for variation (e.g. in shape and behaviour), heritability, and how different phenotypes can lead to different survival and fitness rates. In addition to the picture book layer, it will contain a text layer with an accompanying story and a layer providing the scientific background and real life examples. I think such an easy picture book is necessary as for many people evolution is still a very abstract construct, despite the fact that the basic principles of evolution are actually very accessible and easy to understand. It will be freely available as an e-book and a pdf, and the text will be initially in German, English and French.
→ The English version of the e-book is now available here.

Small variations for Big changes
Applicants: Mushtaq Hussain and Nusrat Jabeen, Pakistan
Funding provided: € 1500
The primary goal of this project is to develop and raise public awareness about evolution especially with reference to microbial pathogens and human diseases in Pakistan. Lectures (delivered by both local and international experts) will be organized to familiarize the audience with the fundamental concepts of evolutionary biology and its applications in health and medicine. The grant will also be used to conduct phylogenomic studies on different genes associated with the microbial virulence, animal/plant development and diseases. University level workshops will be organized to train interested students to study evolution of genes and species using computational tools. A series of posters will be exhibited on venues to illustrate the evidences and processes/mechanism of evolution across life forms. A small book will be prepared to describe evolution and its importance in the understanding of modern biology. The book will be distributed on CDs to participants and will be made available to the ESEB website.
→ Summary: The Project “Small Variations for Big Changes” funded by European Society for Evolutionary Biology and US Full Bright comprises series of seminar and workshops in connection to evolutionary biology. The programs have been conducted successfully in Pakistan principally organized by Dr Mushtaq Hussain and Dr Nusrat Jabeen. The seminar series include lectures on principles and evidences of evolution, evolution as applied science, evolutionary medicine and molecular evolution which has been delivered in various universities in Pakistan. In addition, full scale workshops on computational molecular evolution were conducted in four educational institutes namely Dow International Medical College, Dow Medical College, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Karachi and Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur. In total 23 posters were made and exhibited on all occasions, of these 16 covering the basic aspects of the evolution whereas remaining describing the some preliminary research conducted by the team members. The posters encompass several topics of evolution such as phylogenomics, structural phylogenomics and genomic repeats etc. In total the seminars were attended by more than 2300 individuals and training for tools of structural phylogenomics was provided to over 100 individuals.
Please find the details following this link: https://www.facebook.com/fintsci
→ To get some impressions from the events click here
→ 18 Posters are available here: Poster01_Evolution_Descent with Modification; Poster02_Natural Selection_Driving Force of Evolution; Poster03_Molecular Evolution_Roots of All Roots; Poster04_Genes and Genome_Evolution; Poster05_Evolution of GAB Gene Family; Poster06_History of History; Poster07_Virus Evolution_Nothing Short of Surprises; Poster08_Bacterial Evolution_HGT; Poster09_Fungal Evolution; Poster10_Plant Evolution; Poster11_Animal Evolution; Poster12_Birds the Modern Day Dinosaur; Poster13_Whale Evolution; Poster14_Evolutionary Medicine_Ultimate Reasoning of Sickness; Poster15_EVO-DEVO_History Repeats itself; Poster16_Evolution_Basic Science to Drug Discovery; Poster17_Animal Models and Evolution; Poster18_Evolution of Microsatellites

Science Goes Kindergarten: The Entangled Bank
Applicant: Anna-Liisa Laine, Finland
Funding provided: € 1300
→ Summary report: Children are inherently curious, but kindergartens often lack the resources and expertise to teach children how this curiosity translates to science. We organized a series of workshops where children learned, through demonstrations and their own experiments, how fine-tuned adaptations link species to one another. We focused on the well-characterized community surrounding plant Plantago lanceolata, including plant pathogens, and butterfly larvae to demonstrate how species can only survive through interactions that range from mutualism to antagonism. We also compiled a package of simple ideas that can be used in kindergartens to teach children about coevolution, ranging from field observations to small experiments. During the workshops, we hoped to break any false scientist stereotypes by showing the children that both boys and girls can have fun and be creative in science.

March 2013 - Accepted Proposals

Plants and animals evolution in Madagascar
Applicants: Elena Carrió, Alicia Bonilla, Alicia M. Donnellan, and Eduardo Barona, Spain
Funding provided: € 1000
Madagascar is well known for being one of the most important centers of biodiversity in the world, but population growth and economic crises have exacerbated the degradation and destruction of this unique ecosystem. It is urgent to communicate the importance of biodiversity to the Malagasy population. This proposal will fund an educational workshop for children from the Tulear community of Madagascar. We will explain the evolutionary history of Malagasy plants and animals using games, videos and posters, and a field lab. We also will produce a pamphlet containing activities about evolution in French and Malagasy.

→ Summary: The island of Madagascar is characterized by an exceptional evolutionary history. The isolation of the island, the topographic and environmental variation, as well as the large variety of rocks and types of soils, has had a fundamental role in the plants and animals evolution. The aim of this project is to encourage the children in the Malagasy communities to know the evolutionary history of the island. A one-day session has been carried out in the Tulear district where 300 children participated. Furthermore, a tutoring guide for teachers has been elaborated, along with a poster distributed to schools in the island. Students and teachers have welcomed this project with enthusiasm.
→ The report is available here.
→ The guide and the poster can be found at the web site of Yelcho Foundation: Homepage, guide and poster in Spanish and French.

Brain Evolution in the News Video Podcasts
Applicant: Alexandra A. de Sousa, UK
Funding provided: € 1000
In this project, we will develop a video format to dramatize current research on brain evolution and include ‘vodcast’ interviews with scientists. The material will be posted on our website, Brain Evolution In the News (http://brainevolutionnews.blogspot.co.uk). The target audience includes the general public (internet users), young people, and others fascinated by brain evolution. By making the videos freely accessible on the internet, we aim to be as inclusive as possible, and we will use social media, directories, and search engines to maximize outreach.
→ The episodes are freely available on YouTube, in English, with the option of adding subtitles in other languages. Episodes will be released one at a time on the first of every month beginning 1 November 2014, at www.youtube.com/channel/UC3auPLiTd7-WPF0ppjZ0QSw
→ The report is available here

Public Outreach to Improve Teaching of Evolutionary Biology in High Schools in Northern Ethiopia
Applicant: Tsegazeabe Hadush Haileselasie, Ethiopia
Funding provided: € 2000
In Tigray in Northern Ethiopia, there is currently a lack of evolutionary biology reference material accessible in the local language (Tigrigna, ትግርኛ). We will hold an educational workshop with selected high school biology teachers and evolutionary biology experts. Evolutionary biology experts from three Universities in Tigray will present core concepts of evolutionary biology, misconceptions of evolutionary biology, and the contributions of evolutionary biology to our understanding of biology. Seminars from this workshop will then be summarized and translated into Tigrigna and printed in a booklet to be distributed to local high schools.

Interactive Tree of Life
Applicant: Barbara Milutinovic, Germany/Croatia
Funding provided: € 700
This proposal funds the development of an interactive Tree of Life component to the online educational portal in Croatia for teaching of biology (www.bioteka.hr), a site aimed primarily for children and teenagers. Material on the evolution of life is currently scattered throughout the portal. This proposal will draw these articles altogether and make them readily accessible by placing the articles, as appropriate, on the Tree of Life according to the geological time-scale, from the beginning of the universe and formation of the first cells to the evolution of different taxa. In this way, the Tree would significantly aid understanding of the evolutionary history of life. This educational portal is currently the only online portal in Croatia (as well as in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Herzegovina) written by academically educated experts where children can read and learn about the evolution of life.
→ The Interactive Tree of Life (in Croatian) is available here.

Popularizing Evolution in China
Applicant: Longfei Shu, Switzerland
Funding provided: € 1500
This outreach initiative will translate ESEB's "Evolution Matters: A Guide to the Creationism/Evolution Controversy" into Chinese. This translation will provide access to this material for more than 1.3 billion Chinese speaking people. In addition, we will collaborate with online media and social networking websites to draw more attention to and interest in evolution, especially among the younger generations in China.

Shimmying the Science of Sex: Communicating Research via the Platform of the Arts
Applicant: Cedric Tan, UK
Funding provided: € 1000
Using a combination of original dance choreography, original music and humor, our team aims to promote the highlights of cutting-edge research in evolution to high school students, non-scientists and artists through in an instinctive yet creative manner through a video that will leave a lasting impression. This new artistic piece will illustrate the evolutionary consequences of kinship for sexual conflict and competition through movements inspired by competitive sports. Together with our previous award-winning videos, our new video will be actively promoted via social media sites, posters, presentations and live performances at educational institutes and theatres.
→ The new video is available here and it won the "Dance your PhD" competition by Science journal in 2013 (click here for more information).

September 2012 - Accepted Proposals

Evolutionary theory in the modern world
Applicant: Anton Chernenko, Finland
Funding provided: € 1300
Funds will be used to present a seminar about the history of evolutionary thinking in Eastern Kazakhstan, where few resources on evolutionary biology currently exist. The seminar will be followed by a movie, which will be developed using ESEB Outreach funds and prepared in collaboration with local teachers. The movie will describe the core ideas in evolutionary biology and will present short biographies of some of the scientists behind these ideas. The movie (in Russian) will be made available on line, so that teachers and the public will have continued access to the movie.
→ To read the report click here, the presentation can be downloaded here. →To see the movie follow the link or use https://vimeo.com/107512761.

Origin of life and its continuity
Applicants: N. Haraprasad, B. Manoj Kumar, and Hema B.P., India
Funding provided: € 1500
This outreach project aims to increase awareness and knowledge about evolutionary theory among school children and undergraduate students in India. A poster contest will be held on the topic of "Evolutionary biology in the 21st century". The students submitting the 10 best posters, judged by experts in the field of evolutionary biology, will then be mentored by the experts to further develop their posters in English such that the posters clearly explain core concepts in evolution. These posters will then be professionally printed, framed, and presented to ~300 high school students at 3 different schools in and around Mysore.
→ The report is available here.

Applicant: Stephen E. Harris, USA
Funding provided: € 1500
Belize is a developing country lacking sufficient funds for quality science education, but it also contains some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world including one of the largest coral reefs. Innovative, inquiry-based science curriculum is needed to increase students’ interest in STEM fields and create authentic research opportunities to develop the human capital in Belize.
BioBelize addresses this need by teaching high school science students in Belize the techniques of DNA extraction, PCR, and gel electrophoresis, and then trains local science teachers to work with their students in creating original research. Using a basic lab set up, students will learn modern tools used by evolutionary biologists to answers questions about biodiversity and the evolutionary history of organisms. While preparing students to enter into science oriented careers, the results will be publicized in Belize through newspaper articles, local TV, and documented on the programs website, www.biobelize.org.
→ The project along with the curriculum (Introducing DNA barcoding to students in NYC and Belize) won Science magazine's Inquiry Based Instruction prize and an essay has been published in Science. Further information and the link to the publication can be obtained at the BioBelize.

Galápagos: islands that changed the world
Applicant: Lukas Keller, Switzerland
Funding provided: € 1500
The Galápagos islands, with their fascinating and unique biodiversity, were an important source of inspiration for Charles Darwin and for many scientists that followed and are consequently protected as a UNESCO world heritage site. The Galápagos badly need this protection: invasive plants and animals threaten their unique biodiversity. This project will develop a traveling museum exhibit to raise awareness of the unique biodiversity of the Galápagos, the process of evolution that created it, and the role that these islands play in evolutionary biology. The target audience are families with children aged 10-14. It will be produced initially in English and German but can easily be adapted to other languages.
→ Information about the exhibition is available here. To download the exhibition travel guide please follow this link.

Understanding evolutionary biology: an initiative to improve the teaching of evolution in Chilean high schools
Applicants: Marco A. Méndez, Sylvain Faugeron, Carezza Botto, and Rodrigo Medel, Chile
Funding provided: € 1500
The aim of this project is to provide high school teachers (K-12) with the basic tools to improve their teaching capacity in evolutionary biology. Since evolution textbooks in Spanish are almost absent for high school use in Chile, we will develop a free e-book that illustrates the basic concepts and clarifies common misconceptions about evolution. This activity will be carried out by the Sociedad Chilena de Evolución (SOCEVOL), whose mission is to promote evolutionary thinking and improve the teaching of evolution in Chile.
→ To read the report click here.
→ The e-book is available for download here.

Raising Awareness about Evolutionary Theory and its Relevance to Biodiversity Conservation and Human Health and Disease in Madagascar
Applicant: Jean Eric Rakotoarisoa, USA
Funding provided: € 1000
Although Madagascar is widely viewed as a natural laboratory for the study evolution, evolutionary biology is not a part of most curricula in Madagascar. The goal of this project is to raise awareness about the importance and relevance of evolution, particularly with respect to biodiversity conservation and human health and disease. This goal will be achieved through three activities: 1) workshops and seminars at major universities; 2) public outreach seminars and exhibitions; and 3) translation of relevant outreach materials from various sources to French and Malagasy.

Laugh and Learn
Applicants: Valentina Rossetti, Michael Griesser, and Mathias Kölliker, Switzerland
Funding provided: € 1000
Funds will be used to develop a series of comic strips that convey key concepts in evolutionary biology to the general public in an easy, attractive, and fun way. A particular focus will be on the importance of cooperative behaviour in the evolution of living organisms. Scientists and artist will work collaboratively to develop effective take-home messages that are then turned into comic strips. These comic strips will initially be targeted to free newspapers in Switzerland and then will be made available on-line (in English and in German).
→ The first three comics are available here: Comic 1; Comic 2; Comic 3

March 2012 - Accepted Proposals

Tree of Evolution Movement
Applicants: Çağrι Mert Bakιrcι and Babür Erdem, Turkey
Funding provided: € 2000
Funds will be used to hold seminars and workshops on evolution in Turkey, improving the dissemination of information about evolution throughout the country. With support from the METU Biology and Genetics Society, five events are planned in various Turkish cities, involving workshops and question-and-answer sessions about evolutionary biology. In addition, ESEB Outreach funds will be used for website development to improve access to information in Turkish about evolutionary principles and to serve as a forum for dialogue with the community about evolutionary questions (www.evrimagaci.com/; “Evrim Aĝacι” meaning “Tree of Evolution”).
→ The report is available here.

Short video teasers on evolution
Applicants: Pierre Capy and Sylvie Salamitou, France
Funding provided: € 2000
Funding will be used to develop very short films dedicated to evolution. These video vignettes will carry a simple message about evolution and will be illustrated by various means (cartoons, graphics, images, etc.). It is crucial that scientists be able to deliver clear messages about evolution in a manner that captures the attention of the audience and that is able to deliver simple but important messages. The films will be available on-line in French and in English. The target audience includes teachers, who could use our films as the basis for lessons or discussions.
→ The four short films can be watched here (French version).

Little Changes
Applicant: Tiffany Taylor, UK
Funding provided: € 2000
"Little Changes" is a children’s book which will be an aide for primary school teachers looking to introduce the topic of evolution. The book will be freely available online, as a free e-book, and a limited run print version will also be produced for distribution to school science coordinators. Important principles are subtly introduced – such as variation, survival of the fittest, heritability and adaptation – in a way that would be easily comprehensible by both primary school children and their teachers. This book will also be coupled with online activities based around the characters, reinforcing the themes introduced in the book.
→ The virtual book can be read here.

September 2011 - Accepted Proposals

I have a question … and may have the answer! - a book about Evolution
Applicant: Rita Campos, Portugal
Funding provided: € 2000
The goal of the activity is to produce a book about evolutionary biology based on questions and answers obtained directly from children. These questions and answers will be obtained through a contest open to children aged between 5 to 17 years old. Expert comments and answers will also be provided for each question. The book will be freely available on the web (in Portuguese and English) and a limited run print version will also be produced (in Portuguese). This activity will help address the scarcity of educational resources about evolution available in Portuguese for children as well as for anyone who is interested in biodiversity and evolution.
→ A pdf file of the book can be downloaded here in Portuguese and Spanish.
→ For additional information in Portuguese follow this link to the blog UM LIVRO SOBRE EVOLUÇÃO.

The Evolution of Evolutionary Thought
Applicants: Tania Jenkins et al., Switzerland
Funding provided: € 2000
The aim of this project is to trace the evolution of evolutionary thought from pre-Darwinian times to the present in a visually striking way, producing a web-based "infographic" (available in French, Spanish, and German) and associated poster. Standing at the intersection of science and art, this infographic will show through an innovative use of colour, text and graphics how selected evolutionary theories have themselves evolved. By integrating design and content, our aim is to show, directly and visually, how evolution by natural selection has come to be established and reveal the beauty underlying evolutionary theory.
→ The report is available here.
→ The graphic can be downloaded here as pdf file in English, in French, in German, and in Spanish.
→ The website "progressofevolution" of this project can be found here.

Unnatural History: What bizarre biology can teach us about evolution
Applicant: Laurence Loewe et al., USA
Funding provided: € 1000
In celebration of Darwin Day 2012, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, holds a public outreach event that combines a variety of activities to engage the public in interesting conversations about evolution. This proposal funds a workshop for high school teachers associated with the event, where faculty and staff from the J.F. Crow Institute share their expertise with local educators. The workshop will both enhance their knowledge-base and provide them with three specific activities that they can implement in their classrooms. We believe that by working with high school teachers we can have a much amplified effect on the public understanding of evolution and science in general.
→ The web site of the event can be found here.

Improving Understanding of Evolutionary Concepts for Secondary School Teachers
Applicants: Fabien Rizinjirabake and Egide Kalisa, Rwanda
Funding provided: € 1500
This project aims to offer a better understanding of evolutionary biology to teachers of evolution biology in Rwandan high schools. We will organize provincial workshops for Rwandan high school evolutionary biology teachers, reviewing evolutionary processes and discussing common misconceptions of evolution. We will also develop an evolutionary biology module syllabus to provide to participants, who currently lack evolutionary biology books or materials for use in their classrooms.

Whale of a Tail: What Skeletons Tell Us about Marine Mammal Evolution
Applicants: Anne Stewart and Hana Kucera, Canada
Funding provided: € 2000
A major challenge when teaching evolution is the need for appealing examples that are visual, clear and concrete. The diverse collection of marine mammal skeletons at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) will be used to demonstrate the evolution of mammalian adaptations to the marine environment. We will develop high school focused labs through a "virtual lab" to be delivered by videoconference, as well as a set of photos and text to be used in an interactive website. The goal is to provide access for students and teachers around the world with the unique opportunity to see adaptation and convergence in bone structure over the evolutionary history of marine mammals.
→ The interactive web site can be found here.
→ The link to the Life lab web site is given here.

March 2011 - Accepted Proposals

Evolutionary games with everyday materials - activities for primary and secondary school teachers and students
Applicants: Roberto Guidetti, Matteo Bisanti, and Aurora Pederzoli, Italy
Funding provided: € 2000
This project aims to develop a series of 20 games and activities using everyday materials (e.g. straws and pins) that demonstrate evolutionary principles. The games will be aimed at primary and secondary students, with sufficient instruction to be used directly by educational staff without expert assistance. Activities and instructions will be made available at Pikaia (www.pikaia.eu; the first Italian website entirely devoted to evolutionary topics) in both Italian and English. Educational materials will also be promoted in workshops targeted at teachers and students, in collaboration with Memo Educational Centre.

Bringing Awareness about Evolutionary Theory to the Academic Community and General Public of North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Applicant: John Tasirin, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Funding provided: € 2000
Evolutionary theory is not a part of most curricula in Indonesia, even at the university level. Consequently, the mechanisms of evolution by natural and sexual selection remain poorly understood. This outreach project aims to increase awareness and knowledge about evolutionary theory and about Indonesia's own evolutionary heritage.
The outreach efforts will involve
1. Workshops and field trips aimed at high school students
2. Seminars aimed at university students and scientists
3. Public outreach seminars within the community
To supplement these oral presentations, ESEB Outreach funding will support the creation and exhibition of different media representations of evolution (posters, movies and interactive maps) as well as hands-on activities (e.g. comparative morphology of Sulawesi macaques). Field trips will introduce students to concrete examples of evolution by sexual selection (e.g. macaques and hornbills).
→ The report is available here together with a poster, a presentation, and a movie clip.

Spanish-Language Translation of "Evolution in the News"
Applicant: Jory P. Weintraub, USA
Funding provided: € 2500
This outreach project will translate the existing "Evolution in the News" stories and video podcasts (see here: https://www.nescent.org/eog/podcasts.php) from English into Spanish so that they can be disseminated to Spanish speaking students throughout the world, in collaboration with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). This collection of stories about recent breakthroughs in evolutionary biology and evolution's applications to society includes links to background literature and classroom resources, as well as short (7-10 minute) video podcasts featuring interviews with scientific experts.
→ The Spanish version of "Evolution in the News" can be found here.

September 2010 - Accepted Proposals

Applicants: Dieter Anseeuw et al., Belgium
Funding provided: € 2000
This project targets secondary school students in Belgium to teach key evolutionary concepts: variation (between and within species); selection (natural and artificial); and convergent evolution. One component, Seavolution@class, will provide course packages for three self-contained experiments. A second component, Seavolution@lab, offers secondary school students to participate in hands on workshops, using marine organisms to teach evolutionary concepts. A third component, Seavolution@seminar, will host a public seminar by a specialist on evolution of marine organisms in response to natural and anthropogenic selection.
→ Links: Seavolution@class, Seavolution@lab, and Seavolution@seminar.

Evolution Matters: A translated guide
Applicant: Hugo Gante, Switzerland
Funding provided: € 1500
The purpose of this funding is to translate ESEB's "Evolution Matters: A Guide to the Creationism/Evolution Controversy" into Portuguese. This guide provides extensive information about the evidence for evolution and addresses widespread misunderstandings about evolution. Its translation into Portuguese will extend the reach and value of this already-developed website.
Link to the Portugese website

Evolutionary outreach: tools for the analysis of evolutionary concepts for high-school teachers
Applicants: Alicia Massarini et al., Argentina
Funding provided: € 1750
This outreach initiative will promote a better understanding of evolutionary biology among spanish-speaking high school teachers through distance learning courses and regional workshops in Argentina. The distance learning courses will be web-based and will develop a deeper understanding about evolutionary processes, as well as exploring common misconceptions about evolution. The workshop will bring members of the "Sharing Science" group to two locations in Argentina to train teachers in the use of evolutionary modules in the classroom.
→ The report is available here.

A Comparative Embryonic Developmental Database
Applicants: Eric Rottinger and Mattias Ormestad, France
Funding provided: € 3000
The funds will be used to build a comparative embryonic developmental database with freely accessible information about variation in animal development and its relation to metazoan evolution. The proposed database will be implemented in an existing platform (http://www.kahikai.org/) and will serve as an illustrated atlas allowing the public to visualize developmental variation among metazoans and to place this information easily into a phylogenetic context. The website will be easily accessible to teachers, students, as well as to the general public.
→ The link to the comparative embryonic developmental database is available here here.

March 2010 - Accepted Proposals

A philosopher in nature. Evolutionary theory explained to children.
Applicants: Johan Braeckman and Johan De Smedt, Belgium
Funding provided: € 2500
A large empirical literature in educational psychology indicates that children and adolescents hold false beliefs about evolutionary biology. Given the importance of educational materials in the home environment, there is a need for children's books that explain evolution and natural selection in simple terms [See website example at www.evolutietheorie.be]. Funding from the ESEB Outreach Fund will allow the illustration of a children's book designed to convey ideas like natural selection and descent with modification, to be distributed at least to primary schools in Flanders, Belgium and The Netherlands. The book will initially be written in Dutch and available for translation.

Evolving Evolutionary Ideas
Applicants: Rita Campos and Alexandra Sá Pinto, Portugal
Funding provided: € 2000
Funding from ESEB will allow the development of teaching kits for use in Portuguese elementary schools, where evolutionary concepts are currently not taught. Funding will be used to develop and build 20 kits and to pay for travel expenses of visits with the kits to schools during the school year. The kits will include flower seeds to demonstrate genetic drift, buttons and plastic pearls with different colours to demonstrate natural selection, cards with images of different organisms to demonstrate how taxonomy relates with evolution, small mirrors and genealogical trees to demonstrate the heritability of characters.
Blog "O Jogo da Evolução/Playing Evolution" and report of activities
→ NEW! Further information material - Publication "Early evolution of evolutionary thinking: teaching biological evolution in elementary schools" and E-book: "As Borboletas da Floresta Amarela" (in Portuguese)

Bringing the understanding of evolution to Turkish primary schools
Applicants: B. Duygu Özpolat and Erol Akçay, USA
Funding provided: € 1700
This outreach initiative will allow the non-profit organization Hard-workers for Evolution to distribute informational packets to science teachers in Turkey associated with the Turkish translation of the Understanding Evolution website. This information package will include a brochure about evolution and a CD containing an offline version of the website (http://evrimianlamak.org in Turkish), as well as printable website articles.
blog and brochure

Twelve Spotlights on Evolution
Applicants: Sylvie Salamitou and Dominique Joly, France
Funding provided: € 3000
An award from the ESEB Outreach fund will allow the development of an exhibition entitled "Twelve spotlights on Evolution" composed of 12 posters. Each poster will include photographs and short descriptions that illuminate an important aspect of evolution. This exhibition will present both basic notions of evolution and up-to-date research results, explained in a very accessible way and designed to interest a general audience. The posters will be displayed to the general public at scientific events and at places such as student libraries and shopping malls in the Paris area.
→ The 12 posters are completed: Poster 1; Poster 2; Poster 3; Poster 4; Poster 5; Poster 6; Poster 7; Poster 8; Poster 9; Poster 10; Poster 11; Poster 12
References Poster 13. If you are interested in the pdf files, please contact Sylvie Salamitou



Last updated June 4, 2015. For suggestions or comments please send an e-mail.