The Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country is a university outreach chair. Despite being a university academic unit, it has some organizational and operational autonomy. From an academic standpoint, it currently depends on the Vice-Rectorate for Scientific and Social Development and Transfer. On the other hand, the Chair is integrated into the Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit (UCCi) of Euskampus Fundazioa, on which depends the Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country’s administrative and economic functioning. It is, therefore, doubly dependant.
The Chair was established in October 2010 by a cooperation agreement with the Provincial Council of Bizkaia (Department of Culture). This agreement provided the funds necessary for the Chair to function. This cooperation ended at the end of 2021 and, since then, the Department of Education, Universities and Research of the Basque Government has been the signatory to this agreement. This department is the external institution that supports the Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country.
Like other university chairs, it is regulated by the Regulations On Structures Without Legal Personality And On The Basic Functioning Of Institutions. This regulation was approved by the UPV/EHU Governing Council on May 16th 2012, in accordance with Chapter VII of its Statutes.
The Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country aims to promote scientific and technological knowledge in the Basque society, as well as to disseminate scientific culture in all the geographical, administrative and cultural fields available.
On the one hand, it is committed to its immediate surroundings, that is, to the Basque geography and culture, where the UPV/EHU operates. On the other hand, as a university institution, it has a cosmopolitan vocation. In this dual context, it must combine its particular commitment to cultural expression in the Basque language with the objective of internationalising the scientific and technological knowledge generated in the Basque Country.
The fundamental subjects of science, its applications to certain technologies, the latest scientific discoveries, the means of producing science, and its social implications are some of the main contents disseminated by the Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country. The cultural view of science and its inherent values are of special importance. To this end, the Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country has launched its own publications.
The first publication created was Cuaderno de Cultura Científica, in 2011. This blog publishes an article a day, in Spanish, about all kinds of scientific subjects, aiming to popularize science but always keeping scientific rigour.
The following year, 2012, Mapping Ignorance was launched, a blog that disseminates the latest advances in science and technology in English. Experts in various fields write high-level articles about the results of recent investigations for the general public.
In 2013, Zientzia Kaiera was created, which publishes scientific dissemination works on all kinds of scientific subjects in Basque language. It is primarily aimed at high school and college students.
The last publication created was Mujeres con Ciencia, in 2014. The blog makes known the former and present role of women in the history of science. The contents range from biographies to interviews, including events, milestones, and chronicles of various kinds.
The spread of digital resources has largely been due to social media activity. The activity of the Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country is not limited to the internet, however. This daily activity is accompanied by conferences, sectoral projects, youth activities, exhibitions, audiovisual contents, formal training and other initiatives.
The aim of the Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country since its creation has been sharing scientific and technological knowledge. It was created to boost the scientific culture of the people, and to this end, it promotes both face-to-face and internet activities.
The dissemination of scientific culture in society is recommendable, both for for cultural reasons and to serve as a criterion for individual and collective decision-making.
No one can be in favour of what is not known to them; so, in order to have a strong scientific and technological development in a society, it is useful for people to have minimal knowledge of these disciplines, since social attachment to science may be a key element in making political decisions concerning science.
Over the years, the Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country has been active in various fields, making the most of various formats to spread scientific culture. It organizes conferences in a wide variety of contexts, publishes digital as well as physical media, organizes competitions, produces documentaries and videos in various formats, prepares workshops for young people, organizes exhibitions, promotes courses and postgraduate degrees and other outreach activities.
Many have contributed in some way to the implementation of the Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country’s initiatives and objectives. Nothing would be possible without the support of the institutions (and of course of the people behind them), which provide economic support.
There is also a long list of collaborators, both professional and generous colleagues, who have provided essential support by leading cycles, seminars and meetings, giving lectures, writing articles and presenting reports at scheduled events. Impossible to name everyone, impossible to thank them enough.