Skip to main content
European Commission logo
Maritime Forum

Open Science Days in Sopot, Poland

This article describes the Open Science Days annual project, which is run by the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences (IO PAN), together with Today We Have, Sopot Science Association and other partners (


Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences (IO PAN), together with Today We Have, Sopot Science Association and other partners, has run the 3 day long Open Science Days annual project for a number of years now (

On the first day we have a conference for young learners, entitled Where the world is heading. The conference is dedicated to the marine topics, and is a replica of a real science conference, with a scientific committee, presentation sessions and takes place at the conference venue. Prior to the conference, we run a number of workshops, entitled Ocean of changes, with students, at all education levels, during which they learn how to prepare for the conference. The goal of the Ocean of changes workshops is to share knowledge about marine environments and marine protection issues. Each group comes up with a topic for a project to increase general awareness of good practices in ocean and climate mitigation and adaptation actions, including broadly understood SDGs in relation to ocean issues. Hence, we expect the groups to come up with ideas for promotion actions, sharing good practice methods, etc. We want participants to come up with project names, acronyms, methods and target groups.

The participating groups work out the following:

  • Which engagement activity/methodology is most useful for community groups?
  • What resources can scientific organizations provide to support community action?
  • What format (infographic, brief, video, presentation, etc.) is most effective?

Finally, through their dedication to run the proposed activity, our student groups create the following outputs:

  • Ready actions for the promotion of ocean related issues with solutions proposed.
  • Tips on accelerating community led action on sustainability.
  • Network between community stakeholders, with special emphasize on young learners.

Students, have up to two months to implement their actions in the chosen group of stakeholders (families, schools, friends, etc.), and finally, the results of their implemented actions are presented during the Where the World is heading conference.

On the second day of the Open Science Days, we invite students and doctoral candidates to submit their presentations as part of an International Sopot Youth Conference entitled Where the world is heading. This Conference has been organized by the Sopot Science Society in cooperation with IO PAN and other partners for 12 years already ( Since 2008, over 450 scientists from different countries have presented their work during the Conference. Due to the multidisciplinary character of the Conference abstracts and presentations must be prepared in an intelligible manner. The Conference language is English. Our Conference Proceedings are registered, and have an ISBN, and thus can be cited.

We conclude the Open Science Days, on the World Oceans Day, with a science fair in the center of town. During the fair, everyone has the opportunity to learn about the current state of knowledge about the oceans, with particular emphasis on the Baltic Sea environment. All presentations and shows are interactive, with many hands-on activities.

During the workshops, we run dedicated environmental questionnaires (e.g. on the Arctic environment; ocean change) and the collected answers are used in preparing scientific papers, dedicated to the perception of environmental issues among various groups of stakeholders, mainly among learners of various educational levels. Some of our results, collected so far from over 700 learners of ages from 10 to 19 (in Poland and Lithuania), show that documentaries and nature films together are the dominating sources of environmental information for all age groups. Educational workshops play a very important part in learning among three youngest groups of students of public schools. In case of private schools, it is lessons that play a key role in knowledge transfer at all levels of education, which is most likely related to the educational system in these schools, which regularly conduct group projects. Our study results show that non formal education has an important role in education of young learners in Poland and Lithuania. These results have been published in the peer-reviewed journals, e.g.:

  1. Zielinski, T., Kotynska-Zielinska, I., Piechowska, E. (2019). Sustainable Development-utopia or our chance? Some thoughts on the state of the SDG implementation with respect to the ocean; Forum Filologiczne Ateneum, 1(7)2019;
  2. Kotynska-Zielinska, I., Olenin, S., Fornalewicz, K., Pradzinska, A., Wesławski, J.M. (2020). Perception of Arctic issues among young learners in Poland and Lithuania. Oceanologia. Pub Date: 2020-05-08, DOI: 10.1016/j.oceano.2020.03.006.
  3. Pakszys, P., Zielinski, T., Fererro, L., Kotynska-Zielinska, I., Wichorowski, M. (2020). Changing Arctic. Firm scientific evidence versus public interest in the issue. Oceanologia. Pub Date: 2020-05-05, DOI: 10.1016/j.oceano.2020.03.004
  4. Zielinski, T. et. al. Abundance of environmental data vs. low public interest in ocean and climate issues. Where is the missing link? (submitted to Frontiers).