In its endeavour to enhance its outreach activities in Indian languages, Vigyan Prasar has chosen Bengali, Tamil, and Marathi in its first phase of the Project Outreach in Indian Languages. The project started with West Bengal.
Officials of Vigyan Prasar met with several organisations in West Bengal during the last few months. It was observed that many S&T institutes and NGOs in West Bengal are doing science communication and popularisation activities. It was felt, at times, there is overlapping in terms of resource utilisation and reaching the target audience. Being a national institute mandated with large-scale science communication, popularisation, and extension, Vigyan Prasar can help in streamlining some of the activities. With this objective in mind, Vigyan Prasar started short-, mid-, and long-term strategies and action plans in this direction.
Creation of print and digital popular science content in Bengali, coordination with other S&T organisations to create a pool of resources and content, coordination with NGOs and science clubs for outreach activities to popularise science to the unreached and encouraging schools and community participation are some of the objectives. To discuss and brainstorm on these issues, a two-day conference was organised by Vigyan Prasar during 26–27 April 2019 at CGCRI, Kolkata. The conference was supported by Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (CGCRI) and Indian Science News Association (ISNA), which publishes the monthly journal Science and Culture. Vigyan Prasar invited representatives of various organisations involved in science communication, popularisation and extension in Bengali to came together and to explore areas/projects to work together. 160 experts from different institutions participated in the conference. A ‘call for paper’ was circulated and experts were invited to write concept paper/article in Bengali with the theme ‘Science communication, popularisation, and outreach in Bengali – The road ahead’. Vigyan Prasar has received 30 abstracts. Full papers will be invited from the authors and will be published.