Ciência Viva was founded in Portugal in 1996, on the initiative of the then Minister of Science and Technology, José Mariano Gago, as a government programme to promote education and scientific culture.

In 1998, it became an association of scientific institutions, adopted the name Ciência Viva - Agência Nacional para a Cultura Científica e Tecnológica (Ciência Viva - National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture) and began a process of expansion that has made it what it is today: a national organisation with a network of 21 science centres spread throughout the country, driving a social movement in favour of science and scientific culture involving hundreds of thousands of researchers and citizens, students and teachers, young people and adults.

From the outset, Ciência Viva has been an open programme, encouraging alliances between different sectors of Portuguese society, from universities to primary schools, from companies to research laboratories, from local authorities to private associations and professional organisations.

In more than two decades of existence, it has implemented a successful strategy of empowerment of the main actors in science education, active involvement of the public in science and dialogue between science and society, and is internationally recognised in its areas of intervention.

Ciência Viva's members include the main national research laboratories. It is also a member of ECSITE, a European network that brings together more than 350 science centres and museums. Through this European network, it is part of the consortium that organises the EMME (Euro Mediterranean and Middle East Summer School of Science Communication), led by ECSITE and Names, a network of North African and Middle Eastern institutions.

Ciência Viva is also a member and board member of ASTEC - Association of Science - Technology Centres, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the European Science Events Association (EUSEA). International organisations with which it regularly collaborates include CERN, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the King Baudouin Foundation, the European Brain Council, the La Caixa Foundation and Biogen.

Ciência Viva Science Centers Network

Ciência Viva is not only the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture. It is also a dynamic network of 22 science dissemination centres, which is constantly expanding. Each Ciência Viva centre feeds its own local and regional network, linked to local authorities, companies, schools, universities, polytechnics and research units in its region.

There are many good science museums around the world, but no network like Ciência Viva. One of the reasons for its originality is the spaces it occupies. In some cases, spaces have been built from scratch, always with a strong identity. In others, old buildings with strong local roots have been restored: a convent in Estremoz, a church in Tavira, a factory in Aveiro and even a prison in Vila do Conde.

Discovering the science being done today and projected into the future in a place full of memories of the past is a unique experience. Since 1998, 13 million people have visited the National Network of Ciência Viva Centres.

Ciência Viva Schools Network

Launched in 2010, the Ciência Viva School in the Pavilion of Knowledge was the first primary school in Europe to operate in a science centre. It hosts two classes from primary schools in the Lisbon region for one week during the school year.

Since its inception, the Ciência Viva School at the Pavilion of Knowledge has been attended by around 13,000 students, accompanied by 615 teachers, from Lisbon's 28 school classes. The project is supported by the Lisbon City Council through its Department of Education and Youth. Proximity to the scientific community has been achieved through the participation of 200 researchers from different fields of knowledge and around 40 visits to scientists' workplaces.

The Ciência Viva School Network has 19 museum schools, located in the Ciência Viva Centres of Bragança, Coimbra, Proença-a-Nova, Aveiro, Alviela, Estremoz, Figueira da Castelo Rodrigo, Lagos, Braga, Constância, Guimarães, Porto, Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Lousal, Tavira, Vila do Conde, Faro and the Pavilion of Knowledge. The Institute for Education and Citizenship in Mamarrosa, the Integrated Centre for Science Education in Vila Nova da Barquinha and the Gaia Biological Park are also part of this network, making a total of 22 Ciência Viva Schools across the country.

Ciência Viva Clubs at School Network

It is aimed at primary, secondary and vocational schools and aims to get students thinking, discussing, experimenting, exploring and applying science in a creative and innovative way, involving the whole educational community.

The Ciência Viva Clubs at School have as partners universities, research centres, companies and scientific associations that make their researchers available to work with the students, covering fields ranging from the environment to astronomy, botany, engineering, robotics, physics, chemistry, geology, palaeontology, mathematics, society and zoology.

There are currently 897 Ciência Viva na Escola clubs throughout the country, involving nearly 720,000 students and covering all districts, the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores, as well as Portuguese schools in Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe.

In March 2018, Ciência Viva signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education to create a national network of Ciência Viva clubs in schools. This is an initiative planned in the government's programme, which announced the creation and promotion of these clubs in all public and private primary and secondary schools.

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Ciência Viva Farms Network

Ciência Viva Farms are spaces for agricultural production, innovation and dissemination, located in rural areas. Focused on local products, they create synergies between tradition and innovation, allowing the valorisation of local resources and close contact between the scientific community and the economic fabric.

The Ciência Viva Farm Network is spread throughout Portugal, in different contexts, from the mountains to the sea. Each farm has a unique character, with a specific theme according to the productive context of the region in which it is located. From cherries to salt, stimulating entrepreneurship and spreading innovation and scientific culture, Ciência Viva farms are dynamic and active spaces where different audiences come together.

Close collaboration with local authorities, research units, companies, universities and schools is essential to ensure the dynamism of the Ciência Viva farms.

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