Soapbox Science 2024: female scientists take the floor at the heart of Brussels

Soapbox Science 2024: female scientists take the floor at the heart of Brussels

On Saturday 29 June 2024, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., twelve female researchers from all over Belgium will be sharing their passion and knowledge in a fun and accessible way at Place de la Monnaie/Muntplein.

In a public square, women in white coats, standing on small podiums, address their impromptu audiences. All around them are people in the same white T-shirts with a purple logo, some of them hailing passers-by. A political demonstration? A marketing stunt? No, not at all. It’s a Soapbox Science event.

Soapbox Science Logo, featuring a female scientist on a podium in purple  and a comic strip bubble with "soapbox science" insideSoapbox Science is a science outreach initiative that aims to promote the visibility of women and non-binary scientists and their research by bringing them on the streets to reach the public. Soapbox Science events transform public areas in discussion forums based on Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner where scientists, on their soapboxes, talk about their research to the people passing by.

Why women scientists? Even today, they constitute a minority in the research field, and their relative number dwindles as the seniority in the field increases, as shown by the figures in the European Commission’s She Figures 2021 In the European Union, women make up 37% of PhDs in science and engineering, but only 19% of full professors or equivalent. Recent research shows that women and non-binaries face a lot of obstacles from a very young age, notably due to strongly held stereotypes and biases related to the image of the scientist.

For those reasons, Soapbox Science aims at tackling stereotypes, and shows to the public that science is not a stereotypically smart and socially awkward man’s business and that anyone has the opportunity to enjoy science in an interactive way.

This year will be the fifth edition for Brussels, after a first online event in 2020 that was broadcast live on social media, and three real-life events in 2021, in 2022 and in 2023.

During the event, four soapboxes will be placed on the Place de la Monnaie/Muntplein. On each soapbox, a speaker talks about their research and interacts with the public passing by, for the duration of an hour. Talks will be in French, Dutch and English, the most commonly used languages in Brussels. This year, we will notably explore blood vessels lesions, the search for exoplanets, crop genome edition and using AI to understand the role of genes in the brain development.

SoapboxScienceEvent2022 SoapboxScienceEvent2021
Illustrations of the Soapbox Science event in Brussels 2023 (top), 2022 (bottom left) and 2021 (bottom right). Credit: Soapbox Science Brussels.

Soapbox Science Brussels is supported by the Royal Observatory of Belgium, the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Belspo under the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council, the Ernest Solvay Fund administered by the King Baudouin Foundation, the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology and Europlanet Benelux. The Royal Observatory of Belgium is the host institute for Soapbox Science Brussels.

Follow all updates on Twitter @SoapboxscienceB, and come to the Place de la Monnaie/Muntplein to hear them talk and to discover their fascinating cutting-edge research!

Details and programme of the event:

Soapbox Science Brussels
Email: soapboxsciencebrusselsv AT
X (ex-Twitter): @SoapboxscienceB
Blue Sky:

Banner with the photos of the Soapbox Science Brussels 2024 speakers

Flyer with a short version of the programme of the Soapbox Science 2024 event.