CONNECT 2020: Communication and popularization will be the fourth edition of the DAAD funded CONNECT series established in 2017. Project CONNECT is initiated by scientists from Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, who are active in the field of theoretical/mathematical physics and experimental/applied physics. The participating Universities of the Western Balkan countries which contribute to the realization of the Symposium are the University of Tuzla, University of Mostar, University of Banja Luka, University of Novi Sad, and the University of Zagreb.
The CONNECT is, however, not focused on the exchange of scientific ideas, but on the discussion of science promotion and its impact on civil society in the region.
With Bosnia-Herzegovina being at the stepping-stone to become a member of the European Union it is of utmost importance to bridge the ethnic and political gaps between the different parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina (and in the Western Balkans region) and to strengthen the democratization process and to insist on equal rights of all individuals and all constituent peoples in accordance with the Constitution. In order to tackle these issues the CONNECT Symposium has been installed.

The participating Universities are the University of Tuzla, University of Mostar, University ofBanja Luka, University of Novi Sad, and University of Zagreb, but participation is open to all students from the Western Balkans.
This regionally broad approach has been extremely valuable for the students to share their thoughts on the future of the region and to learn about the options they have to participate in the political process. CONNECT has also led to public discussions on the national Croatian TV (CONNECT members Dr. Ceci, Croatia, Prof. Pasic, Bosnia and Prof. Prodanovic, Serbia) and in
the B&H TV (Prof. Pasic and students of CONNECT 2018) supporting an open society and 1embracing a united academic area of the Western Balkans. To embed B&H further in the European Scientific Community, the University of Tuzla and the University of Frankfurt signed an agreement of collaboration in 12/2017, and triggered by CONNECT B&H has joined three EU COST Actions (one led by Prof. Bleicher from Frankfurt) to bring European best practice standards to B&H.
CONNECT has led to the creation of the Western Balkans Young Researchers Association (initiated by the Alumni of CONNECT 2017), bringing together and fostering the exchange of students and young faculty across B&H, Serbia and Croatia. The most important part of CONNECT is face-to-face contact between students and young faculty members from Serbia, Croatia and B&H (especially including the Republika Srpska) who get the opportunity to discuss on various topics and work together.

CONNECT has also led to a very active exchange program to Germany, since fall 2017 already 20 B&H and 5 Serbian students/young faculty have come to Germany (funded from EU and national sources) to participate in activities and collaboration with colleagues and students.
The program is aimed to provide students education by eminent lecturers in the field of scientific communication in order to help these societies in tackling this crisis and provide skills and know-how needed to expand science communication field, which is still under development in the Western Balkans. Therefore, students will be introduced to various possible techniques and forms of science communication such as blogs, animations, videos, podcasts, escape rooms, short formats of popular science talks (scientific fame lab, presentation and oral presentation of the project), attractive scientific experiments on the road (with an emphasis on safety), visual formats of science communications, and gamification of science. Furthermore, students will also be provided with training in various academic skills which fall into a broader science communication and issemination framework, such as project writing (e.g., for Researchers' Night, and other similar activities), science talks aimed at sharing and pitching research ideas and projects with academic community, policy makers, and business stakeholders.

Within the Symposium the established outreach speakers and contributed student talks will specifically address the following 5 key topics, reflected however, within their own field:
  • Visual formats of scientific communication (videos, comics, ...)
  • Short presentation formats (fame labs, science slams, ...)
  • Written science communication formats (blogs, journal texts, ...)
  • Attractive and popular interactive formats (science road shows, podcasts, ...)
  • General skills in writing "small-scale" student projects (local initiatives, night of sciences, ...)
The discussion process and the program are monitored and supported by a professional communications trainer to maximize the effectiveness and goal orientation.