What is the Battle of the Scientists?

The Battle of the Scientists is the only science-related competition aimed at primary schools, where the children themselves are fully in charge.

Five scientists each get 15 minutes to present their research at the school, to children ranging from 1st through 6th grade. The children’s jury provides feedback and the young audience asks questions. At the end, the children vote for their favorite presentation. Each of the researchers that are selected to participate in the battle get to attend a presentation training beforehand.

On March 9th, 2018 we hosted our very first battle in English. The battle concept has been around since 2015, with ‘de Wetenschapsbattle’, that takes place across Belgium’s 5 Dutch-speaking provinces, involving annually 1400 children and 25 researchers.

I would like to become a scientist because they can help the world a lot.

Alison Warnement (11), jurywoman 2018

Why the Battle of the Scientists?

With the Battle of the Scientists we want to get young minds excited about science. What better way to do this than by bringing science to the schools and allowing students to play the main role. And in doing so, we teach scientists to bring clear and convincing communication.

Where did the idea for the Battle of the Scientists come from?

In the words of Einstein: ‘If you cannot explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.’ Public speaking mentor and founder of The Floor is Yours, Hans Van de Water, came to the conclusion that scientists often have an easier time explaining their research in a clear and convincing manner to an audience with children in the front row.

In 2015 he organized a first battle at a Flemish elementary school, showcasing Dutch-speaking scientists. This was called ‘de Wetenschapsbattle’. ‘Since 2016, we have been hosting an annual battle at a school in each of the Flemish provinces in Belgium, after which each of the provinces’ winners battle it out in the Final battle.’