The World Biotech Tour (WBT) showcased the role of science centers in bringing together key stakeholders to promote understanding of a relevant societal issue: biotechnology. Biotechnology touches our lives every day, no matter where we are in the world. By involving students, teachers, science center professionals, and the general public in hands-on activities and discussions about key issues pertaining to biotechnology, the WBT demonstrated the relevance, excitement, and wonder of biotechnology in a fun and exciting way.

From 2015-2017, the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and Biogen Foundation partnered to bring the WBT to 12 selected international science centers for science festivals and activities focusing on the theme of biotechnology.

Science centers that participated in the WBT applied and were selected through a rigorous selection process. Each site provided a culturally unique visitor experience through several activities developed and hosted at each science center.

The Tour stops include:

  • A lab-in-a-box educational kit that is sent to each site. The kits include signature hands-on activities and materials and will also utilize social media channels. Resources for the activities are also available on the WBT’s website, free of charge, so that interested science centers, classrooms, and families can experience the tour.

  • Student ambassador program that enlists high school students from around the world to give presentations about dynamic biotechnology topics in their schools and communities to inspire others to get involved.

  • Research on how biotechnology is communicated in informal science environments. The findings of the WBT are shared online and were presented at the 2017 Science Centre World Summit in Tokyo, Japan.

What is the significance of the WBT?

Biotechnology solves problems in many fields including health, medicine, agriculture and energy, and offers a wide variety of interesting career options. A strong pathway for scientists is needed to help continue innovation in this field which will impact lives of millions worldwide as well as the health of our planet. The WBT builds a global network of educated individuals and inspire the next generation of scientists.

Science centers and museums are ideal venues for this exciting new initiative. In 2013, 198 science centers and museums reported a total annual attendance of over 91 million visits, including 76.6 million on-site visits and 15 million visits through off-site events and programs, such as school outreach. These numbers are encouraging, but it is essential that the life sciences industry does everything it can to continue to support widespread interest in STEM.

A new cohort of international museums joined the tour each year, culminating in a global summit in Tokyo in 2017.

For questions or more information about the project, contact WorldBiotechTour@astc.org

Additional resources:

Facebook, @WorldBiotechTourASTC

Twitter, @BiotechTour

WBT Brochure (PDF)

WBT Key Messages (PDF)

WBT Final Report (PDF)

To learn about World Biotech Tours around the world, select the "More information and photos" link under each science center listed in the Locations tab.