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TRACKS Report Summary

Project ID: 633275
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.5.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TRACKS (Tenth Researchers' night Anniversary for Citizenship in the Knowledge Society)

Reporting period: 2014-12-01 to 2015-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The TRACKS 2015 European Researchers’ night in Piedmont actually consisted of the continuation of 9 previous successful editions of the event in the region, and was built on the experience and exertise acquired in such occasion by the consortium.
The events addressed the public at large in all its components, with a strong focus on kids and young people, in particular those facing or about to face a career choice.
The main objectives of the project included the enhancing of the public recognition of researchers and their role, in particular its positive impact on citizens’ daily lives and well-being, showcasing researchers as “ordinary people with an extraordinary job”, as well as pointing out the fun and fascinating aspects of research with a view to stimulating young people’ s interest for science and science careers.
The project’s acronym standed for the scientific method that researchers use in their work, the importance of science and technology towards society, the need for society to get involved in science and technology, the route possibly taken by youth for their future and the track that policy-makers and citizens can choose to address in an innovative and democratic way the current challenges.
A broad range of activities was proposed to the audience, amongst which prototypes, exhibitions, games, plays, hands-on experiments, science corners, debates and chats with researchers, presentations, lectures, scientific treasure hunts, thematic workstations, conferences, European corners…furthermore, the audience could enjoy direct meetings with researchers on the web or through the web media prior and after the event.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far


Tasks undertaken

Target audiences
o Public at large regardless of age and scientific background;
o Special attention to be paid to kids and young people, especially those facing or about to face a career choice;
o In addition key messages addressed to: public organisations, local institutions, local and national media, opinion leaders, policy makers, stakeholders, companies (SMEs).

Messages conveyed
o Researchers are amongst us;
o Researchers are ordinary people with an extraordinary job;
o Research is fun and fascinating;
o Communication is important and implies the development of some specific skills (by and towards researchers);
o Europe cares: careers for its researchers;
o Focus on the Horizon 2020 Challenges;
o Waiting for the Tenth Anniversary of Researchers’ Night.

Main communication tools to rely on

o Setting up of a dedicated press office;
o Publication of articles, interviews, announcements, advertisement in national and international newspapers (Le Scienze, La Stampa);
o Direct contacts with journalists at both national and international levels (Focus, Nova, TuttoScienze, Wired…);
o Publication of several press releases delivered to a series off media amongst which the most popular ones;
o Participation of a national press conference by all the Italian projects a fortnight before the event (presentation of the project, new activities, quick preview of the most amazing experiments);
o SME Awareness Campaign: elaboration of a Researchers’ Night 2015 kit addressing specifically SMEs (booklet of presentation and coordinated headed paper);
o Local media relations and local awareness campaign conducted by local partners in compliance with general rules established at overall project level.
o Setting up of the travelling exhibit “Ten years of Researchers’ Night”, showing the most emotional moments of a 10 years history that was moved from one city to another along two months to promote the upcoming 10th ERN edition in its various venues, ending up in September in the main central square in Torino.

o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of project website;
o Links with partners’, institutional and popular websites;
o Social networking: editorial planning to constantly update the social network’s profiles of the Researchers’ Night (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr), also through a strong link with the partners’ channels;
o Promotion of the Researchers’ Night through national scientific newscast TG Leonardo;
o Posting of promotional videos interviews on YouTube channel;

Promotional material
o Posters, brochures, programmes and related maps, folders;
o Ads, banners, websites, links;
o Mention of “This European Researchers’ Night project is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions” on all promotional material displayed, including an institutional roll up reporting the writing “Marie Skłodowska-Curie: an inspiration to follow;
o Promotional gadgets (T-shirts and special gadgets)(displayed through the European corner notably), complying with the general guidelines available at

Overview of the results
o Conception, realisation of promotional material and public advertising: programmes, brochures, posters and banners of various formats, depliants, …;
o Public advertising: billposting in public transport;
o Realisation of press releases sent to local and national newspapers, radio and television;
o Publication of advertisng in national written press (La Repubblica, Le Scienze, Giovani genitori…);
o Organisation of a national press conference in Rome (15 September 2015);
o Organisation of pre-events:
o Travelling exhibit “Ten years of Researchers’Night;
o “Waiting for the Night”, a four days-programme of conferences in partnership with EXPO-EXTO in Torino;
o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of website contents with the programmes of activities in each venue and news to accompany the visitors towards the event http://www.nottedeiricercatori/piemonte ;
o 12.747 hits and unique visitors on project website;
o Revamping, constant updating an maintenance of social network progiles, (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube);
o 2.790 likers on Facebook, 27.941 page visitors, 350 followers on Twitter, 41 on YouTube and 10 on Flickr;
o About over 500.000 people made aware of the Researchers'Night and its objectives.


Tasks undertaken

List of locations and venues involved
o Alessandria (where the activities of Novara and Vercelli converge with great success since 2013)
o Asti
o Biella
o Cuneo
o Torino
o Verbania

Venues: Torino (main event): Piazza Castello, pedestrian square where previous events already took place and the magnificent space of the courtyard of the University of Torino rectory; other cities: open air venues such as squares and gardens, university’s premises, research centres, museums.

Main types of activities planned
Prototypes, exhibitions, games, plays, hands-on experiments, science corners, debates and chats with researchers, presentations, lectures, scientific treasure hunts, thematic workstations, conferences, European corners…

Detailed programme of activities
o Common themes: HORIZON 2020, International year of Light, European Researchers’ Night 10th anniversary, EXPO2015 – food and sustainability.

o Prototypes, exhibitions, games, plays, hands-on experiments;
o European coffee corner for science:
o Meeting and interaction with researchers;
o Short multimedia presentation by researcher followed by debate with the public;
o Researchers involved in European projects, MC fellows, ERC grant winners, European scientists working in Italy.
o Active participation of Torino industrial Union:
o Addressing secondary school students;
o High level training based on management innovation for PhD students;
o MESAP cluster (mechatronics and systems for advanced production innovation cluster);
o Information desk: assistance/support to SMES, opportunities existing at EU level.

o Guinness world record “Running on water” established (experiment on non-newtonian fluid)
o Museums and science centres:
o Guided tours with longer opening hours than usual;
o Shuttle buses lining the institutions;
o Special programme set up for the event;
o Alessandria and Cuneo: open labs operation.
o Piazza Castello (Torino):
o Planetario: special Night activities;
o Centre for Museum of anatomical studies (including 3 main scientific universities’ museums);
o Torino regional natural science museum.
o Researchers’ tram:
o Partnership with City of Torino transport;
o Historical tram in the city centre, carrying a researchers‘ team entertaining the public with experiments and short lectures;
o Celebration of Giovanni Plana, mathematician and astronomer;
o Courtyard of the rectory:
o Prototypes, exhibitions, games, plays, hands-on experiments
o Two theatre performances

o Workshops and play;
o Rally of science dedicated to celebrate the 10 years history of the Researchers’ Night in Piedmont;

Alessandria, Novara, Vercelli
o Theme: sustainability: 2014 sustainable energy (Magic of the light, photovoltaic energy production, low energy devices for sensoring, electronics and robotics, use of scientific research), 2015 sustainable food (one conference also dedicated to 10th anniversary of the Researchers ‘night);
o Thematic workstations, lab demos, interactive labs, games, shows, lectures and spectacular experiments, conferences, concert.
European corners
Number: 6

Location: in a central place in all venues

Activities planned:
o Display of informative and promotional material;
o Connected to all relevant EU websites;
o Presentation/demonstration of research projects EU-funded;
o Permanent presence of personnel likely answering the audience’s questions about EU policies and programmes;
o Testimonials by researchers having benefited from EU support and MC fellows about their research, their experience, and research mobility;
o Managed by local institutions responsible for relations with Europe (Europe Direct, Europe enterprise Network),notably display of research results by JRC in Ispra;
o European Researchers' Night MSCA roll-up (entrance of the event) complying with the following content and format requirements: 200 X 85 cm, and the mentions: "European Researchers' Night", "Marie Skłodowska-Curie: an inspiration to follow";
o An image provided by the European Commission.

Overview of the results
o Offer of over 150 activities as planned in Annex I part B to the Grant Agreement, including:
o Exhibitions, prototypes;
o Games and plays;
o Hands-on experiments;
o Science corners;
o Debates and informal chats with researchers;
o Presentations and lectures;
o Scientific treasure hunts;
o Thematic workstations;
o Conferences;
o Theatre performances;
o Radio podcasts;
o 6 European corners;
o Over 900 researchers involved in the implementation of the activities, amongst which:
o at least 250 having benefitted from Marie Curie schemes;
o at least 500 having benefitted from another EU support;
o Over 80 local institutions involved in the event (industry, research centres and foundations, policy makers, stakeholders, CSOs)
o Over 35.000 attendees having taken part in the activities offered in the various venues and locations.


Tasks undertaken
Description of the current situation
o Previous impact assessment exercises in the framework of previous 9 Researchers' nights;
o Major survey conducted by AGORA in 2013 addressing all Italian scientists on their engagement in society, ISAAC project;
o Online interactive poll/game: “design your own researcher avatar” (gender, characteristics, adjectives of an hypothetic researcher).

o Pol/game during and after the event “design your own researcher avatar” (gender, characteristics, adjectives of an hypothetic researcher);
o Video box “the human face of research” (most exciting, most critical aspects of a researcher career, Einstein or not Einstein, researchers normal persons or not, evolution of Researchers’ nights during the 10 years-period);
o Questionnaires both available on site and on line;
o Face to face interviews (based on common guidelines) (overall appreciation of activities and organisation, perception of researchers, evolution after having participated in the event);
o Questionnaire addressing researchers (overall appreciation, critical issues, researchers’ perception of the importance of dialogue with the public and evolution after having taken part in the event);
o Stakeholders’ analysis (point of view about the event and possible suggestions).

Indicators and parameters to be applied
o Qualitative: public opinion on researchers and their job (associations with the word “researcher”, characteristics of actual and wished researchers), interest expressed for science and research, interest expressed for science careers, intention to attend future similar events, changing perception towards existing stereotypes on researchers and their job, variability of the results in the various successive impact assessment exercises conducted in the framework of the various Researchers’ nights;
o Quantitative: number of attendees, participation in various activities offered, rating of the event, this on the website, friends and followers through social networks, number of promotional items displayed, media coverage, number of filled in surveys, …
Selection of the sample
o Method: self-selection of generic participants, random selection of specific categories such as students, researchers, stakeholders;

Overview of the results
o Collection, analysis and processing of 400 on-line (filled in on tablets and smartphones for the first time in Torino) and 600 paper questionnaires;
o Collection and processing of 100 on-line questionnaire addressing researchers;
o Main conclusions:
o Typology of visitors:
- Mainly, average age 20 years, both femal and male represented in balanced way in each group, (schools, families, groups of young people), wide range of backgrounds (scientific or not ) represented;
- Mostly regional origin (natural since the event was organised in the main regional cities);
o Overall positive feedback on the event (activities, interest, contacts with researchers, concrete organisation, scheduling);
o Increased knwoledge and enhancing of public recognition of researchers' work and its societal impact;
o Increased interest for research careers amongst young people;
o Overall will expressed to take part in similar future events;
o Suggestion from researchers for a stronger focus on activities specifically addressing young people."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The TRACKS project aims at promoting the researchers’ role in society – through a Responsible Research and Innovation – and at creating a better understanding of their work among citizens and the public at large. It, therefore, fits perfectly in the Researchers’ Night which has contributed and continues to contribute to the development of a knowledge-society, enhancing the public recognition of researchers and their work and promoting careers for young people. It helps bridging the gap between science and society by uniting in squares and streets of numerous European cities scientists, young researchers, students, teachers and citizens.
The citizens of Piedmont have changed and improved their relationship with the researchers and eagerly await every year the Researchers’ Night to renew the appointment with the world of science.
The data collected every year demonstrate that the Night is the ideal event for researchers to engage all audiences of science in terms of age, gender and education.
The TRACKS project will especially contribute to enhance the public’s recognition of researchers and their work through the following strategies:
− extensive, diversified and active involvement of all the public of science through new advanced communication tools such as the online project “Tracks for the future”;
− presentation of researchers as “ordinary people” with problems, hopes, concerns and passions that belong to everybody through new advanced communication tools such as the online project “The human face of research”;
− stress the idea of public and researchers’ mutual understanding and knowledge;
− illustrate the fascination and fun of researchers’ work to convince young people to embark on scientific careers;
− direct involvement of an increasingly large number of researchers and scientific supporters;
− involvement of local authorities to assign more importance to science within the cultural life of the cities;
− direct involvement of companies and in particular SMEs to illustrate research’s impact on competitiveness, economic growth, and employment;
− exchange of best practices between regions and cities of other Italian and European projects;
− cooperation with neighbouring regions on the awareness campaign in order to reach an ever wider and wider public;
− support to researchers in the design and implementation of their activities;
− provide continuous incentive to researchers to propose new ideas and new interactive tools for public involvement;
− presentation of the Night as a European event involving scientific activities simultaneously in hundreds of cities;
− strong partnership established by universities and experts in communication and organisation of outreach scientific events.
In particular we believe that the formula adopted by the TRACKS project (a mix of online, indoor and outdoor activities dedicated to bringing researchers closer to the general public and to the different stakeholders) fits the main message of the initiative that could be summarised in “Researchers are amongst us”. In particular, the projects The human face of research and the European Coffee Corner for Science offers the public a new way to get in touch with researchers as ordinary people with an extraordinary job.
In addition, TRACKS has the opportunity to organise two subsequent events and to directly involve researchers and society to co-produce the 10th anniversary event in 2015 through the project “Tracks for the future”.
The event is a tool to spread awareness about the European dimension of research and in this context the EU contribution is crucial both from the cultural point of view and for the economic support of the initiative.
The fact that the Night is sponsored and funded by the European Commission greatly facilitates the involvement of local authorities and financial institutions that would not otherwise organize such kind of project on their own.
The promotional material and the activities about the European Commission contribute greatly to the success of the event especially this year when they will be linked to such a successful activity as the European Coffee Corner for Science.
In addition, the Researchers’ Night is a unique opportunity to create synergies and increase effectiveness of other complementary initiatives at national and European level.
As mentioned earlier in this document, the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Night will be an opportunity to work in collaboration with the International Year of Light and the EXPO2015 and, in Torino, with the European Capital of Sport organizing committee.
Finally, the project will be a chance to disseminate the results of several European projects carried out by universities and research centres in the area.
The fact that we manage the Researchers’ Night Italian national website ( allows us to get in touch with all the other Italian coordinators of EU funded projects and to suggest additional forms of collaboration.
The experience of the organization of the event in these years of two partners (Agorà Scienza and CentroScienza), has allowed to promote synergies at the European level and participation in other EU funded projects such as PLACES (Platform of Local Authorities and Communicators Engaged in Science) and STENCIL (Science Teaching European Network for Creativity and Innovation in Learning).

- At least 500.000 persons made aware of the Researchers’ Night and its objectives through the awareness campaign (newspapers, radio and regional TV broadcast, web and social media, commercials, etc.);
- 600 researchers, Postdocs, PhD students directly involved in performing and animating the event;
- About 20000/22000 direct attendees during the events;
- At least 30000 unique visitors on web site and social networks;
- Number of students and young people > 20% of the total affluence;
- At least 500.000 persons informed about the results of the “Night” through newspapers and website.

- Improvement regarding the public recognition of researchers and their work among citizens and the public at large;
- improvement regarding the researchers’ role in society;
- development of a knowledge-society;
- increase of scientific careers popularity among young people;
- improvement of the number of EU projects in the field of Science in Society and RRI;
- contribution to spreading excellence, exploiting results, disseminating knowledge.

Overview of the 2014 results
- Collection and processing of 400 on line ( filled in on tablets and smartphones for the first time in Torino) and 600 paper questionnaires;
- Collection and processing of 100 on-line questionnaire addressing researchers ;
- Main conclusions:
- Typology of visitors: audience mainly composed of young people;
- Overall positive feedback on the event (activities, interest, contacts with researchers, concrete organisation, scheduling);
- Increased knwoledge and enhancing of public recognition of researchers' work and its societal impact;
- Increased interest for research careers amongst young people;
- Overall will expressed to take part in similar future events;
- Suggestion from researchers for a stronger focus on activities specifically addressing young people.

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