Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

DiscoverResearch Report Summary

Project ID: 633292
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.5.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DiscoverResearch (Discover Research Dublin - European Researchers' Night 2014/2015)

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

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), organised on 26th September 2014 Discover Research Night as part of European Researchers’ Night.
On Discover Research Night, TCD and RCSI offered the general public a wide range of interactive and hands-on activities, providing direct contact with researchers and allowing for discovery, questions and active participation.
The main objectives of the project consisted of challenging perceptions held by the general public about researchers, promoting research as an exciting career option, demonstrating creativity and innovation in research across all disciplines and showing that researchers are dynamic contributors to society.
Interaction with researchers during EU Researchers’ Night also aimed at tackling the remaining stereotypes, which have created barriers between the general public and researchers.
Specific career-focused events identified and promoted arrays of opportunities for research careers, diverse activities which helped showing the public how research benefits the community.
Events showcased exciting innovative research from several academic strands at TCD and RCSI, inviting the public to interact with the vibrant research communities from both participating institutes, aiming to delight and stimulate the imagination of all participants from school children and their families, to visitors to Dublin and the local community.
Activities hosted on the night were grouped under four broad themes:
o Body Parts including "Discover the Brain!", "Mending Broken Hearts", "Attack of the Heart";
o Language, Thought & Knowledge Transfer including "Identities in Transformation", "Living Thought/Thinking Life", "Tower of Babel",
o Creativity in Research featuring "Biodiversity in our Lives" and
o Meet the Researchers including "Thesis-in-3", "Innovation Café", "Women in Science" and "Career Clinic"."

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

"AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

Tasks undertaken

Target audiences
o Public at large regardless of age and scientific background;
o School children, parents and teachers, local community groups and young people from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education;
o Undergraduate third level students and parents;

Messages conveyed
o Researchers are amongst us;
o Research is fascinating and integral part of our daily lives;
o TCD and RSCI researchers work to improve quality of life a variety of research (human brain, computer technology, nanomaterials…);
o Innovation is a key to research and future employment;
o Research is a job creator;
o There is a wealth of career opportunities for young people in research institutions in Ireland;

Main communication tools to rely on

Off line
o Conception, realisation and display of promotional material (flyers, posters);
o Publication of articles in written press;
o Airing of interviews, programmes, announcements, advertising on radio and TV;
o Sending of promotional pack to school teachers;
o Direct mailing to teachers interested in taking part in the activities;
o Direct marketing “researchers on the street” (one week prior to the event)

On line
o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of project website;
o Setting up of a blog “A life of a researcher” published on a weekly basis (at least during the 2 months prior to the event);
o Revamping of social networks profiles (Facebook, Twitter), updating and regular posting;
o Links with other institutional and popular websites;

Promotional material

o Brochures, programmes, teachers’ packs, maps posters,;
o Banners, ads, websites, links to relevant EU websites and social networks;
o Promotional give away (T-shirts, pens, bags, maps, stickers, balloons);
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;
o Promotional gadgets (displayed through the European corner notably), complying with the general guidelines available at http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/communication/services/visual_identity/index.en.htm

Overview of the results
o Conception, realisation and display of promotional material: broxhrues, posters, maps, pens, titemtables…
o Public advertising in Dublin city (billboards, digital screens at train and bus stations);
o Country flags lining the square, decoration of each bulding of participating organisations (balloons, uplighters);
o Sending of direct invitations to local schools and communities;
o Publication of press releasesand media invites;
o Publication of 3 articles in the national newspaper, the Irish Times;
o Airing of promotional spots on TV stations, amongst which one national;
o Airing of radio features , interviews of coordinator, orgnaisers and attendees;
o Organisation of pre-events:
o PhD slam (August 2015);
o Public discussion on on the huge potential of big data in medicine (23 September 2015);
o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of project website, namely http://discoverresearchdublin.com/;
o 17.624 hits on project website;
o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance fo social network profiles Facebook, Twitter;
o 1.480 likes on Facebook, 1.003 followers on Twitter, 45.800 impressions of tweets, 3.346 vists of the Twitter profile;
o Online promotion included banners, ads, websites, videos social media networks (eg College Awareness Week, Trinity Access Program, TCD Alumni, Silicon Republic,Campus Engage, Irish Cancer Society, Age Action Ireland);
o About 5.000.000 people made aware about the Researchers'night and its objectives

ACTIVITIES DURING THE NIGHT

Tasks undertaken

Locations and venues

Dublin: TCD main campus Dublin 2(Trinity Science Gallery, Trinity biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity Front Square, Trinity college Institute for Neurosciences, TCD Library, TCD Global Room), ‘European House (Dawson st, Dublin 2), Innovation Academy (Foster Place, Dublin 2)and several Dublin pubs taking part in “Biodiversity in our lives”

Main types of activities planned

Hands-on experiments, exhibitions, film screenings, informal pub talks, guided lab torus, demos, interactive games, competitions, public lectures and quizzes.

Overview of the results

o Offered the activities as described in the Annex I part B to the grant Agreement, namely:
o 71 Events held across 18 venues;
o Main themes dealt with: Human, Tech, World and Society;
o Type of activities offered: tours, demonstrations, debates, hands-on experiments, science shows, workshops, kids programmes, guided visits, games, musical performances, treasure trails…
o Active involvement of 75 researchers in the implementation of the activities, amongst which: 19 having benefitted from Marie Curie schemes; 2 having benefitted from another EU support (FP 7, HORIZON 2020);
o About 7.350 visitors having taken part in the activires offered.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Tasks undertaken

Description of the current situation
o Relaying on available European data, such as Eurobarometer as well as data provide by European counterparts (based on cooperation agreements);
o Previous impact assessment exercise in the framework of 2013 DISCOVER RESEARCH action;
o Data from Irish government and other national bodies (Science Foundation Ireland, Higher Education Authority, Economic and Social Research Institute);
o On line survey and paper survey to be conducted prior to the event;

Tools
o On line survey available through website and distributed to networks (notably undergraduate students)(3-5 questions);
o Paper survey displayed to local schools through TCD open days office;
o Follow up survey after the event;
o Face to face interviews (Vox Pop from the street, random of pedestrian passing by);
o Feedback forms /surveys for attendees (common questionnaire with other European cities applying for ERN in 2014/2015);
o Small number of focus groups (2 with 4-5 participants);
o Social networks feedback;
o Feedback from researchers involved;

Indicators and parameters to be applied

o Qualitative: public perception of researchers and their work: associations with the word “researcher”, characteristics of actual and desired researchers, interest expressed in science and research, enthusiasm for research careers, typology of attendees, will to attend similar future events…;

o Quantitative: number of hits on website, unique visitors, page views, pages per visit, average visit duration, geographical distribution, number of friends/followers on social networks, attendees, completed blogs and visits, number of press articles, number of promotional items displayed;

Selection of the sample
o Method: random selection;
o Absolute figures: 300 completed surveys, 500 surveys during the night, 20 Vox Pop interviews, 20 afterwards, 50 completed feedback forms from participating researchers (participation rewarded)"

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 events brought over 7,000 people to Trinity each year to experience TCD and RCSI research across all disciplines. An awareness campaign is estimated to have reached over 1 million people through TV, radio, DART advertising, and online media. The impact assessment work package has generated data on public perceptions of researchers and EU funding of research. It is intended that this data will be published in a science communication journal. The Night also increased awareness amongst the academic community about Horizon 2020 funding, by showcasing the work of several Marie Curie Fellows from across the Irish universities.

Overview of the results
o Collection, analysis and processing of 627 (about 9 % of the overall attendees) feedbacks, based on pre and post event questionnaires and face to face interviews during the event, and focus groups;
o Main conclusions:
o Typology of visitors: A strategic decision was made to have short questionnaires in order to get a usable sample size. If all demographics had been collected we would not have been able to gather a big enough sample size. Shopping centres were chosen so that to ensure as general a cross-section of society as possible. The groups were differentiated as: visitors to Discover Research Dublin vs urban public vs suburban public.
o Reason for attending: .interest in research for 26 % responders, passing by for 14 %, 13 % being researchers at TCD or Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
o Overall positive feedback about the event itself (activities, interest, contacts with researchers, concrete organisation, scheduling, location and venues);
o Strengths of the events: enthusiasm of researchers, open campus, quality;
o Weaknesses pointed out by responders: signage on campus, clarity of schedule and advertising of some events.
o Most successful activities: tours of Buildings including the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, the TCD Museum Building, Oral Microbiome at the Dental Hospital, activities in the Science Gallery and a musical performance in the TCD chapel;
o Less successful activities: "Women in Research" and "Europe Calling". These events, while very informative and interesting, did not attract many attendees;
o Suggested improvements:
- improved signage and maps
- targeted advertising
- more volunteers: about 50 % of recruited volunteers failed to turn up on the night; improvements planned with a view to future events: intensified and improved communication, obligation to sign up, choice of compulsory timeslots and compulsory training.

Clearly the Researchers' Night will not as such have a measurable socio-economic impact. They nevertheless can have a certain influence about the relationships between research institutions, universities etc. operating in the area and having cooperated for the project, likely to go on after it and generate further synergies and positive impact for the territory concerned. In addition to improved links between TCD and partner institution the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, TCD has also made links with other European institutions through the ‘EU calling’ event.

Discover Research Dublin had a very strong impact on the community around Trinity College Dublin, an urban, socio-economically disadvantaged area. Efforts were made to engage this community and local schools took part in a number of events."

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