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Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Blue-connect (RECONNECT SCIENCE WITH THE BLUE SOCIETY)

Reporting period: 2023-05-01 to 2023-10-31

Blue-connect is a collaborative project in Croatia's Mediterranean region, bridging the gap between science and society. Focused on research and science education, the project enhances public understanding of science's impact on the blue society. Aligned with initiatives like the Green Deal and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it addresses climate change and environmental challenges. The project engages the general public and youth through various work packages. An awareness campaign promotes science comprehension and attracts youth to project events. European Researchers' Night (ERN) events in coastal cities facilitate direct interaction with researchers, showcasing scientific work and discussing regional challenges and EU research. The "Researchers at Schools" activities targets primary and high-school students, conducting interactive experiments, lectures, and workshops to foster interest in research and science careers. Inclusion of schools from remote areas promotes social inclusion and broadens access to science. Project partners have developed evaluation methodologies and tools to assess the impact of activities, including perception of researchers and science, attendees' willingness to participate in future events, and communication effectiveness. Effective management and coordination are ensured through dedicated work packages overseeing administrative, financial, technical, and legal aspects. By successfully implementing activities, Blue-connect aims to build trust in research and science among the general public and youth in Croatia.
The Blue-connect project has made significant progress and achieved notable results. Key accomplishments include implementing diverse activities to promote research and science, conducting an effective awareness campaign, engaging students through the Researchers at Schools program, developing research and testing methodologies, creating a distinct visual identity, providing training for researchers, and fostering engagement with youth and the general public. The main ERN event attracted over 7,000 visitors in 2022 and over 10.000 in 2023, receiving positive feedback and inspiring interest in research and science careers. The project has successfully managed all aspects and aligns with "The Ocean Decade" initiative and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Main achievements include:

Almost 500 activities were implemented during the project duration, reaching a wide range of participants.
Involvement of over 400 researchers, sharing their work and knowledge.
Engagement of over 25,000 participants, including students, teachers, and the general public, in research and science-related activities.
Positive impact of the Researchers at Schools program, generating interest in science and research careers among pupils.
Successful ERN event, facilitating personal interaction with researchers and promoting understanding of scientific work.
Development and implementation of impact evaluation methodologies and tools to improve project activities.
Contributions to scientific literacy, interest in scientific careers, and understanding of environmental challenges in the Mediterranean region.

These achievements demonstrate significant progress in reconnecting science with society, promoting research and science education, and building trust and understanding of science's impact on the blue society. The project's activities have garnered positive feedback, increased visibility, and successfully engaged the youth and the general public, fostering their interest and awareness.
The project has made significant progress beyond the state of the art by implementing innovative approaches to reconnect science with society and promote research and science education. Key advancements include the development of public engagement strategies that utilize interactive methods to enhance understanding of science among the general public, particularly youth. The project also focuses on engaging young audiences through tailored activities and collaborations with educational institutions, fostering interest in research and science careers. Additionally, the project has developed an impact assessment methodology to analyze the project's influence on public perception of science and identify effective communication strategies.
The achievements of the project have resulted in several significant outcomes and potential impacts. These include enhanced public recognition of science, increased trust and engagement between scientists and the public, socio-economic impact through the development of a skilled workforce, and wider societal implications by addressing climate change and environmental degradation in the Mediterranean region. The project also contributes to increased public trust in science, empowers youth to pursue careers in research and science, promotes environmental and climate resilience, and strengthens the science-society relationship.
In summary, the project's progress beyond the state of the art, achievements, and potential impacts have significant implications for science-society relations, environmental sustainability, education, and regional development. The project's outcomes provide policy recommendations and contributions to EU priorities, guiding efforts to maximize the societal benefits of research and innovation while fostering public engagement and understanding of science.
Researchers at Schools
Researchers at Schools
ERN - main event in Dubrovnik (UNIDU)
Awareness campaign
ERN - main event in Split (UNIST, IJK, IOF, MEDILS)
ERN - main event in Pula (UNIPU)
I explore - children drawing
ERN - main event in Zadar (UNIZD)
ERN - main event in Rijeka (UNIRI, STEP-RI)