Skip to main content

Israeli Researchers' Night

Final Report Summary - IRN09 (Israeli Researchers' Night)

Researchers Night 2009 objective was to initiate a nationwide festival of science and scientific thought by celebrating human achievements in Evolution and Space Exploration:
200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, 150th anniversary of the Theory of Evolution and the international year of astronomy celebrating 400 years of Galileo's invention of the telescope for astronomical observations. The main purpose was to provide the public, young audience included, an opportunity to meet researchers within the context of a festive activity and to promote interest in science as well as to highlight the appeal of pursuing a research career. The event intends to bring science and scientists closer to the general public in order to diminish stereotypes about researchers and their profession.
The event also provided scientists with the opportunity to understand and respond to the concerns and aspirations of the community. The Night itself was rich and imaginative with science-based programs reaching across the expanse of scientific endeavour. The event included informal settings, such as Science-cafes and Science-salons where scientists and the public could meet in an informal atmosphere that does not resemble a lecture hall and bridge the gap, i.e. get to know better the person and human behinds the title!
In each location an EU "corner" was set up, which was a designated area devoted entirely to raising public awareness of the goals of the EU in general and FP7 in particular.
A detailed impact assessment was designed and carried out to assess both quantitatively and qualitatively the impact of the night on the public and the participating scientists. Analysis of the media was performed by comparing three stages of media coverage - before, during, and after the event, over a period of 1.5 months. Analysis of participants was performed using pre- and post-event questionnaires and structured interviews at six event sites. Pre-event questionnaires were completed by 643 people; post-event questionnaires were completed by 411 people; and 164 people were interviewed. Although there were no immediate changes in participant attitudes towards scientists and science after Researchers' Night 2009, we found an apparent cumulative effect of the IRN events reflected both in attitudes and in media coverage.