Periodic Reporting for period 2 - K-TRIO 2 (Researchers in the Knowledge Triangle)
Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-11-30
The public opinion surveys show the Researchers’ Night has become by now a popular event in many Bulgarian cities, the Researchers’ Night being considered a regular “Fall rendez-vous” in various cities with a lot of fun and interaction with researchers.
The project offered citizens various opportunities to interact and have fun with researchers and innovators, in several Bulgarian cities, namely Sofia, Rousse, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Varna and Burgas.
The project’s main goal consisted of enhancing public recognition of researchers and innovators and their role in society as well as of encouraging young people in Bulgaria to embark on research careers. In the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, the project focused on the need for increasing the number of researchers and innovators in Europe and fostering the interest of the society and the youth, in particular, to research and innovation.
In such context, the project pursued the following objectives:
o Disclosing to the public the less known sides of life and work of researchers;
o Breaking stereotypes;
o Showing them as professionals and ordinary people;
o Highlighting the EU support in favour of researchers, their role in the Knowledge triangle and for building the Innovation Union;
o Involving citizens in debates on the contribution of researchers to European economy and society, as well as in ideas generation and open innovation;
o Fostering active citizenship position on the policy for growing research talents and making research and innovation attractive for young people.
The activities offered addressed the public at large in all its components with a special focus on young people (children, teen-agers and students) and their parents and teachers. Over 2000 students were engaged within the ""Atelier of young talents"". The broad programme included science cafés, guided visits in labs and museums, cabinets of curiosity, exhibitions, and entertainment."
o Public at large regardless of age and scientific background (including journalists and editors, teachers in secondary schools, entrepreneurs, generally interested adults and parents);
o Special attention to be paid to kids and young people, especially those facing a career choice(more generally kids aged 5-7, 7-11, 11-14 and 14-18 and students 19-25)
o Focused on researchers: Researchers are amongst us; Researchers are ordinary people with an extraordinary job;
o Related to the main objectives of bringing researchers closer to the public at large and stimulating young people to embark on scientific careers, as well as understanding research: Science is cool; Scientists as role models.
Main communication tools to rely on
o Publication of announcements, articles, advertisements in mainstream press – at national and local level (in Russe: Bryag and Utro, Stara Zagora Newspaper, National Business Post newspaper);
o Special rubrics in several publications: “Science” magazine, Plovdiv university press, Online Journal Educational forum.
o Airing of programmes, interviews, promotional spots on both regional and national radio and TV stations:;
o Promotion during other public events in Sofia and Plovdiv;
o Organisation of a press conference at Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA) press centre in Stara Zagora;
o Specific announcements to target groups during pre-events for the competitions organised for kids and students at national (by NBU) and local levels (in Varna, Russe, Stara Zagora and Plovdiv), as well as for young innovators within the Innovation Lab and Start IT Smart Innovation Fairs;
o Distribution of flyers by students in the universities campuses, and in the city centre;
o Circulation of retro tram car from 1910 decorated with special ERN posters traveled through the central part of Sofia with NBU students directly promoted the events(free) ;
o Movie teaser based on 10 years Researchers Night in Bulgaria’ displayed in train stations;
o Distribution of posters in public spaces, such as most popular venues, schools, university buildings, main streets, public buildings, local authorities, cultural institutions, youth clubs and NGOs;
o Mailing of personal invitations to staff of partners organisations and their networks;
o Attracting the MTel Media Masters award (substituting the planned launch of the Annual Science Journalism competition);
o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of project website and announcements of partners local sites;
o Revmaping, constant updating and maintenance of social networks profiles and promotion (Twitter, Facebook, and social media such as YouTube, targeted forums and external portals, on-line media);
o Special Facebook campaign including paid advertisement;
o Announcement of the Researchers’ Night on the sevezral Internet pages( such as “Darik News”, “Ruse Info”, “Ruse Plus”, “Ruse Portal”, newspaper “Utro”, “Ruse Free Spirit City”, “Kmeta”, “Bulgarian telegraph agency”, “Our Net”, “Topnovini”, Darik news website, Stara Zagora municipality, Stara Zagora TV, BTA Stara Zagora, National Business Post, Stara Zagora News, Cherno more, Moreto, Puls, Medical News, Monitor, Varna Utre, Varna 24, Kmeta, Vesti, Nakratko, Planeta, Forum-Varna, Telegtraf, …);.
o Production of posters, leaflets, flyers, displayed through public places and in particular in schools and universities by all partners, including associated partners;
o Production of dedicated printed materials by NBU and JIC in collaboration with USB;
o Ads, banners on on-line media and social networks by BC;
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 ensured by BC for all partners (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
ACTIVITIES DURING THE NIGHT
Task 2.1. Design of the Amusement programme
The project partners made special efforts to design and organize the ERN amusement programmes in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora, and Burgas. They contacted several reasearches in order to design the activities considered within the project - art performances of researchers, researchers’ poetry, exhibitions, café scientific with researchers, research stands, hands-on experiments, etc. The preparatory work ensured to identify talented researchers to be involved in an interesting and diversified programme in all cities. A special attention was paid on identifying and attracting Maria Curie fellows for project activities.
Task 2.2. Design of competitions within the “Atelier of young talents”
Competitions for young people were announced at national level by NBU team, and at local levels in Plovdiv, Varna, Russe and Stara Zagora:
o A team from Sofia University launch for a second time a national competition among youth (4 age groups: 6-11, 12-15, 16-19 and 20-25 years) on ‘Science in pictures and words’, providing to the youth the opportunity in multimedia, essays, paintings, models or posters to present essential knowledge issues of the day.
o In Stara Zagora, DIITT opened competitions for school students ‘Light is life (2-7 grades), ‘Light in technologies’ (8-12 grades) and ‘Life without light’ (8-12 grades).
o In Plovdiv, National Photo Contest on the theme „Where there is light“.
o In Ruse, competition “Light in pictures, images and words” was divided in three main categories: “Innovative idea”, “Art photography” and “Poetry and Prose”..
o In Varna, competitions for best essay ""If I were a scientist..."", photo competition “The light source of life and health” targeted at students.
Start It Smart and The Business Institute guided the work of students, young researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators within the project. The Business Institute complited the activities within the Innovation Lab “From ideas to the market”, and took part at a specially designed dissemination event during ERN in Sofia. Start IT Smart focused on its ’Ideas Fair, and prepared special programmes withn ERN events in Sofia, Plovdiv and Burgas.
Task.2.3. Design of special printed materials.
Special publications were prepared and devoted to researchers:
o Newspaper ’HOMO SCIENS’ with sections on researchers and their achievements, young talents and women in science.
o Brochure ‘Faces in Bulgarian Science’ on Marie Sclodowska Curie fellows from Bulgaria, designed with the support of FP7 and H2020 NCPs related to Maria Curies actions.
o Special rubrics in “Science” as a follow-up of ERN with retrospective of the events in different cities.
o A booklet of selected researchers’ own poetry ‘Steps 8’ showing their passion to verses, after a specially announced competition and selection of verses by a professional jury.
o A catalogue with applied research of teams of researchers from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
o A book with math jokes – “Laugh 5” designed by BAS researchers,
o A book “Scientists. University as a sanctuary of thought” focused on achievements of PU researchers.
Main locations and venues
o Burgas: Regional Museum – Burgas, Bourgas Free university
o Plovdiv: Medical University – Plovdiv, University of Food Technology – Plovdiv, Plovdiv Language School, Professional High-school of Tourism - Plovdiv, Language School “Ivan Vazov” – Plovdiv, High-school “Simeon Veliki” – Plovdiv, University of Plovdiv, Plovdiv main street, Academy of arts
o Russe: University of Ruse – Rectorate; University of Ruse – Building 2; University of Ruse – Laboratories; Kaneff Centre University of Ruse
o Stara Zagora: TRAKIA UNIVERSITY – DIITT, Laboratories of the Medical Faculty, Zacharii Knyazhesky Regional Library
o Sofia: Bulgarian Academy of Sciences – main building, National Gallery ""Square 500"", New Bulgarian University, Cyrillo-Methodian Research Centre – BAS, Institute for Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum – BAS, Concert Hall of The National Music School, Vivacom Art Hall.
o Varna: Medical University of Varna, Sea Garden in Varna, Sea Garden, Astronomical Observatory “Nicolaus Copernicus
Main types of activities planned
ERN activities in 2015 were devoted to the International Year of Light. A big diversity of activities for various audiences was included in the programmes:
o Competitions for young people under the ‘Atelier of young talents’ researchers;
o ‘Life style of researchers’ focused on researchers’ daily life and talents with special publications devoted to researchers;
o Amusement programmes in 6 Bulgarian cities;
o ‘Cabinets of curiosity’ providing opportunity to children to participate in simple hand-on scientific experiments or scientific animations guided by researchers;
o various exhibitions – of talented researchers, on scientific achievement or presenting competition results;
o Cafe scientifiques for dialogue with citizens on research topics of the day;
o Ideas Fair: presentation and demonstration of research achievements, innovations and newly developed technologies.
o Activities for celebration of ""10 years Researchers Night in Bulgaria"".
NBU team was in charge also for preparing a short movie ""10 years Researchers Night in Bulgaria"", which included scenes from previous researchers nightsies, and was distributed to all partners for being displayed during their events close to the European corner.
Detailed programme of activities
o Burgas Regional Museum:
o Science café, presentations and discussions with famous scientists involved in the framework of “Museum and School Education” initiative, and exhibition “Bugras Schools through the Centuries”;
o Kids and young people programme exhibition dedicated to development of schools through the 19 and 20-th centuries;
o Burgas Free University
Start It Smart organized an ERN event “Innovation Fair’ with the aim to bring together young innovators and researchers from Burgas and the region in order to present their innovative products and developments in front of the audience and the jury.
o MU Plovdiv premises:
o Meeting of the Generations “Mission of the Professor at the Medical University - Plovdiv“, presentation of 2 generations of dedicated teachers and the almanac “Dedicated to Humanity”
o Granting the Award of the Rector for the Best Researcher of 2015
o Debate “Book ot Mouce – Brick or E-University”
o Musical performances of the Student Gospel Choir and folk ansemble of Medical University
o Culinary show of international cuisine – special presentations of foreign students
o UHT premises:
o Science cafés “Academy and Business – Success Stories”;
o Exhibition of companies of University of Food Technology Alumni degustation “brain stimulation food”;
o Travelling academy, lectures by PhD students and young researchers “Who Wants to Be a Researcher?”;
o Plovdiv university main building, Plovdiv central square:
o café scientifique on “Light – known and unknown” and “Why and how do we see”
o exhibition of amateur photographs from the National photographic competition “When there is light”.
o presentation of researchers own poems
o old town to the Roman stadium, folklore concert (Academy for Music, Dances and Fine Arts): “Let the light glows“
o demonstrational show “Evolution of lighting technologies”.
o Hackafé Plovdiv(the leading innovation hub in the city): organised by Start It Smart
o presentation on ""Artificial Intelligence for a better future""
o presentations of ideas by 7 teams of young innovators and researchers in front of the jury;
o The event was closed with a networking cocktail, organized by Start It Smart.
o UR – main building: (In charge UR)
o Exhibition “From candles to photovoltaics”.
o Exhibition “The light in pictures, images and words”.
o Awarding the winners in the competition “The light in pictures, images and words”.
o Science cafés - „The light in science and practice“ – with presentations on: “Lighting technologies and applied lightning”, “Some markers in the h istory of lightning science”, “LED lightning with special application”, “Sunlight and the Stirling engine”, “Management of Lightning”, Design of Lightning, “Light and energy”, “Aleks 2005-R” Ltd. – Ultralux in LED lightning in Bulgaria.
o Atelier of young talents “Open doors of the university labs”
o Academy of hidden talents “The light in my life”
o Ideas Fair – The entrepreneurial club from Ruse Startup Factory presents innovative ideas, connected with the application of light.
o Kaneff Centre University of Ruse
o Concert “Light kaleidoscope”
o Retro tramway connecting various venues and allowing visitors chatting with researchers during the journey;
o Screening of 1 minute short movie on ERN (designed by NBU) at metro stations of Sofia subway;
o NBU main building (in charge NBU):
o open day of NBU and access to exhibitions in archeology, of crystals and minerals
o photo exhibition “The Professors take photos….”
o BAS premises (in charge JIC-BAS in collaboration with USB):
o Mathematical performances for younger audience – Math Show “Spirals”
o Cabinets of curiosity: Optical equipment for medical applications, Cooper Bromide laser, Laser Magnitometer
o Science café: The Light in medicine; The Light in art
o Exhibitions: “Light-based technologies for better quality of life”: Institute for Solid-State Physics –BAS, Academician Yordan Malinovski Institute for Optical Materials and Technologies - BAS, Institute of Electronics - BAS
o Photo exhibition “The Difraction”
o Music-poetry concert of researchers, songs, poetry, short presentations of famous Bulgarian scientists
o National Gallery ""Square 500"" (in charge BC in collaboration with NBU and JIC-BAS):
o Ideas fair - exhibition of posters of 10 interesting projects and applied research of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences on different topics;
o Atelier of Young Talents: presentations of the results of the NBU competition ‘Light in pictures and words’ and awarding of winners; and the presentations of results of the Innovation Lab guided by The Business Institute, associate partner of NBU;
o screeing of NBU short movie “10 years Researchers Night in Bulgaria’;
o Cabinets of curiosity (organised by NBU and BC) – on Wireless electricity, Light in the wildlife, Lights from one pole to the other, BASF Chemgeneration Lab – the chemistry of light, Vision and optometry , Remote geological research, Measurements and safety in telecommunications, Adaptive video game for entrepreneurship education (Prof. Boyan Bonchev from Sofia University, MSC fellow);
o Scientifique café: presentations on: Earth 1.0: The Archaeological Secrets of Sofia and Earth 2.0: Humanity’s Space Future
o Concert Hall of The National Music School (NBU)
o electronic music concert in two parts: Presentation prof. Simo Lazarov about the raise of electronic music with multimedia and his original music
o Simo Lazarov’s new electronic interpretation of the Gustav Haulst’s masterpiece “THE PLANETS. About 500 visitors.
o Vivacom Art Hall (NBU in collaboration with Start It Smart):
o Presentation on turning ideas into innovation;
o Presentation of selected under competition good practices;
o Networking party with researchers and innovators.
o Institute for Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum – BAS
o multimedia presentations on: ‘Monuments of St. Cyril and Methodius from the end of 20th , beginning of 21th century”, ‘Canons, songs, authors”, ‘The connotation of the image
s of St. Cyril"
Description of the current situation
o Previous existing studies and surveys;
o Public opinion surveys during the previous impact assessment exercises;
o Ex-ante and ex-post surveys related to public opinion on researchers, their profession and the awareness on research contribution to economy and society ;
o Survey especially targeted at young people (up to aged 30), including students of universities and high level secondary schools;
o Face to face interviews;
o Event satisfaction survey;
Indicators and parameters to be applied
o Qualitative: elements allowing the assessment of the public opinion on researchers and their job (associations with the word ""researcher"", characteristics of ""actual researchers"", characteristics of ""desired researchers""), interest expressed for science and research, interest expressed for science careers, typology of attendees (age, gender, occupation, background…), intention to attend similar events in the future and involvement of researchers funded by Horizon 2020 actions in the activities of the Night;
o Quantitative: number of attendees, rating of the event, participation in various activities, number of hits on website, number of friends and followers on social networks, number of promotional items displayed and media coverage…number of responses expected, interviews, quantitative evaluation of public satisfaction, number of visitors at locations of the event, total number of visits on project web page, total number of “Likes” on a Facebook, total number of recorded face-to-face interviews, articles in largest main daily newspapers, articles in daily newspapers and local magazines, posters received, audio and video contributions about the Researchers night and coverage and survey results among the youth;
Selection of the sample
o Method: random selection;
o Absolute figures: 620 respondents total at all locations
o Typology of visitors: 25 % aged between 20 and 25, 16 % aged 16-19, biggerst student group in Stara Zagora, biggest university student group in Varna and Plovidv (medical universities, 60 and 53 %), strong presence of researchers amongst attendees, although decreasing compared to previous years, 88 % newcomers in Sofia, Plovdiv and Burgas;
o Knowledge about the event: social networks (although somewhat decreasing form previous years) and word of mouth (families, friends), very mow impact of traditional media( 4-5 %);
o Overall positive feedback about the event itself (activities, interest, contacts with researchers, concrete orgnaisation, schedule, locations and venues);
o Most popular activities: exhibitions, science cafés and demonstrations;
o Wish of a certain part of the audience (15-20 %à) for a longer-lasting event;
o Some limited critics about venues and audio visual equipment in Sofia and Plovdiv;
o Some wishes for a deeper and more active involvement of the audience in debates and discussions;
o General consideration of the Reseacrhers' Night as a tradional fall appointment;
o Further efforts to be undertaken regarding the organisation of large media campaigns.
Overview of the results of the action as well as their exploitation and dissemination
o About 20.250 of visitors during the 2 events;
o Over 3,5 million people made aware of the Researchers'night and its objectives
o 9 different types of activteis offered each year;
o 1.397 researchers actively invled in the activities of which:
o 32 having benefitted from Marie Curie scheme;
o 274 having benefitted from support under FP 7/HORIZON 2020;
o European corners organised during the two events;
o Number of European corners organised: 12 (6 each year);
General impact of the action:
o On public image of researchers and their job: From the collected replies related to the perception on Bulgarian researchers the overall impression is that people believe that researchers are ""smart"", ""intelligent"" and ""hard workers"".
o On public image of science and its potential impact on citizens'daily lives: increasing interest by the general public, as can be shown through the increased participation in competitions and activities specially addressing young people, asw ell as through the feedbacks collected in the framework of the impact assessment exercise
o On interest expressed by young people for career sciences: in both years the majority of respondents are inspired by researchers career through the feedbacks provide in the framework of the impact assessment exercise;
o Other potential impact: on creativity and innovation attitude of young people. The activities in the Atelier of Young Talents provided opportunities for young people at different ages to express in picture or words, or to develop under expert guidance, their ideas. Some of the Cabinets of Cyriousity also provided opportunity for kids to be creative in solving the tasks given (e.g. math games).
Socio-economic impact of the action
It is difficult to measure the socio-economic impact of the Researchers' Night. Taken into account the difficulties experienced by research organisations and universities in Bulgaria, the action is believed to contribute to overcome the severe problems of rapid ageing of the research workforce by influencing young people to undertake a researchers career. This can, in longer-terms, endure the sustainability of the whole system (which is now endangered).
The partnership established by all organisations involved has lasted more then 10 years, and in most cases goes beyond the specific project activities. In fact, the project influenced the networking of researchers coming from different knowledge areas, but facing similar horizontal problems related to the overall environment of the research community in Bulgaria – ageing of the research labour force, low attractiveness of researchers career, lack of open, transparent and merit-based recruitment procedures, and disconnected research and innovation actors. This resulted in several joint activities during the last 10 years within EURAXESS - Bulgaria, and other national and European projects, and will continue in the future.
The involvement of new partners from industrial-based organisations is providing a new impetus on the project activities, and fostering creativity, innovativeness and team work of young people, thus, helping them to develop skills needed in the knowledge economy and on the labour market."