CORDIS - EU research results

Crossing Borders - In jedem steckt ein Forscher / European Researchers Night 2014 + 2015

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BS_Night_140926_150925 (Crossing Borders - In jedem steckt ein Forscher / European Researchers Night 2014 + 2015)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-10-31

Crossing Borders, pushing the limits of knowledge, inventing new methods, technologies, materials to improve our life. That´s what research is all about. What is needed for this is simple: a clever mind and curiosity.
With the slogan "Crossing Borders, there is a researcher in all of us", the organisers intended showing how diverse research careers and findings can be and how they impact the everyday life. In 2015 the action focused on the saying of Albert Einstein: “The important thing is not to stop questioning”. It symbolizes the continuously questioning in science and also shows the omnipresence of research and science. During the European Researchers´Night research was advertised as a career especially towards young people. Researchers were therefore brought into town, research is right at home in Braunschweig.

The region is one of the most research intensive regions in Europe, boasting the highest density of scientists. To make this visible as many as possible researchers were gathered, namely 230 and the public at large was invited to participate in numerous small events on the night to get up-and-close with the researchers. Besides many researchers have been among the estimated 3.000 visitors.
Such events included playing games together, an elevator pitch, hands-on-experiments or Science Slams. In this way people were encouraged enjoying research and better understanding how research makes their life easier while increasing their well-being.

At the same time the action intended tackling the remaining stereotypes about researchers, notably through an extensive awareness campaign before the event, which reached at least about 85.000 people in the region and beyond.
The Haus der Wissenschaft (House of Science), coordinator of the project, is the interface between all universities, research institutions and the city, economy, cultural and educational institutions of Braunschweig and, as such, could ensure a smooth running of the project as planned.
Explanation of the work carried out during the reporting within the whole project in line with the Annex 1 to the Grant Agreement


Target audiences
- Public at large regardless of age and scientific background;
- Special attention to be paid to young people and pupils, especially those facing a career choice;

Messages conveyed
- Researchers are amongst us;
- Researchers are ordinary people with an extraordinary job;
- Work up curiosity everyone is a researcher;
- Research can push boundaries and overcome knowledge limitations, it makes life easier;
- There is a huge variety of research activities and careers, in general and especially in our region;
- A lot of international researchers live in Braunschweig, they work all over the world and are involved in many EU funded projects;
- Be proud of your city, Braunschweig is a European city with the highest density of researchers;
- Come to the city on the Researchers’ nights, it has been a colourful, diverse, entertaining and interesting evening with something to discover for everyone;

Main communication tools to rely on

Off line
- Publication of several press releases;
- Publication of articles, announcements, advertisements in monthly magazines of the participating institutions and of the city;
- Organisation of a press conference;
- Production and display of promotional written material and public advertising;
- Realisation of a small video clip (for both 2014 and 2015), showing researchers stopping in the middle of their work to be part of the bet and join the event;

On line
- Setting up of a project website, constantly updated;
- Links with other participants’ websites, institutional ones and popular ones;
- Setting up of social networks profiles and constant updating;
- Joint social media campaign with the city and involved research institutions;
- Posting of information, promotional items and announcements and pictures on blogs;

Promotional material
- Flyers, posters of various formats, billboards, postcards, brochures, programmes;
- Ads, banners, links to several websites as referred to above;
- Mention of "This European Researchers' Night project is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions" on all promotional material displayed;
- Promotional gadgets (such as buttons and stickers) (displayed through the European corner notably), complying with the general guidelines available at

Overview of the results
Conception and production of promotional material, namely: save the date cards, posters of various formats, postcards, flyers, programmes;
o Display of such promotional material to partner institutions, sponsors, during other public suitable events (open house days, conferences at partner institutions notably), in public places (Braunschweig, Wolfenbüttel, Wolfsburg, Gifhorn, Bad Harzburg, Goslar, Peine and Salzgitter), in shops, museums, bars, cinemas, restaurants and other public institutions in the city;
o Conception and production of a trailer displayed in regional cinemas (Braunschweig, Wolfsburg, Gifhorn, Salzgitter and Fallersleben);
o Public advertising: display of numerous billboards nationwide in Bonn, Berlin, Münster, Bremen, Göttingen, Dresden, Hannover, Gifhorn und Wolfsburg;
o Publication of various press releases displayed through media agencies;
o Organisation of 2 press conferences (namely at the launch of the awareness campaign and during the event itself);
o Publication of articles, announcements, interviews in written press, notably Braunschweiger Zeitung, Peiner Allgemeine Zeitung, neue Braunschweiger…);
o short feature on regional radio (start of the awareness campaign);
o Organisation of pre-events:
o Art competition in local schools (winners selection through on line vote, rewarding during event);
o Display of science movies, accompanied with the Night trailer, followed by short debates with an invited scientist (4 during evenings prior to the event);
o Posting of announcements, advertising, interviews in on-line press (notably Standort38, Subway, DRUFF! Magazin, Löwenstadtblog, etc.);
o Setting up, revamping and constant upating of the project website (also displaying the trailer referred to above), linked with other institutional and popular websites such as this of coordinator;
o Setting up, revamping and constant updating of social network profiles (Facebook, Twitter): announcements, animation, on-line media campaign;
o General invitiation mailing addressing partners and sponsors;
o Over 85.000 people made aware of the Researchers'Night and its objectives.


List of locations and venues involved: Braunschweig: huge shopping mall (Schloss Arkaden), and a place used for cultural events, set at disposal by the City, including red and blue salons, city library, city archive, castle museum, and the castle square;

Main types of activities: Hands-on experiments, science shows, chats with researchers, games and competitions, demos, lectures, interactive presentations, European corner…

Detailed programme of activities:

Research station, explore the researcher, take a look on science side of life:
o several station where you get in touch with researchers and research from different research institutions in the Braunschweig area
o Profession quiz (guess the speciality of researchers by asking question necessarily answered by “yes” or “no”);
o Living Library: talking to researchers instead of reading books;
o Draw a scientists: kids drawing scientists and revealing their ideas and feelings about researchers and sciencist;
o Beat the brain: parlour games, Trivial pursuit, memory, scattergories against scientists;

Hands-on experiments:
o The lions racing team (formula student) presented their latest racing car and their achivements in several construction competitions. At a racing simulator you could test your own abilities as a racing driver.
o Robocup: See and explore what roboters can do in various experiments and tests.
o What is the job of a train driver about?: Try to navigate a train at simulator and get information about the research projects.
o At “the intelligent car” automatic drive-functions and innovations in mobility were shown in examples and experiments
o Kids could write a software program for a toy car and traffic lights at “Let’s write a software program”
o Check your DNA: isolation of DNA, possibility to take it home and taking pictures with researchers’ clothes;
o Starch, saliva, marsh: aspects of starch, detection of it, food having starch on it, addressing kids and young adults through small experiments;
o Soil Research: how is the nature working, which samples of the soil are interesting to see in microscopes and what can you explore?

Demos and lectures:
o Electro mobility at the “Schaufenster Elektromobilität”. You can explore the suitability for daily use of electro mobility;
o Youth researchers (“Jugend-forscht”): presentation of their research results by 10 pupils winners of the “Jugend-forscht”-Competetion on topcis such as mathematics, physics, informatics, natural sciences and technical sciences;
o Science slam: short entertaining presentations (10 minutes) of their research topic by three scientists;
o “childrens`-lecture” (2 times): professors of the technical university of Braunschweig are lecturing for children about topics of mathematics and entrepreneurship
o “Science brings doubt”: lecture about why science doesn’t always bring knowledge and certainty but also doubts
o “Who has the final say”: lecture about the reception and production in contemporary art

Display of science movies and debates:
o Fast Forward Science (2 time slots): Short movies of an science web-video workshop are shown on the main stage
o “The Chemistry of Breaking Bad”: In this lecture the plausibility of the american TV-series “Breaking Bad” is analysed and discussed.
o Elevator pitch: throughout the afternoon, mini lectures by several researchers (14) about their work/research topis on the stairway in the shopping centre;

Exhibitions and guided tours:
o Exhibition of art competition in local schools (Blue saloon)
o Guided tours in the castle museum about current exhibitions and the work of curators

Science Quiz „Streberschlacht“:
o Highlight of the event on the main stage in the Schloss Arkaden
o Two teams and the audience as a third team searching for answers to questions of current research and science in the region of Braunschweig – researchers on the stage giving answers and explanations

European corner (Number: 1)
Location: main entrance of the shopping mall “Schloss Arkaden”;
o Display of informative and promotional material;
o maps showing the cities where researchers cooperate with Braunschweig institutions and presentation of several of these projects;
o Presentation of EU funded projects, also from the area;
o Marie Curie Fellows of the “Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural History have presented their work (INT-DCH/ see;
o Permanent presence of personnel able to answer the public questions about EU policies and programmes;
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";

Overview of the results
o Offer of the activities as planned in the Annex I part B to the Grant Agreement, namely:
o 44 different activities offered;
o Mainly consisting of hands-on experiments, chats with researchers, games and competitions, demos, lectures, interactive presentations as well as the European corner;
o Active involvement of over 230 researchers, of whom:
o 8 having benefited from MSCA support;
o 20 having benefited from EU support other than MSCA;
o About 3.000 attendees having taken part in the activities offered.
Clearly the Researchers'Nights 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.With the Researchers'Night the already well-established network between the regional universities and research institutions could be strenghtened. A constant reciprocal learning by doing-process was observed amongst the participants , such as identifying ideas for new methods, or current researchs topics. It also allowed setting the basis for new ideas with a view to further joint activities.

Individual contacts could also be established with researchers, allowing to encourage them to get involved and increase their communication skills of which the importance was pointed out in occasion of the event and the contacts with the audience it generated. By involving companies in the event (either as sponsor or with an active part during the night), the connection between research/universities and business/industry could be strengthened. The participation of several transfer institutions (technology transfer centers and career services of the universities) supported the exchange between researchers, businessmen and other interested visitors.
The Researchers' night was a perfect opportunity to bring the researchers in the town and to enhance the exchanges between scientific and non-scientific population. Political uthorities provided a string support to the initiative: the Federal Ministre of Education and Research had supported the 2014 event and both years have been under the patronage of the Minister for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony. Furthermore the representatives of the local politic have taken part in the acitivities during the night.


Interview with high school students before the event
o Inquiry during the event
o Inquiry “Draw-a-scientist” (with children)

o Questionnaires displayed during the event (statistical data, marketing issues such as media through which participant has been informed about the event, attractiveness of the activities, usefulness of the event;
o Psychological scales about scientific careers and interest in science;
o Semi-structured interviews (reasons for being attracted or not by science careers, reasons why science careers fits or not personal interests, aspects to be modified in research careers to make them more attractive…);
o Interview of 50 high school students/young adults prior and after the event, by I/ O psychologists
Indicators and parameters to be applied
o Quantitative: number of attendees, typography of attendees (age, gender, occupation, background), rating of the event, participation in various activities, hits on website, friends and followers on social networks, promotional items displayed, media coverage…
o Qualitative: public opinion about researchers and their works (association with the word “researcher”, characteristics of actual and ideal researchers, interest expressed for science and research, motivations for attending the event, intention to attend future similar events, involvement of researchers funded under HORIZON 2020 …

Selection of the sample
o Method: random selection;
o Absolute figures; feedback should represent at least 5 % of the overall attendance.
Overview of the results

Realisation of:
o 50 interviews with high school students (local schools) prior to the event, about their interest in and perception of science and scientists;
o 22 interviews and analysis of drawings with “draw a scientist”-method with children. Topics: feelings, thoughts and activities of a scientist during his/her freeetime, stereotypes;
o Collection of 168 surveys of attendants

Main conclusions:
o Overall positive feedback on the event itself (activities, interest, contacts with researchers, concrete organisation, scheduling, venues and location);
o Typology of responders:
o High school students interviewed: on average aged 16,52; 36% male and 64% female;
o Children interviewed: on average aged 8,76; 61,9 % male and 38,1 % female;
o Interviewed during the event: 7,14% high school students, 21,43% students, 26,79 % scientists and 44,64 % employees, aged 36,17 on average, balanced distribution between male and female;
o Knowledge about the event:
o mostly word of mouth (friends and colleagues; 37,3% of responders) followed by articles in newspapers (16% of responders);
o Most successful activities (visited as reported by responders):science station (Wissensstationen 76,3%), presentations (Vorträge 15,6%) and “Streberschlacht” (Streberschlacht 10%);
o Overall, visitors were enthusiastic about the event and ready to participate in a similar one in the future (on a scale ranging from 0% to 100%, MEAN=76,89 %)
o Increased knowledge about scientists (on a scale ranging from 0% to 100%, MEAN=36,94 %);
o Increased knowledge about the topics that were dealt with (on a scale ranging from 0% to 100%, MEAN=49,94 %);
o Room for improvement: mainly regarding the awareness campaign and the display of information prior to the event as well as more activities to participate in;
Late Night Science Slam participants
Children testing a roboter
"Beat the brain" at the city library
a lecture of two young researchers, which took part at the competition "Jugend forscht"
Night Impression