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CORDIS - EU research results



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

The active participation of citizens in science related issues has significantly increased in the past decades and citizen science has become a top-priority in many institutions and governments across Europe.
Portugal is just starting to develop some interesting projects that need expansion and multiplication, which require proper diffusion in both the scientific community and the society.

The CITSCI project for the European Researcher’s Night 2015 in Portugal pursued two broad aims:

First, CITSCI aimed at addressing this national insufficiency, through:
- the active mobilisation of university researchers, science museum professionals, municipal authorities and the civil society (associations, NGOs);
- the compilation and broader dissemination of what is already being done in terms of citizenship-based research activities in Portugal;
- in such context, such activities are intended to become mainstream in Portugal after this first experience.

Secondly, in Portugal the relations between contemporary science, socioeconomic development, environmental sustainability, and employment, are not yet clearly perceived by the public. Through a broad range of scientific activities, CITSCI aimed at raising awareness of the role of research in the citizens’ daily lives and encouraging their direct and active participation in the building of scientific knowledge. Special attention was paid to the engagement of minorities, citizens with special needs and women.

The University of Lisbon (ULisboa), through its National Museum of Natural History and Science (MUHNAC), coordinated the CITSCI project. It mobilised, together with the University of Coimbra, the research community, science centres, NGOs, and local authorities to act as associated partners in their respective regions. The Municipality of Lisbon also got involved as partner, and played an important role in mobilizing the participation of citizens, local companies and associations, as well as the regional and national media; they indeed proved of utmost importance in co-organizing and building-up outdoor activities.
Target audiences
. Public at large regardless of age and scientific background;
. Special attention to be paid on young people in particular when facing career choice;
. Citizens with special needs and disabilities;
. Schools, colleges, universities, research institutes;
. Policy makers;
. Industry and commerce leaders;
. Tourism sector.

Messages conveyed
. Everyone can be part of the scientific community, citizen or professional, male or female, young or not, with scientific background or not;
. Researchers‘ role is important in daily lives, economic development, environmental and social issues;
. Researchers share enthusiasm and passion for their job;
. Citizens can and should get involved in research activities including top level science.

Main communication tools to rely on
Off line
. Local build-up activities;
. Conception, production and display of promotional material;
. Promotion during public events;
. Publication of advertisements in newspapers, newsletters and cultural agendas;
. Public advertising in public spaces and display of video spots (cooperation with city councils);
. Promotion in written press;
. Promotional merchandising during build-up competitions;
. Setting up of media partnerships with radio and TV stations (Antena 1, RTP).

On line
. Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of project’s website, linked to partners and other science communication websites (both national and European);
. Revamping of social networks profiles, creation of a page and event on Facebook, creation of YouTube channel for displaying promotional video;
. Setting up of Instagram, Twitter and Gmail accounts;
. Electronic mailing through the consortium’s network of contacts and mailing lists.

Promotional material
. Flyers, brochures, roll-ups, flying banners, portable booth, bookmarkers, passports, posters, t-shirts, also available on a digital basis;
. Banners, ads, websites links to relevant EU and other popular websites;
. Give away;
. 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 (displayed through the European corner notably), complying with the general guidelines available at

Overview of the results
. Conception, realisation of promotional material: posters of various formats, roll ups, programmes, invitations, brochures, flying banners, flyers, give away (T-shirts, passports, book markers…), displayed in public places such as restaurants, libraries, universities;
. Publication of articles, advertising and inserts in written press (national news agency, national and regional newspapers);
. Conception, realisation and display of a promotional spot and a promotional video, displayed on giant screens throughout the Lisbon city;
. Sending of invitations to museums, universities as well as Lisbon City Council's mailing list;
. Promotion during other public events, such as Astrofesta, Feira da Luz, MUHNAC' s Saturdays markets;
. Organisation of a press conference notably attended by the national news agency (Lisbon, National Museum of History and Science);
. Publication of 4 press releases;
. Airing of interviews and live transmission on radio and TV stations (national and local);
. Pre-events: build-up activities:
- Science in Botanical garden;
- Workshop cycle;
- Competition;
. Revamping, constant updating of the project website, namely info about citizen science and related Portuguese projects, build up activities, event programme, Portuguese researchers having benefited from MSCA scheme;
. 19.687 unique visitors and 8.399 hits on project website;
. Revamping and constant feeding of social networks profiles, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram;
. 1.712 likers on Facebook, 11 followers on Twitter, 81 on Instagram;
. Publication of articles and inserts in online newspapers, city guides and cultural agendas;
. Display of the promotional video through various websites and social networks;
. About one and a half million people made aware of the European Researchers' Night and its objectives.


Locations and venues
. Coimbra: Museum of Science, Romulo Science Centre, National Museum Machado de Castro, Mol2Life;
. Lisbon: National Museum of Natural History and Science, Principe Real Garden, Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon, Forest Park of Monsanto, Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA) - School of Agriculture, LNEG - National Laboratory for Energy and Geology, IDL – Dom Luiz Institute, University of Lisbon - Faculty of Sciences, CAL – Lisbon Archaeology Centre, LNEC - National Laboratory for Civil Engineering, Alvalade Municipal Market, Lusofona University, Conchas Park, Olivais Library, Urban Information Centre of Lisbon;

Main types of activities undertaken
. Build up activities:
- There is Science in the Botanical Garden : guided visit to the botanical garden , focused on several hot themes such as "light, forests, birds, invasive species, rivers' fauna, medicinal plants (Coimbra);
- Workshops cycle (“There is Science in Lisbon!”) with researchers from several research institution in Lisbon; Bioblitz at the Monsanto Forest Park; debate on Green Economy and Citizen Science; seminar on Citizen Science at Schools; talks about Sustainable Cities (Lisbon);
- Competition aimed at exploring the biodiversity stations and record (pictures), for display on the Biodiversity4All website, the highest number of observations being rewarded; biodiversity stations throughout Portugal (North: Macieira de Alcoba, Carrazedo, Campo Benfeito, Vale do Bestança, Santa Combinha, Lamosa; Centre: Monte Barata, Dornes, Souto da Casa, Vale de Póios, Fóios; South/Alentejo: Parque Natureza Noudar,Vale Gonçalinho, Herdade da Ribeira Abaixo; South/Algarve: Barranco do Velho,Tôr, Ribeira de Alportel, Pico Alto);

. Activities during the night:
- Presentation of research results;
- On line science projects, workshops, chats and debates with researchers;
- Science cafés, experiments and interactive activities;
- Various analysis conducted with specialised researchers;
- Exhibitions, participation in research activities;
- Promotion of research and citizen science projects,;
- Experiments on most recent findings in projects developed by researchers involved in the action;
- Theatre plays, speed dating with scientists, demonstrations, informal talks;
- Mathematics and biodiversity games;
- ERN’s 10th anniversary celebration;
- Fitness activities with the participation of scientists;
- European dances with scientists.

Detailed programme of activities (2015)

. Participation in real national and international online citizen science projects: “biodiversity4all”, “mosquitoWEB”, “gripenet”, “invasoras”, “sun4all”, “zooniverse”, “ibercivis”. Some projects were developed by researchers from the Universities of Lisbon and Coimbra;
. Marathon of galaxy classification (using the citizen science project Galaxy Zoo, from the Zooniverse initiative);
. Discussions with researchers involved in citizen science projects, about the development of these projects and the opportunities of participating;
. Debate between scientists and the public on the effects of science in daily life;
. Presentation and hands-on activities of most recent findings involving researchers from several science institutions in Lisbon: nanotechnology, gender related studies, robotics, biodiversity research, social and political studies, seed banks, marine resources, renewable energies, seismology, health research, biotechnological wine production, art studies, architecture research, among many others;
. Astronomic observations using telescope stations;
. Guided visits to permanent and temporary exhibitions;
. Awarding of the prize for the biodiversity stations’ contest;
. Speed dating with scientists;
. Mathematics and biodiversity board games;
. Mathematics Circus;
. Setting for citizens to be involved in research activities during the night;
. European dances with the participation of researchers;
. Celebration of the 10th anniversary of the European Researchers' Night.

. Theatre play reflecting on science and society issues (scientists as actors);
. Speed dating with scientists;
. Debate promoting the interaction between scientists and the public;
. Experiments and interactive activities presented by scientists from University of Coimbra, such as Anthropology, Biology, Engineering, History, Medicine, Sociology;
. Science demonstrations;
. Visits to exhibitions by experts;
. Promotion of citizen science and citizens’ involvement;
. Telescope observations;
. Permanent and temporary exhibitions;
. Celebration of the 10th anniversary of the European Researchers' Night.

European corners
Number: 2 (one in each participating city)
Location: frequented area (average frequentation: about 20 % of overall attendees)
Activities undertaken:
. Chill out area, with connections to all relevant EU websites;
. Demonstration of several EU-funded projects in Portugal;
. Interactive activities (information about EU programmes, opinion wall on citizen science);
. Permanent presence of researchers EU-funded (Marie curie or other EU programmes), witnessing about their experience, and actively involved in all the activities offered;
. 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";
. Display of:
- a promotional video including trailers from different European countries (Sarajevo, Bulgaria, Moldova, Bratislava, Spain, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, Hungary);
- a special video dedicated to EU-funded researchers.

Overview of the results
. Offer of the activities as planned and described in the Annex I part B to the Grant Agreement:
- 52 hands-on experiments and interactive activities;
- 10 demonstrations;
- 2 workshops conduced by specialised researchers;
- 7 presentations of research projects;
- 5 exhibitions and 8 guided visits to exhibitions, one exhibition finissage;
- 49 activities specifically addressing children;
- 3 debates about science-linked issues;
- Speed dating with researchers;
- 2 Planetarium sessions and astronomical observations;
- Participation in real international/national citizens' science projects;
- Science quiz and secret run, mathematics circus, various games;
- Theatre play;
- European corners;

. Active involvement of 455 researchers in the preparation and implementation of the activities, of whom:
- 9 having benefited from MSCA schemes;
- 18 having benefited from FP7/HORIZON 2020;

. Attendance of over 4.200 having actively taken part in the activities offered, of which:
- 3.000 in Lisbon venues;
- 1.200 in Coimbra venues;


Description of the current situation
. Launch of a poll regarding science's relevance to attendees, relying on 2010 Special Eurobarometer report on Science and Technology.

. Activity "draw a scientist" organised during the event (public perception of a scientists);
. Opinion questionnaire on perception of scientific research, researchers, their work and its potential societal impact;
. Self-administered questionnaires (postcard) related to the satisfaction regarding the event itself, favourite activities, interest of science and influence of the event on such interest;
. Post-it wall with commentaries about the Researcher’s Night;
. On line questionnaire addressing the participating institutions;
. On line questionnaire addressing researchers involved (motivation, perception and skills).

Indicators and parameters to be applied
. Qualitative: visitors’ typology, interest expressed for research and science, public opinion on research and researchers’ work, change in such perception, satisfaction about the event, preferred activities, will attend to similar future events, involvement and motivation of researchers and possible evolution.
. Quantitative: number of attendees, of participants in various activities, rating of the event, hits on website, friends and followers on social networks, links to external sites and blogs, promotional items displayed.
. Collection, analysis and processing of 211 questionnaires prior to the event, 384 questionnaires filled in during the event (perception of researchers, their work, its impact), 392 filled in questionnaires about the event itself, 116 entries in the "draw a scientists" competition, 361 opinions registered during the poll, 44 post-it observations on the ERN wall during the event, making a total of 1.508 feedbacks collected and processed for both locations.

Main conclusions:
Overall positive feedback regarding the event itself (activities, interest, contacts with researchers, concrete organisation, scheduling, locations and venues);
Typology of visitors:
- Major female participation (61 % Coimbra, 67 % Lisbon);
- Major participation of visitors aged 15-24 (34 % Coimbra, 29 % Lisbon), followed by 35-44 (14 % Coimbra, 21 % Lisbon), 45-54 (14 % Coimbra, 14 % Lisbon), 25-34 representing 12 % in Coimbra and 18 % in Lisbon, under 15 (respectively 10 % in Coimbra and 9 % in Lisbon), 55-64 (3 % and 8 %) and over 65 (3 % and 1 %);
- Most attendees with bachelor degree (35,6 % in Coimbra and 34,3 % in Lisbon), followed by preparatory school level (18,6 % in Coimbra) and masters' degree in Lisbon (23,4 %), high school level and masters degree (Coimbra 15,3 % each, 19,8 % for high school in Lisbon), PhD holders (Coimbra 10,2%), elementary school (5,1 % Coimbra, 8,1 % Lisbon), and in Lisbon preparatory school level (7,7%), and PhD holders (6,5%);
- Most participants having studies science and technology (49 % in Coimbra, 46 % in Lisbon), followed by human and social sciences (9% in Coimbra, 20 % Lisbon), health (8% and 9 %), economy (7% in Coimbra), arts (7 % in Coimbra) and others (5% in both locations);
. Most successful activities: hands-on activities and theatre (Coimbra), hands-on activities, science in daily life debate and planetarium sessions in Lisbon;
. Less successful activities: presentation of research projects in Lisbon;
. General wish for a longer duration-event;
. Increased public awareness about the societal impact of research (both locations);
. General wish for reinforcement of science communication activities (both locations);
. Increased interest for science careers expressed by young people (both locations) and increased interest for science-related themes by general public (both locations).
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