CORDIS - EU research results

Fall in Love wIth Research Tonight

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FLIRT (Fall in Love wIth Research Tonight)

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

The FLIRT Researchers’ Night 2015 in Serbia relied on the idea that falling in love with science is just as exciting as falling in love with a real person, and showed how a passionate “crush” can develop into real love. Thanks to the previous experience and a rich network of media contacts of the FLIRT project team, the massive offline campaign that involved the vast majority of national newspapers and magazines, TV and radio stations and the most popular local media outlets in Belgrade, Kragujevac and Nis.

It was backed by an intense online campaign, dominantly relying on extensive and creative use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and extensive reporting and banner postings on the most visited online portals and news websites. As a result, the estimated audience reached through the campaign appears to be around 2.500.000 representing an increase by 25 % compared to RN 2014.

All activities during the Night were implemented as planned, with some additional activities added to the programme. The broad range of activities offered notably included: face to face conversations, learning of subjects through playful movement, interactive exhibitions, hands-on activities, lectures, storytelling, interviews with researchers, quizzes, theatre plays, concerts, European corners…all activities were centered on the “love” concept and the excitement linked to the loving feelings.

The estimated number of visitors during the Night is 33.000 of which the vast majority were children and young people. The reactions were unanimously positive, not only showing that there is an enormous need for this kind of cultural/info/educational content in Serbia, but also that the project team and its many enthusiastic associates, namely almost 400 researchers and science communicators from Belgrade, Nis and Kragujevac achieved their objectives of raising awareness about science and researchers.

Impact Assessment shows that there are significant differences on all subscales. This change can for sure be attributed to the RN event and campaign, pointing out that the FLIRT project has contributed to making science and scientists more popular in Serbia.

Target audiences
o Public at large regardless of age and scientific background;
o Special attention paid to kids, (aged 6-12), young people, parents, teachers, with particular focus on youth faced or about to be faced to career choice;

Messages conveyed
o Researchers are among us;
o Researchers are ordinary people with an extraordinary job;
o Research is not only part of citizens’ daily lives, it makes daily life possible;
o Researchers are those making the future;
o Research is fun and exciting;
o Being researcher is a cool thing;
o Scientific careers area way of doing incredible stuff and meeting incredible people.

Main communication tools to rely on

Off line
o Publication of articles, interviews, announcements, advertisement in popular science and youth magazines (10 dailies and 5 weeklies, 2 prominent popular science magazines);
o Airing of interviews, programmes, announcements, promotional spots , jingles, rewarded quizzes, short video clips on several radio and TV stations (12 TV stations of which 5 with national coverage and 15 radio stations of which 4 with national coverage);
o Organization of a press conference in Belgrade one week prior to the event;
o Direct contacts with schools and students: direct visits in over 60 primary and secondary schools (30 in Belgrade, 20 in Nis, 10 in Kragujevac), mailing and phone calls to remaining schools not visited;
o Stands displaying information and promotional flyer give away in central location in the 3 cities involved 2 weeks prior to the event;
o Contests:
- Love letter to science: rewarding of the most imaginative and authentic love letter , addressing secondary school students;
- Why?: reward of the most interesting science- related question referring to everyday life (answered under the form of series of short entertaining video clips distributed to over 30 local regional and national TV stations;
- Fall in love with research; sticker album addressing kids aged 9-12, composed of stickers accompanied by short articles depicting the most interesting scientific phenomena, discoveries, personal stories of scientists of last year and in 2015 of the last decade (display of stickers will also happen during the event for completion of the albums and possibility to claim a reward in EU corner);

On line

o Community hub/ Researchers night website: event-related info, teasers, announcements, text/photo/video coverage of the event, games, quizzes, interesting facts, promotion of research and researchers;
o Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube RN accounts;
o Also used for voting in the framework of the contests referred to above;

Promotional material

o Folders, brochures, programmes, posters…;
o Banners, ads, websites, links;
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 (displayed through the European corner notably), complying with the general guidelines available at

Overview of the results

o Conception, realisation and display of promotional material: posters of various formats folders, brochures, programmes, bulletins, leaflets, displayed notably through promotional stands, as well as bags,, T-shirts, timetables, stickers, pens…;
o Publication of articles, announcements, advertising , interviews in written press: all printed national dailies, weekly , bi-weekly and monthly publications;
o Public advertising: advertisements in printed media outlets, billboards, city lights, placements in public spaces (shopping malls notably), primary and secondary schools and universities, as well as public transport (trams and busses);
o Airing of promotional spots, interviews, programmes, jingles, rewarded quizzes, short video clips on national TV and radio stations, as well as major cable TV stations;
o Publication of announcements through the 3 Serbian news agencies;
o Organisation of 2 press conferences (late August: general info, cities' programmes and teams, info about all Serbian funded projects; day prior to the event: focus on Belgrade event, detailed programme, attendance of journalists from different media) and 2 local press conferences (Nis and Kragujevac);
o Pre-events:
- Visits to primary schools (Belgrade, Nis, Kragujevac) and display of promotional material and promotional videos;
- Setting of promotional booths in the cities involved (pedestrian area in Belgrade, centre of Nis), with display of promotional material, promotion of the Android game "collect the planets", rewarded during the event (for Belgrade only);
- Flash mob in 3 cities involved (young dancers forming DNA strings on "Ode of Joy" music);
- Organisation of several contests: love letter to scientists (primary schools), RN fall in love with science sticker album (stickers to be collected during the night for completing the album);
o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of project website namely: (detailed programme, teasers, announcements, video/photo event coverage, games and quizzes, interesting features, research and researchers' promotion), set up in cooperation with the other Serbian funded projects, managed by FLIRT team;
o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of social network profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube…);
o 76.764 sessions of 54.284 users, total of 340.741 page views on project website;
o 4.527 likers on Facebook and around 1.000 views on YouTube page, 50 posts to followers on Instagram and 149 tweets to followers on Twitter;
o Links with popular and institutional websites;
o Publication of announcements and reports on national and local web portals (137 published);
o Publication of promotional banners on web portals (20);
o About 1, 5 million people made aware about the Researchers' Night and its objectives.


Tasks undertaken

List of locations and venues involved

Belgrade: students' park, “Progres” Gallery and “Delta city” (shopping mall); joint activities with SCIMFONICOM at the French Institute and the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade building (all positioned in and around Knez Mihailova St, the central pedestrian zone).

Kragujevac: “Plazza” shopping mole and “Sloboda” students’ house;

Nis: Old Nis fortress, old urban quarter with cafes and galleries;

Main types of activities planned

Face to face conversations, learning of subjects through playful movement, interactive exhibitions, hands-on activities, lectures, storytelling, interviews with researchers, quizzes, theatre plays, concerts, European corners…

Detailed programme of activities

o Common theme: Love (love is in the air, flirting, discovering passion, getting to know one’s love better, love catharsis);
o Love is in the air: speed dating (chat about research and everyday topics with researchers), smart move (dancing, singing and playing skills of researchers), sensitive science (psychology exhibition), and the soul mate (face recognition software);
o Reasons to fall in love: researchers talking about their love for research and explaining the most impressive aspects of biology, physics, geology, mathematics and robotics through interactive exhibitions and real experiments;
o Everybody needs passion: research of the extremes, photo exhibition of the researchers’ workspaces, speeches and show on one single instrument they currently use for their research;
o The one I love: interviews and short movies; interviews with some of Serbia’s most prominent scientists about their motivation for research and science, the best and worst moments of their career; smart cinema: researchers as movie festivals editors: show of their favourite short movies, and discussion about scientific topics shown in such movies;
o “Light of Marie Curie” performed by the Mimart Theatre group, this play tells a three-language a less-known story about the great scientist, but also about the phenomena of light and how it influenced the world of science of art.
o Symphony of science: party with researchers as music bands and DJs;
o Playground Love: for kids aged 6-12: planetarium simulation, theatre play (life of Isaac +Newton), interactive wall of prehistoric cave (archaeology, early prehistoric humans looks and behaviour), science playground experiments, science quizzes in which researchers, kids and parents will compete, puzzles and funny games.

European corners

Number: 4 (2 in Belgrade, one in the 2 other cities)
Location: central areas of the 3 cities;

Activities implemented:
o Display of informative and promotional material;
o Permanent presence of personnel likely answering any question of the audience about EU policies and programmes;
o Testimonials by researchers having benefited from EU financial support and MC fellows about their research, their experience and mobility in research;
o Demonstration/illustration of at least 2 research EU-funded projects;
o Virtual exhibition about women in science and the scientific breakthroughs they already have brought;
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 several different activities as planned in the Annex I part B to the Grant agreement, with extra activities initially not planned, such as:
- Belgrade: Your Kaleidoscope, Mathematical Memory, Math for 10, The Beauty of Alien World ARToPHYSICS exhibition (4 extra activities);
- Nis: smart move, smart cinema, 12 different exhibitions (reasons to fall in love), the one I love (sightseeing train with various scientists), symphony of science (music performances), special kid programme (playground love), exhibition "the lessons of Marie Curie", (interactive experiments…);
- Kragujevac: 15 different activities related to robots, culture, colours, DNA? Chemistry, biology, energy, cells…;
o Active involvement of 135 researchers of whom 23 have benefitted from Marie Curie schemes;
o 33.000 visitors having taken part to the activities offered.

Tasks undertaken

Description of the current situation
o Research conducted by the Centre for promotion of science in partnership with the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade;


The aim of Researchers night project evaluation consisted of checking whether some attitudes and experiences of science and scientists changed during campaign and event itself.

Evaluation was performed in the 3 following stages:
o Display, collection and processing of a questionnaire (Facebook) before the start of the media campaign in 2014, in order to test base-line attitudes toward science and scientist;
o On-site inquiries aimed at detecting possible changes in attitudes, on another random sample of participants, similar to the first one regarding various socio-demographic variables, which in some extent increased comparability of two samples;
o On site inquiries in 2015 in order to detect possible changes in attitudes, and the length of that change. Indicators and parameters applied
o The questionnaire measured some attitudes toward science in general (10 items) and scientists (12 items).

Selection of the sample
o Method: random selection;
o 334 participants, of whom
- 127 took part in the first phase; (recruited through Facebook)
- 111 participated in the second phase (participants during the events)
- 96 in the third phase of testing (participants during the events)

Overview of the results

o Display, collection, analysis and processing of 334 feedbacks mainly relying on questionnaires filled in by attendees;
o Main conclusions:
o Typology of visitors: 58,1 % responders female, 72,2 % coming from large cities, 70,7 % having an average economic status;
o Knowledge about the event: mostly (59,5 %) through word of mouth;
o Overall positive feedback regarding the events themselves (activities, interest, contacts with researchers, schedule, locations and venues, concrete organisation…);
o Possible improvements: based on feedback collected towards attendees, activities on social networks and Internet-based should be intensified with a view of future similar events.
o As to the potential impact of the Action, more information available in the next Section.

The Impact Assessment analysis suggests that the following has been achieved:
o Improved knowledge and recognition of science and its societal potential impact;
o Improved public image of scientists (successfulness, charm and sociability);
o Consequently, it is expected that the interest expressed for science careers will also increase.

Clearly Researchers’ Nights will not, as such, have a measurable socio-economic impact – especially not in a country where science is on the very beginning of the road of gaining recognition both from the side of the State and of Society as one of the key factors in the positive societal change.

Researchers' Nights nevertheless can have, and indeed did 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. For example, cooperation between the Mihailo Pupin Institute and the Faculty of Mathematics, but also other participants, has brought about some new ideas for joint projects of which some will hopefully be realized in the near future.
Researchers' Night, when involving (whether directly within the partnership or through external cooperation) companies, including small and medium ones operating in the area, can ease the setting up of bridges between research and industry and, as such, lead to employment and innovation. As one of the most prominent companies in Serbia in the field of scientific isnnovation, Mihailo Pupin Institute will appreciate the direct insight into innovative practices of all other participants.

In case of strong continuous presence of research communities in Serbia, the Researchers' Night could also have an impact on the social fabric, strengthening the links between scientific and non-scientific population, and also between science and other areas of human creativity: a good example for this is the “Light of Marie Curie” theatre play, which was performed by Mimart, the oldest theatre of movement group in Serbia; not only that a story about the great scientist got an artistic touch to it, but it was also an opportunity for Mimart to make a public appearance during the RN campaign and get their voice heard among national audience. The RN has shown that science can be relevant in Serbia, interesting and fun at the same time, and it is important to keep the momentum and continue working in this area. It takes much more time and effort to turn this into a sustainable change, but there is no doubt that this is the path to take.
Program in Academic park
Program on Science stage
Exhibition Art of Physics
Program in Delta shopping center
Program in Academic park
RN promo stand
Program in Academic park
Program in Academic park
Program on Science stage
Program on Science stage
Recycling Quartier
Speed date with researcher
Program in Delta shopping center
Program on Science stage
Opening ceremony