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New Horizons Festival

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NEWHORIZONS (New Horizons Festival)

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

I.2. Summary for publication

The European Researchers’ Night 2015 in Rotterdam, “Rotterdam Science Festival, The Science behind Food”, was all about meeting science and scientists.

The project featured researchers and innovators from Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus MC, as well as from other universities in the Netherlands, industries and SMEs. It offered visitors the unique opportunity of meeting face-to-face with scientists and taking part in dialogues, demonstrations, hands-on experiments and workshops, combined with a food innovation market place. The festival took place in the midst of the Friday night city life and entertainment at one of the hotspots of Rotterdam, around the spectacular architecture of the new Market hall, presenting science in a sometimes casual and sometimes spectacular way.

The experience of Science Street Foundation, representing Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus University Medical Center and the Rotterdam cultural field, with organizing ERN goes back to 2009 when the event was organized in collaboration with Frascati Scienza and CERN. This year the organization was supported by Sjaak Smeins (festival director) and Chantal Waller (programmer and science curator). The project remained linked with Discovery Festival in Amsterdam with regard to the national awareness campaign and promotional actions, although each of the two projects have their own recognisable profile and approach.

The 2015 theme consisted of “The Science behind Food”; this related to major developments in many fields of research having a relation with food.

During the event, researchers from diverse disciplines, e.g. life and medical sciences, psychology, economy, logistics, marketing and social sciences focussed on the science behind food and its applications on everyday life. Some of the highlights were the science cafés presented by young researchers at the Market hall café for an audience of over a hundred people and the Taste Makers of the Future Food Market presenting seaweed burgers and insect pancakes.

A total of 4.750 people physically visited the programme of activities of Rotterdam Science Festival, the main group of visitors consisted of the target group of people from 17 to 37 years old, the typical curious audience looking for information and experiences, which are relevant for their personal lives and for society. The event also attracted nevertheless older people curious to learn about research and its relevance to society. The total outreach of media in which New Horizons had been present is 750.000 people.

The activities took place at the Central Library, the market Square and the Market hall in Rotterdam City centre.

Tasks undertaken

Target audiences

o Public at large regardless of age and scientific background;
o Special attention to be paid to kids and young people, especially those facing or about to face a career choice;

Messages conveyed

o Researchers are amongst us;
o Researchers are ordinary people with an extraordinary job;
o Come and personally meet researchers!
o Be inspired by researchers’ work and passion for their work;
o Discover that research is relevant to society: the theme of Rotterdam Science Festival 2015 was food (in 2014 the theme was ‘Big data: your life in the cloud’);
o Research offers ways to understand and solve societal problems;
o Research offers great career opportunities; for young people;
o Research is fun;
o Research is closer than you may think: research institutes and research communities are part of the culture and economy of Rotterdam and its region;
o Europe cares for its researchers;
o European and international cooperation are of utmost importance for modern research;

Main communication tools to rely on

o A new name, logo and house style were designed for the New Horizons Festival, which has been leading in all promotion together with the EU and MSCA elements. Together with Discovery Festival (Amsterdam) New Horizons has introduced the website:;
o Because of the new name, new social media accounts have been introduced;
o The 2014 edition of the festival was branded as New Horizons Festival; the 2015 edition was branded as ‘Rotterdam Science Festival, European Researchers’Night’ in order to communicate clearly location (Rotterdam) content (Science) and form (Festival).
o This will remain the branding strategy for coming editions.

Off line

o Publication of articles, announcements, interviews, advertisements in national and regional newspapers and magazines;
o Publication of several press releases addressing both off and on line media;
o Airing of promotional spots and items on the regional radio and television station RTV Rijnmond;
o Distribution of invitations to secondary schools in Rotterdam and its region;
o Promotion of the event during other public events such as Open Air cinema, Opening Academic Year at Erasmus University, Rotterdam WorldHarbourDays, September in Rotterdam (cultural street festival);
o Display of posters in public spaces, of flyers in cafés, clubs, museums, libraries, tourist offices (agenda, magazines) in the framework of the promotion of cultural events in Rotterdam;
o Cooperation with press offices of Discovery Festival in Amsterdam, Erasmus University, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam festivals and Central Library in Rotterdam;

On line

o Setting up of website dedicated to project programme, background information, movies, examples of research linked to the overall them chosen i.e. food, critical reflection about ethical issues.. linked to the national Researchers’ night website;
o Setting up of social networks profiles (Twitter, Facebook) and weekly posting of news and programme’s updates;
o Sending “save the date” notifications (websites, mails, social media accounts) to partner organisations’ existing audiences, e.g. Central Library Rotterdam and Youth Food Movement;
o Specific mailing to students of Erasmus University and Erasmus University Medical Centre through on line promotion of Studium Generale;
o Promotion on various social media platforms and regionally oriented social media groups related to food, as the theme of Rotterdam Science Festival 2015, such as De Buik van Rotterdam (The Belly of Rotterdam).
Promotional material
o Posters, flyers, programme leaflets;
o Ads, banners, 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"
"Overview of the results of the action as well as their exploitation and dissemination

Quantitative data:

o 6.250 visitors participated in the 2 ERN events in 2014 and 2014;
o 750.000 people have been made aware of European Researchers'night and its objectives., based on media outreach (number of people reached in 2015, which was the highest number, assuming that this number is overlapping the number of people reached in 2014);
o 48 science activities have been offered during both night;
o 89 researchers have been actively involved in the activities, of whom:
o 22 having benefitted from support under FP 7/HORIZON 2020;
o Two European corners have been organised.

Qualitative data:

o Surveys were conducted before and during both editions of ERN. The results show that:
o Most visitors are already interested in science and technology;
o Most of them have a positive or very positive image of researchers and their job, as well as a positive of very positive idea about science and its potential impact on citizen’s daily lives;
o Also young visitors are already interested in science;
o There is no significant difference between these opinions among visitors before, during or after the Researcher’s Night;
o Researchers are generally glad to have had te opportunity to participate in ERN and to meet a non-peer public;
o Also cooperation with various scienctific, cultural, societal organizations and administrative entities has been boosted by organizing the ERN. In the two years in which ERN has been organized, European research as well as regional and local science communication and education has been further positioned by the events.

Overview of the results
o Collection, analysis and processing of 238 feedbacks namely 143 entrance interviews and 95 experience interviews, including in-depth interviews;
o Conclusions of the ""ex ante survey:
o Typology of visitors: 68% female / 32% male, aged 18-27 (29%), 28-37 (19%), 38 -47 (11%), 48-57 (24%), 58-67 (13%); 68-87 (4%), larger groudp being aged 18-27, 38 % under 38, oldest between 83 and 87, 86 % higher education level (high vocational education, university), 10 % intermediate, 4 % elementary or high school education, 22 % students, 12 % having a profession linked to science and technology, 12 % teachers o working in education field, 12 % retired, 6 % in health care, 34 % in other fields;
o 92 % new comers;
o Knowledge about the event: word of mouth (friedns or family): 36 % social media 34 %, special media of Rotterdam Science Festival or its partner Erasmus University Rotterdam and Erasmus MC 11 %, 9% by coincidence or being in the neighbourhood, 11 %through public advertising (promotional flyers and posters), 7 % by media of the Central Library hosting the event; 3% at school;
o Reasons for visiting: curiosity 47 %, study/professional interest 24%, a specific topic or speaker 17%;
o Opinion about science prior to the participation in the event: interesting/very interesting for 89 % respondents, important or very important for society for 84%, very easy or fairly easy to understand for 45% of respondents and difficult, nor easy to understand for 40% of them;.
o Opinion about scientists prior to the participation in the event: fun or rather fun according to 47% of the respondents, neither fun nor boring for another 47% of them, inspiring or very inspiring for 77% of respondents;
o The opinion about science and scientists have not changed significantly during or after the festival.
o General conclusions:
o Overall positive feedback about the event (activities, themes, contacts with researchers, venues, locations, scheduling, concrete organisation);
o Reaching of the main target group since a large part of the attndees were under 27, most of them pupils and students;
o Positive appreciation of the move of the event in 2015 from a research institute(Erasmus MC) into the public space of the city (Central Library, Market Square, Market Hall);
o Main part of the attendees still consistin"
Rotterdam Science Festival 2015 Young and old audience
Rotterdam Science Festival 2015 Healthy weight lecture
Rotterdam Science Festival 2015 Food workshop
Rotterdam Science festival 2015 Taste makers of the future market
Rotterdam Science Festival 2015 Science cafe
Rotterdam Science Festival 2015 Food innovation
Rotterdam Science Festival 2015 Debate