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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 the European corner notably), complying with the general guidelines available at

Overview of the results

o Conception, realisation of promotional material: posters of various formats displayed in Erasmus MC, Erasmus University, Central Library and Markthal Rotterdam, roll ups, programme leaflets, invitations;
o Public advertising: billboards in Rotterdam and region and display of boomerang video on advertising screens in Rotterdam and region during one month prior to the event;
o Airing of announcements and interviews on regional radio and television stations (RTV Rijnmond;
o Sending of 400 personal invitations for the opening of the Rotterdam Science Festival;
o Promotion during other public events: display of fliers during Open Air cinema, Rotterdam WorldHarbourDays, September in Rotterdam (cultural street festival);
o Publciation of two press releases;
o Setting up of numerous personal contacts with journalists;
o Setting up, constant updating and maintenance of project website, namely information about the Researchers'Night, Festivalinfo, Programme, Researchers, Registration, Partners;
o Setting up, constant updating and maintenance of social network profiles (Facebook, Twitter;
o 1.350 likes on Facebook, 440 followers on Twitter;
o 35.000 unique visitors on project website prior to the event;
o Publication of 17 articles on national and regional online media: e.g.: Algemeen Dagblad, De Telegraaf, De Buik van Rotterdam, RTV Rijnmond, Foodlog, Gemeentewijzer;
o Announcements and advertising on on-line media, websites and social media of festival, partners and special interest groups related to theme, promotion on other events; promotion in public space;
o At least 750.000 people made aware of the event and its objectives;


Tasks undertaken

List of locations and venues involved

o Rotterdam Central Library;
o Markthal (food and shopping center);
o Market place (Binnenrotte);
o Several café’s and restaurants.

Main types of activities planned

Science café’s, interactive lectures, discussions, tasting events, workshops, health check.

Detailed programme of activities

o Common theme: The Science behind Food;
o All the venues being at walking distance from one another, each entering visitor receives a floor plan, map and timetable allowing him/her to select activities.

Opening of Rotterdam Science Festival 2015
by Prof.dr. Huibert Pols, Rector of Erasmus University Rotterdam and by tasting of insect cocktail by attendees.

The hidden reality of food production
Discussion moderated by Christina Schiavoni, food activist and researcher (International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University) with participants: Mindi Schneider, Karin Astrid Siegmann, Giulio Locco, Mohammed Dahmani, Wim Baltussen, Rob Bleijerveld and the public.

Taste Makers of the Future Food Market
Market of innovative and creative food presentations by Youth Food Movement, e.g. weed burgers and insect pancakes.

Health check
Instant cholesterol test offered by Unilever

Key factors of health aging
Interactive lecture by Dr. Francesco Mattace Raso (Erasmus MC)

Why am I gaining weight, while my friend doesn’t?
Interactive lecture by Dr. Erica van den Akker (Erasmus MC and Centre for Healthy Weight)

Consumers are like rats, or are they?
Interactive lecture by Dr. Bram van den Bergh (Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management)

Fat facts about fats
Interactive lecture by Dr. Kathelijn van Elk (Unilever)

How to become 100?
Interactive lecture by William Cortvriendt, author and researcher

Faster pregnant and a health child
Interactive lecture by Dr. Regine Steegers (Erasmus MC – Sophia Children’s Hospital)

What Unilever does for our health
Interactive lecture by Dr. Willeke Goossens (Unilever)

Does a iodine deficit of the mother lead to a lower IQ of the child?
Interactive lecture by Dr. Tim Korevaar (Erasmus MC)

Eating vegetables lift to higher level
Interactive lecture by Pascal van Delst (Phood Consultancy / QFood)

Food waste, what is your food print?
Interactive lecture by Dr. Corné van Dooren (Voedingscentrum)

How do I influence the taste and health of my child?
Interactive lecture by Dr. Koen Joosten (Erasmus MC – Sophia’Children’s Hospital)

The secrets behind food allergy
Interactive lecture by Dr. Huub Savelkoul (Wageningen University)

No waste cooking: make your own specialty
Workshop by Carin Leenders (World of Taste - Markthal)

Back to basic: food with taste for young children
Workshop by Gees van Asperen (Baby cooking)

Food allergy? How to make cheesecake without cheese
Workshop by Marloes Collins (AllergySupermarket)

Misleading sustainability certificates?
Science café by Dr. Frank Wijen (Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management)

The impact of food on our genes
Science café by Kim Braun, PhD student (Easmus MC)

A unique view in the brain of a food addict
Science café by Ingmar Franken (Erasmus University – Faculty of Social Sciences))

Sense and nonsense of vitamins and minerals
Science café by Francesco Mattace Raso (Erasmus MC)

Effects of stress on brain development
Science café by Dr. Eva Naninck (University of Amsterdam / Nutricia)

Healthy lifestyle = healthy menopause: fact or fable?
Science café by Loes Jaspers, PhD student (Erasmus MC)

Malnutrition, a challenge of the future?
Science café by Dr. Jessica Kiefte (Erasmus MC / Leiden University)

Unhealthy diet: (not) a matter of taste?
Science café by Jeroen van der Waal (Erasmus University – Faculty of Social Sciences)

Meet & Greet with researchers
A chance to meet the researchers of the programme

After science programme
Music, dance, acts and deejays

European corner

Number: One

Location: Main hall of Rotterdam Central Library,main venue and most frequented place;

Activities planned:
o Display of informative and promotional material;
o Presence of permanent personnel likely answering all audience’s questions about EU policies and programmes;
o Testimonials by researchers and MC fellows about the benefit of EU support, their research, their experience and research mobility;
o Demonstrations/presentations about several EU-funded research projects, including CommHERE, CommNet and HelloBrain;
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"";
o An image provided by the European Commission;
Overview of the results
o Offer of activities as described in the Annex I part B to the grant Agreement, namely:
o 12 Interactive lectures;
o 1 Discussion;
o 3 Workshops;
o 1 Innovation market;
o 1 Instant health check;
o 8 Science café’s;
o 1 European corner
o Active involvement of 28 researchers of whom:
o None having benefitted from SMCA schemes;
o 7 having benefitted from EU support;`
o 4.750 visitors having taken part in the activities offered, distributed as follows:
o 950 having participated in lectures, events, science cafés, workshops, discussions, the health check;
o Further 2.800 having visited the festival area: market square, main hall of Central Library and EU corner.


Tasks undertaken

Description of the current situation

o EUROBAROMETER science and technology 2010 and 2013;
o 3 last editions of InterSECtion impact studies of ERN 2012, 2013 and 2014 (evaluation consultancy of the Dept. of Science Education and Communication of Delft University of Technology);
o Surveys conducted prior to the event by Science Affairs, in the form of entrance surveys. (Independent science communication consultancy having conducted the impact assessment of ERN 2015, based on the study design formerly used by InterSECtion).


o Ex-ante questionnaires: Face-to-face entrance interviews: 10 questions about: gender, age, education level, times festival visited, motivation, occupation related to science and technology, frequency of visit to science events, prior attitude towards science, prior attitude towards scientists.
o Face to face experience interviews during the event: 5 questions about: impact on feeling, thoughts about the festival, attitude towards science and scientists, impact on acting;
o In–depth interviews during the event: 12 interviews.
Indicators and parameters to be applied
o Qualitative: public perception of researchers and their work: associations with the word “researcher”, characteristics of actual and desired researchers, interest expressed in science and research, enthusiasm for research careers, typology of attendees, will to attend similar future events;
o Quantitative: number of hits on website, unique visitors, page views, pages per visit, average visit duration, geographical distribution, number of friends/followers on social networks, attendees, completed blogs and visits, number of press articles, number of promotional items displayed, media coverage;
Selection of the survey sample
o Method: random, questionnaire proposed to selection of entering visitors;
o Absolute figures: a total of 238 respondents: 143 entrance interviews; 95 experience interviews, including in-depth interviews."
"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 consisting of people lready ""science beleivers"": frutehr efforts to be undertaken with a view to reaching ""science reluctant "" or indifferent audience;
o Extreme importance of the theme choice as being the main attractiveness factor towards the potential audience;
o Most successful activities: science café’s, Taste Makers of the Future Food Market and health check ; (based on participation)
o Less successful activities: after science programme with music, acts and deejays;
o Contribution to a stronger presence of scientific research in Rotterdam.

Conclusions of the action

o The action has reached the objectives pursued and the key messages have been communicated to the target audiences;
o Visitors, from the target audiences, have met with researchers and found out that researchers are people like themselves, with exciting jobs which contribute to the quality of daily life;
o They have also been made aware of the European perspective of research as well as of career opportunities of research;
o Apart from 6.250 visitors having participated physically in the program, a very large and broad audience has been reached with the key messages by the media campaign, e.g. for the 2015 edition the regional television station RTV Rijnmond has broadcasted 3 mini-documentaries of 7 minutes each in which researchers have been explaining their work and its relevance for society;
o Efforts nevertheless remain to be undertaken despite these satisfactory results, notably with a view to involving in the activities people who would normally not take part in a science-related event. Data about attendees indeed show that most of them were already interested in science and that although enjoying the night and having acquired further knowledge thanks to it, the event didn't really modify their already positive opinion about researchers and science;
o Improvements and /or modification with a view to future similar events:
o Continuation of the trend to organise activities in public spaces rather than within the walls of the participating research institutes;
o Selection of themes which adapt to everyday life: indeed experience in 2014 and 2015 shows that the type of activities should be a mix of informative and hands-on activities, both classical lectures and science café’s as interactive workshops and demo’s;
o Entertainment to be kept closely related to the scientific content, in order not to simplify the message to an extent that it would become irresponsible;
o In this respect selection of media instrumental to the key messages;
o Active involvement of researchers from all disciplines and institutes (as has been the case in the last two years, both on voluntary and sollicitated basis);
o Strong partnership to be continued with local and regional science, cultural, societal and administrative organisations;
o Earlier definition of both them and program for a timely launch of the awareness campaign;

Socio-economic impact of the action

Clearly the European Researchers' Night in Rotterdam does not have as such a socio-economic impact which is measurable.
Since local ERN’s have been organized, since 2010, there have however been an increasing awareness of the presence of European research, and research in general, in the region, positioning research institutes as natural societal partners and researchers as a professional group.
The collaboration between societal partners has been stimulated and researchers have become more present in the regional cultural field, while the public has learned to appreciate the contribution of research to society.
This has smoothened the contact and collaboration between research and society and industry, for example since the last edition food researchers, formerly mostly concerned with purely clinical questions, are working together with food producers and retailers in the region in healthcare and prevention.
The regional science institutes have furthermore become appreciated partners in societal, cultural and administrative networks."