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MEETmeTONIGHT

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MEET (MEETmeTONIGHT)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2019-12-31

MEETmeTONIGHT (MEET) – “Face to face with research” is the project for the 2018-2019 European Researchers’ Night in the two major Italian cities of Milano and Napoli, complemented by other satellite cities in Lombardia Region (Brescia, Castellanza, Cremona, Edolo, Lecco, Lodi, Mantova, Monza and Sondrio) and in Campania Region (Avellino, Portici and Procida). The beneficiaries of this action are Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca (as coordinator), Politecnico di Milano, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Università degli Studi di Milano and Comune di Milano. The goal is to realize a special occasion of meeting and interaction between the public at large and the world of research, where researchers – at the forefront of all the proposed activities – can show themselves and what they do, in a simple, spontaneous, informal and entertaining way, actively involving the public. People, by doing, find themselves learning, getting amused, and becoming aware of how much research is for everyone and all around us. All MEET activities aim at promoting research and its outcomes, researchers and their profession, with a special attention to the youngest generations on one side, and to the recognition of the role of Europe on the other. With five thematic areas (Science and Technology; Culture and Society; Environment; Health; Cultural Heritage) and five flagship topics (respectively Space Age; Our Food; Sustainable Water; Personalized Medicine; Leonardo Genius), MEET proposes interactive stands, hands-on experiments and live demos that reconstruct the research environment; conferences, video projections, interactive games; guided visits to scientific museums; meeting occasions with researchers; European Corners; live broadcast moments. In the evenings, entertainment activities, theatre performances and concerts conclude the program. A special attention is given to school students, for which a number of dedicated activities are foreseen, at the goal of encouraging them to consider research career as a concrete option for their life.
The activities performed in concern the realization of the 2018 and 2019 editions of the MEETmeTONIGHT event. For each edition, the first months have been dedicated to a communication campaign aimed at promoting the European Researchers’ Night and at inviting people to join the event. Through online and offline communication channels, as well as through the realization of ad hoc events (such as guided visits, conferences or entertaining events), the messages of the European Researchers’ Night have been spread throughout the citizenship. Moreover, dedicated activities have been implemented specifically for school students. Finally, a press conference has been organized in September in many of the involved cities.
The main MEETmeTONIGHT event, on 28 and 29 September 2018, gathered 60.000 participants, and involved more than 2.000 researchers, 50 of which benefitting from Marie Sklodowska Curie funding schemes. For the 2019 edition, we gathered 100.000 participants and more than 2.500 researchers, 78 of which benefitting from MSC funding.
Through activities such as interactive stands, informal talks, PlayDecide, guided visits, games and speed dates people met researchers, who shared their experiences and showed themselves as “ordinary people with an extraordinary job”. Other initiatives such as film projections and entertaining moments completed the event, to offer pleasant and enjoyable moments.
The last months of each reporting period have been devoted to the analysis of the questionnaires implemented to evaluate the impact of the event on the public, and to test their perceptions about research, its role in daily life and the role of researchers.
The MEET project realized two events revolving around the “meet the research” motto, and able to attract a large amount of people. It allowed the public to enter into the world where researchers live, not simply as spectators but as actors, playing in a fun and interactive mood. All MEET activities globally aimed at promoting research and its outcomes, researchers and their profession, with a special attention to the youngest generations on one side, and to the recognition of the role of Europe on the other. Research showed itself for what it is, but in a simple and ‘human’ way: people found themselves with an increased awareness about the importance of research and a more general acceptance of its funding. They perceived a better understanding of what research brings to society in terms of innovation, progress and technology, but also human value, knowledge and overall cultural development. They got the message that researchers’ work is not boring deskwork or reading or being trapped in a lab, but researchers are active, exciting, totally accessible persons, shaping our future world; their figures and their profession can be of inspiration for young people, they represent an example of a real career choice that everybody can undertake. Finally yet importantly, people became aware that the European Union is a sort of silent, but prominent gluing agent in all this.