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NHM Researchers Night

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NHM Night 7 (NHM Researchers Night)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-02-29

"The common main objective of ERN consists of ""bringing researchers to the general public and increasing awareness of research and innovation activities, with a view to supporting the public recognition of researchers, creating an understanding of the impact of researchers' work on citizens’ daily lives, encouraging young people to embark on research careers.""

Specific objectives of NHM and partner museums align with ERN objectives:
- Increase awareness of the importance of research and innovation to society and our lives now and in the future through awareness campaign and activities
Directly engage public audiences with researchers, specifically targeting those aged 18 – 35
- Inspire school students to aspire to a career in science through engagement with researchers demonstrating the variety of exciting careers in science, specifically targeting aged 11 – 18 year olds with low science capital
through awareness events
- Challenge the perceived stereotype of scientists and the relevance of their work
- Demonstrate the value of the EU and EU funding structures for collaborative research projects - bringing benefit to society and our lives now and in the future
- Demonstrate science is an integral part of our culture and heritage, particularly the role that museum collections play in contemporary scientific research"
European Researchers’ Night 2019 (ERN 2019) was themed World Wild Webs and, playing on the celebration of the 50th birthday of the Internet, it explored the interconnectivity of our Planet and how research can help us understand it.
It took place at 6 locations including the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, and our partner museums Manchester Museum, Great North Museum: Hancock (Newcastle), Potteries Museum (Stoke-on-Trent), Wollaton Hall (Nottingham) and Peterborough Museum. The theme was delivered across a variety of platforms and formats that encouraged dialogue and discussion between researchers and the public.
In the South Kensington location, the engagement was the following:
• 227 researchers and experts participated on the night, delivering science stations, science bars and cafes, interactive talks and interviews, storytelling shows, tours and hands on activities.
• We welcomed 3100 visitors on the night, and 85 students took part in activities on the run up to the main event, in collaboration with Imperial College researchers.
• 29 institutions and organisations collaborated in the event, with representation of their researchers (including Imperial College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Earlham Institute and the Eden Project) or providing extra activities on the evening (Vetenskap & Allmänhet and FameLab).
Across all our locations and in the running up to the event, we welcomed 5000 participants and more than 30,000 conversations took place across all activities.

Theme
World Wild Webs, Our Interconnected Planet
It’s been 50 years since the Internet revolutionised human connections, but it is not the only world wide web on our planet. We are part of a much bigger network, and scientists around the globe are working together to deepen our understanding of the interconnected nature of our planet and our place in it.
Key message: The collaborative work of scientists around the world is helping us to understand the interconnected nature of our planet and to conserve the web of natural connections that we depend on to survive

Science Stations (by zones)
Nature Live shows
EU Pub
Dialogue Den

Partner museums
Manchester Museum
Research stations
Great North Museum: Hancock (Newcastle)
Potteries Museum (Stoke-on-Trent)
Wollaton Hall (Nottingham)
Peterborough Museum
In the South Kensington location, the engagement was the following:
• 227 researchers and experts participated on the night, delivering science stations, science bars and cafes, interactive talks and interviews, storytelling shows, tours and hands on activities.
• 29 institutions and organisations collaborated in the event, with representation of their researchers (including Imperial College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Earlham Institute and the Eden Project) or providing extra activities on the evening (Vetenskap & Allmänhet and FameLab).
• More than 30,000 interactions with researchers.
• 3100 visitors were welcomed on the night, and 85 students took part in activities on the run up to the main event, in collaboration with Imperial College researchers.


Partner museums:
• 300 visitors attended the event at Manchester Museum.
• 185 visitors attended the event at Great North Museum: Hancock.
• 1093 visitors attended the event at Potteries Museum.
• 98 visitors attended the event at Wollaton Hall.
• 144 visitors attended the event at Peterborough Museum.

The event was well received across all sites. 98% of visitors surveyed across all the sites felt that their experience of ERN was excellent (70%) of good (29%).

From feedback gathered at the Natural History Museum South Kensington, visitors praised the overall event and expressed their wishes for more events like it. Visitors also praised specific scientists and the Learning Engagement Volunteers.

Overall across both events:
Main conclusions:
o Overall positive feedback about the event (interest, activities, contacts with researchers, schedule, venues, concrete organisation)
o Increased awareness of the key role of researchers and the benefits research brings to society
o Increased interest for science
o Gain of science knowledge;
o Social importance of the events (meeting friends and family, enjoying a drink…to be used for future marketing of events;
o Main outcomes delivered: Meeting and talking with enthusiastic and passionate scientists, and unusual access to authentic specimens from our collections
o Most impactful activities: tours and talks, science stations, story telling

Lessons learned:
Having a theme that covers most of the scientific fields that NHM research groups focus on really boosted scientists’ participation. The theme is not relevant for the public, who attend the event as a special time to visit the Museum. Some partner museums found it difficult to recruit scientists to participate on the night, and NHM scientists were reticent to travel on the evening of the event. There was a very positive level of collaboration with external organisations, including London universities.