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European Researchers' Night Apulia 2020 - Discovering the fascinating world of research

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ERN-Apulia2 (European Researchers' Night Apulia 2020 - Discovering the fascinating world of research)

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-03-31

ERN-Apulia2 targets to continue bringing Apulian population closer to the research world and viceversa. Apulia is an Italian region with about 4.1 million inhabitants (approximately 7% of the whole Italian population), with 4 public universities having a total of about 2800 permanent researchers in addition to those from the Public and Private Research Institutions. The large capacity of contributors and beneficiaries was already demonstrated in the past EU-funded project for 2018 and 2019 Nights. ERN-Apulia2 further enlarged the network of partners in order to overpass its previous achievements. Main objectives are:
to implement preparatory events (during the year) and the 2020 ERN where researchers meet the society, with particular attention to students, industrial and professional organizations, municipalities and public administrations, already actively involved in the past editions;
to increase public awareness and recognition of the importance of researchers work and impact of research in daily life, with specific examples from technologies to health and life sciences, from elementary particle to astrophysics research, from robotics to the preservation of cultural heritage, humanities, social sciences, etc, with a special emphasis on sustainability for the 2020 edition;
to stimulate curiosity and interest by disseminating the latest achievements of worldwide and local research, animating a debate with the public on relevant aspects of more general interest;
to explain the fascinating researchers’ daily work, made of inspiration, creativity, relationships, hopes, expectations, enthusiasm for new achievements without neglecting daily difficulties;
to continue strengthening the connection among population/institutions and researchers to continue during the year beyond the ERN through apposite events, communication and contact channels;
to explain the spirit and opportunities of the European Research Area, the H2020 agenda, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions;
Preliminary events are organized during the months before the European Researchers’ Night (ERN) to increase interest and expectations over the whole regional territory. Then the European Researchers’ Night takes place in 2020 in parallel in the main regional cities (Bari, Lecce, Brindisi, Foggia, Taranto as well as Castellana Grotte).
People participating to the event meet researchers, attend seminars and participate to various activities on a wide range of topics, e.g. from Physics to Engineering, from Biology to Medicine, from Cultural Heritage to Humanities, from Economy to Law and many others, with a significant interdisciplinary approach.
A comprehensive awareness campaign was implemented, targeting the public at large regardless of age and scientific background but with special attention for students and children. Online communication was carried out by also realizing dedicated project webisite (http://www.ern-apulia.it/) mail (laricercaviendinotte@unisalento.it) and social network profiles (FB laricercaviendinotte, TW ern_apulia, IG laricercaviendinotte) with further use of mailing lists, promotional materials (presentations, brochures and videos). All communication and awareness efforts shared the common objective to arouse the curiosity, interest and participation/involvement of the general public on topics and ideas from science and research.

In general, we had a strong response and enthusiastic involvement of researchers from universities and research centers with 154 contributions/initiatives implemented during the Night and total number of 537 researchers and 30000 participants. On the ERN-Apulia web site it is possible to consult the general program of the events ERN 2020 and access description and videoclips.
Notably, we had a strong, active participation of students in particular on debates, round tables, scientific games and hand-on experiments. Initiatives of particular success were also: lab/museum visits, multisensorial experiences and theathral shows.

Despite pandemics restrictions for onsite participation, the Night events had a significant number of participants, with 25000 counts on the major social networks on the whole Apulia Region in addition to further participation in the associated events (estimated to be around 35000).
Within future events, we plan to further increase numbers of participants and preliminary events, taking into account feedback from previous events and taking advantage from the increased online presence.
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