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Science in Motion for Friday Night Commotion 2020

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SCIMFONICOM 2020 (Science in Motion for Friday Night Commotion 2020)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-01-31

The main goal of SCIMFONICOM 2020 project was the improvement of the public's perception of researchers and its understanding of the impact of science on our everyday lives. The goals were to be achieved through direct interaction of the general public with researchers on Friday/Saturday afternoon/evening.
Specific objectives of the project were:
- popularisation of science and research among the general public, with special attention devoted to school children and academically underprivileged populations;
- popularisation of careers in science among young people;
- raising public awareness of the importance of research in general and its impact on everyday life, with particular emphasis on the current research activities in Serbia (and involvement of Serbian researchers in EU-funded projects);
- promotion of scholarships, internships, training and summer schools in science offered by EU countries, pointing out possibilities of international education/career in science;
- raising public awareness on the need for renewable and sustainable energy sources
- increasing public understanding of the pan-European character of Researchers' Night and its objectives.
SCIMFONICOM 2020 project activities organized prior to the NIGHT itself included an exhibition (Meet the Electrochemistry in presence and online), an online quiz (dedicated to the International Microorganism Day), science festivals (in presence and online). Scientists took ScienceVans with short lectures and workshops on renewable energy sources to two rural schools. Finally, workshops in local primary schools about renewable energy sources as well as lectures and discussions in local secondary schools about science were organized in November.
This year's event was online only due to the pandemic restrictions, thus enabling the population of the whole of Serbia as well as the region (Serbian speaking/understanding population in the neighboring countries) to follow the event.
More than 200 researchers have taken part in the realization of the activities. There were 10 different activities organized during the event including hands-on experiments, workshops, lectures, quizzes, and competitions. The most successful activities were the Treasure hunt, Grand Science Adventure, and Science Up, with approximately 250 children involved in the Treasure hunt. The significant participation of primary and secondary pupils in the Science Up video competition was observed in cities where the Researchers' Night was organized for the first time, namely Priboj and Nova Varos as well as in Grand Science Adventure in Paracin. EU corners were realized online through the presentations of a number of projects (involving Serbian researchers) funded by the EU as well as quizzes about the EU. It is estimated that this year's event had approximately 52.000 attendees in total.
The successful realization of the SCIMFONICOM 2020 project resulted in the increase of awareness of the importance of research. The visitors of the Researchers Night are aware of the importance of research and innovation and they tend to convey this message beyond the Night. The awareness campaign and promotional events help us as researchers to talk about our research and its impact on society and to reach the wide public that may not have been in contact with the scientists so much. The organization of events like the Night has a positive impact on the awareness of the importance of research. More events throughout the year, that are widely publicized, would significantly contribute to achieving the goal of increased public awareness. The continuous presence in media and more scientific programs on national TV stations would also contribute to the understanding of research and innovation importance in Serbia.
Furthermore, the SCIMFONICOM 2020 project led to increasing awareness of the impact of research on society and the benefits it brings. ERN gives visitors an opportunity to observe how scientists’ work benefits their everyday lives and society in general.
A more favorable general attitude towards research funding has been observed upon realization of the project. The ERN visitors are pleasantly surprised for what kind of research their money and EU money is used for. Visitors generally express their dissatisfaction with how low the funds for science in Serbia are. They generally also express a positive attitude towards the EU-funded research.
SCIMOFNICOM 2020 project “breaks” the stereotypes about researchers. As the prejudice of scientists as strange people still exists, the NIGHT gives us a perfect opportunity to show that scientists are just ordinary people with an extraordinary job. We witness this message getting through to do public and not all of them expect to meet strange persons talking about boring topics when they have a chance to meet the scientists.
An increase in people perusing a career in science has been observed over the years that we have organized the event, so that there are persons who became aware of science as a carrier path at the Night, and are now scientists themselves.
Finally, it should be mentioned that we were the most warmly welcomed in small towns where there is a great eagerness to learn and gain knowledge. ERN gives us the opportunity to reach the children and adults that may not have been aware of the significance and beauty of science and this is one thing that we plan to stress out even more in future events.
Power Up the World
Promo material samples
National Press Conference
Open Lab
Power of Life