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MEETmeTONIGHT

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MEET (MEETmeTONIGHT)

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-02-28

MEETmeTONIGHT (MEET) – “Face to face with research” is the project for the 2020 European Researchers’ Night in the major Italian cities of Milano, Napoli, Padova and Caserta, complemented by other satellite cities in Lombardia, Campania, Veneto and Lazio Regions. The beneficiaries of this action are Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca (as coordinator), Politecnico di Milano, Università degli Studi di Milano, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Comune di Milano, Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli and Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica. Moreover, three third parties are involved: Università degli Studi di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale, Fondazione Città della Scienza and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche.
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 (Humanities; Health; Sustainability; Technology; Smart Cities) and five slogans (respectively Be cultural; Be active; Be responsible; Be connected; Be urban), MEET proposes interactive laboratories, hands-on experiments and live demos that reconstruct the research environment; conferences; 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.
Due to the health restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, MEETmeTONIGHT has been completely converted into an online event, whose activities have been streamed on the official online communication channels of the project (website, Facebook page, YouTube account).
The activities performed concern the realization of the 2020 edition of the MEETmeTONIGHT event. 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, while working on the online conversion of the foreseen activities. Through online communication channels, as well as through the participation in already organized webinars and online conferences, the messages of the European Researchers’ Night have been spread throughout the citizenship. Moreover, dedicated activities have been implemented specifically for school students. Finally, joint and local online press conferences have been organized in November.
The main MEETmeTONIGHT event, on 27 and 28 September 2020, gathered 40.000 participants, and involved 665 researchers, 24 of which benefitting from Marie Sklodowska Curie funding schemes and 43 benefitting from other EU support.
Through activities such as online interactive laboratories, informal talks, PlayDecide and virtual guided visits to scientific museums people met researchers, who shared their experiences and showed themselves as “ordinary people with an extraordinary job”. Other initiatives such as concerts and entertaining moments completed the event, to offer pleasant and enjoyable moments.
The last months of the 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 an event 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.
Logo of the MEETmeTONIGHT project