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European Researchers' Night in Sweden 2020: ForskarFredag (Researchers' Friday) 2020.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FF2020 (European Researchers' Night in Sweden 2020: ForskarFredag (Researchers' Friday) 2020.)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-04-30

European Researchers’ Night in Sweden, ForskarFredag (Researchers’ Friday), is a national event and Sweden’s most widely dispersed science festival. In 2020, ForskarFredag (FF2020) was held online with activities organised by local organisers associated with 27 cities and towns across Sweden. The programme offered over 120 online activities, where school pupils, families and other members of the general public were invited to meet researchers and learn about a diverse range of exciting research. By reaching out across the whole of Sweden, people have an opportunity to discover local and regional research in a national and international context.

The non-profit association VA (Public & Science) has coordinated FF annually since 2006, and FF2020 has built on the success of previous years, drawing on experience, contacts and the ever-increasing national profile.

The activities were planned and executed by 27 local organisers together with local collaboration organisations, brought together under the national umbrella by VA. Local organisers are universities, science centres, municipalities, museums and research centres.
The local organisers share experiences and learnings in a national contact network. VA is responsible for the quality, framework, national identity and national awareness campaign.

ForskarFredag increases public awareness of research conducted at universities, research centres, institutes and companies all over Sweden. It showcases how research affects our society today and inspires people to imagine what impact research and innovation could have in the future. Meetings with researchers generate dialogue, which create a better understanding of how researchers work, as well as better understanding of research methods, challenging common misconceptions about research and stereotypes about researchers. European Researchers’ Night provides a high-profile vehicle for increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of research.

Young people aged 12–19 are a key target audience for ForkarFredag, with a special emphasis on teenagers about to make a study choice. In the evaluation of FF2020, 75% of the teachers stated that the class had not met/ been visited by a researcher in any other context than ForskarFredag. Thus European Researchers’ Night plays a crucial role in introducing young people in Sweden to higher education and to research as a career opportunity.


ForskarFredag's motto is: "Researchers are ordinary people with extraordinary jobs!"

The main objectives of ForskarFredag 2020 in Sweden:

1. To create meetings between researchers and the general public across the whole country. The activities generate direct exchange and dialogue through interactive and entertaining activities.
2. To offer something for everyone, regardless of age, education level or scientific background, with a special focus on children and young people.
3. To showcase a wide range of research in different fields: from STEM to social science, art and the humanities, and demonstrate the impact of research and innovations on society and the visitors’ daily lives.
4. To increase awareness of local research and innovation activities, as well as showing the international aspect of research.
5. To create an understanding of researchers’ daily work and scientific methods.
6. To tackle existing stereotypical images of researchers by engaging researchers with a diversity of age, gender, ethnicity etc.
7. To encourage young people to aim for higher studies and scientific careers.
The ForskarFredag programme offered over 120 online activities during the week (mainly Friday and Saturday), where school pupils, families and members of the public were invited to meet researchers. The activities engaged over 21,800 participants of all ages and involved 268 researchers and PhD students. Activities included stage shows (live shows involving experiments, plus regional heats of the Researchers’ Grand Prix that challenges researchers to present their research in four minutes); webinars and panel discussions (on different topics with questions from the audience); live broadcasted experiments (hands-on activities participants could undertake at home or in the classroom); borrow a researcher (virtually in the classroom involving dialogues with researchers); guided tours (broadcast tours of research facilities); and games, quizzes and competitions.

This year’s theme ‘Research for a sustainable future’ focused on climate change, sustainability and the environment, around which a wide range of activities were based. One event was a high-profile panel discussion broadcasted live on the topic of climate, climate change research and space technology, which involved researchers from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute and Stockholm University.

The 2020 citizen science project, the Food Waste Experiment invited school pupils to test a new way to reduce food waste in Swedish schools, whereby they learnt how their food choices and food waste affect the climate and took photos of the plates before and after lunch, which they uploaded to an app. The mass experiment was run as part of the Awareness campaign in the run up to and during ForskarFredag.

National as well as local awareness campaigns were executed, with the event being promoted through websites, social media channels and through the media. All events were available on the FF website, where visitors could search for activities they were interested in.

An international collaboration with other ERN projects across Europe involved a number of shared awareness raising activities, such as researcher videos distributed via social media, in order to further highlight the European dimension of ERN.

The impact of the events was assessed using three different questionnaires targeting general participants; participating researchers; and teachers participating in ForskarFredag activities with their classes. The questionnaires capture both quantitative and qualitative data.
ForskarFredag offers activities across the whole of Sweden. Evaluation of FF2020 showed that activities were attended by people in 54% of the municipalities in Sweden and over 21,800 people in total.
The national logo of ForskarFredag used by all organisers