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Researcher's Night 2016-2017 in Estonia

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - RNEst16-17 (Researcher's Night 2016-2017 in Estonia)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-11-30

The 2017 European Researchers’ Night in Estonia was a series of several science-related events. Over 900 fun and engaging events took place both in Tartu and all over Estonia. More than 300 scientists were involved on the events and around 100 different educational, medical, business, research and other institutions provided their special programs and contributed to the RN in Estonia which had around 50 000 participants.

The main aim of the Estonian Researchers’ Night 2017 was to highlight the most recent and important accomplishments of Estonian researchers and scientists and to encourage young people to choose careers in research, engineering and STEM-related areas. The objective was to introduce youngsters these professions through numerous entertaining hands-on activities.

The Estonian edition of the European Researchers’ Night 2017 focus was on research ethics. How far can we go with human subject research? What are the ethical limitations of artificial intelligence? Those were a few of the topics of the events. The activities offered to the public at large in all its components, with a focus on kids and young people included a lot of hands-on experiments, science shows, demos, guided tours, stargazing, competitions, quizzes, games, visits to labs, simulations, open-air events, lectures.

The importance of the events lies in bringing the researchers closer to the public at large and raise the awareness of the contribution of researchers to our everyday lives and the “human face” of research will become more apparent.

The events highlighted the local researchers behind the discoveries, methodologies and devices that have changed and are still changing the face of science and technology in Estonia and Europe raised public awareness of the necessity of the work local researchers do.

All the events were engaging both the public and researchers, enabling them to present their work in the most appropriate way, resulting in the public asking the most relevant questions on the issues covered and thus empowering the researchers to offer the public the answers they are looking for.

Overall objectives of the Researchers Night in Estonia were:
- to offer various public events and innovative activities, combining links with researchers and science demonstrations;
- to encourage young people to choose scientific careers in order to enable them to develop new skills and find fulfilling jobs;
- to enhance public recognition of researchers through the setting up of a direct contact between them and the public at large in both formal and informal settings;
- to stress the pan-European nature of the Researchers’ Night initiative by organizing joint events with other RNEst16-17 organizers from different parts of Europe;
- to point out the essence of being a European citizen with the help of European corners run by specialists able to distribute the latest and the most relevant information about science-related opportunities offered by the European Union.

The project has reached its objectives and proved to be successful.
Overview of the results of the awareness campaign (WP 1)

o 7000 programmes of the event were distributed in all of the locations RN events were happening (3 weeks prior to the events);
o Main information about the programme, the news and the pre-events can be found at the revamped website which had about 23 000 hits and 17 200 unique visitors in September;
o 2000 B2 posters and 600 A3 posters were posters displayed in public spaces and at participating institutions (museums, schools);
o Marie Curie roll ups displayed in EU corners in Tartu and Haapsalu, which had more than 8000 visitors;
o Events and posts on Facebook and Instagram. Engagement on Facebook was about 50 000 and reach 218 377;
o Promotional video that aired in 7 different channels that have an estimated 600 000 viewers.
o The three main screens that are in the city centre of Tartu and displayed RN promotional video have 500 000 viewers per day.
o The four of the biggest shopping centres that displayed RN poster have around 80 000 visitors per day;
o 105 Radio and 78 TV advertisements and announcements one week prior to the events;
o About one million people was made aware of the Researchers' Night and its objectives;
o Media monitoring shows that the media coverage of RN events in Estonia in September was almost 500 different mentions, announcements, articles, advertisements etc. From which 11 in television, 39 in radio programmes, 57 local newspapers, 16 national newspapers.
o The most notable media coverage (press releases, news, radio interviews, mentions etc.) can be found here:

Overview of the results of the activities during the Night (WP 2):

o Hands-on experiments;
o Stand-up competition;
o Science shows and demonstrations;
o Guided tours and lab visits;
o Games, quizzes, competitions;
o Stargazing;
o Dating with scientists;
o Science cafés and open air lectures;
o Movie screenings;
o Science café’s

Expecting about 30 000 attendees, but final number (taking into account of all of the institutions statistical feedback) was 50 100 participants in total.

After the events, several reflection articles were written by the press online and offline

o The most successful events:

The newest format of event this year was robotics and engineering competition which was held first time in Estonia. Similar to worldwide competitions of BattleBots and RobotWars the main idea was to inspire (young) people to build a robot and compete in a battle. We expected around 300 visitors (including the 13 teams), but the number of visitors at the event was over 900.

The most successful event outside of Tartu was a science fair organised by Innovation Centre INNOKAS at Haapsalu Culture Centre. There were more than 3 400 people visiting it and participating in the activities.
Overview of the results of the impact assessment (WP 3):

o Display, collection and processing of 697 feedbacks (questionnaires;
o Main conclusions:
o Typology of visitors: 67% female and 33% male, Average age: 22 years, youngest respondent aged 7 and oldest 77 years old, most from the city of Tartu and the county of Tartu and from the city of Tallinn and the county of Harju, 37 % newcomers;
o Knowledge about the event: Feedback: school/work (39% total , 72 % students/kids and 18 % adults, likely teachers, professors, college students or parents), followed by friends/family (19%, 11% for students/kids), social media (18%), Science Centre AHHAA’s website/ the website of “The European Researchers’ Night” (15%, 12 % for students and kids) and then media (4%, 29 % for students/kids, 5 % adults, social media representing 47 %), 5% elsewhere;
o Overall positive feedback regarding the event itself (activities, interest, contacts with researchers, explanations about science, organisation, schedule, locations..);
o Increased public recognition of the positive societal impact for the researchers' work;
o Increased interest for science amongst young people;
o Increased interest for science careers expressed by young people;