Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


BGCN Report Summary

Project ID: 633328
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.5.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BGCN (Bristol Bright Night)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2015-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"The 2015 Bristol Researchers' Night action brought the Researchers’ Night programme to the South West of England for the second time. Bristol is a cosmopolitan and ambitious city, and is particularly well-known for its Aerospace, Computing & Engineering industries (being home to Rolls Royce and British Aerospace) as well as Media, Art & Creative Industries, with artists such as Banksy, Aardman Animations and others.

The project brought together the two Universities based in Bristol, with the Bristol Natural History Consortium (which is a collaboration of research, media, policy and conservation bodies) and had the support of the City Council and the At-Bristol Science Centre. The main purpose consisted of enhancing public recognition of researchers and their work reaching out to the public at large in an inclusive and all-encompassing manner.

Creative opportunities were offered to engage with researchers and their work; one main target consisted of those who were not especially interested in science by bringing researchers and their work to public spaces in an entertaining and spectacular manner. Researchers and their work were brought to some parts of the city, through travelling street theatre, where there are fewer opportunities for communities to gain even a first impression of researchers and what they do.

Bristol’s programme for 2015 Researchers’ Night involved a wide cross-section of researchers across the city’s two universities centred on the theme ""Bristol Bright Night"" highlighting the innovative research undertaken by Bristol-based researchers addressing local and global societal challenges. The city’s waterfront was transformed into an ""Innovation Laboratory"" giving everyone equal access to ground-breaking research, in particular young and family audiences, taking advantage of the several nationally-renowned public venues within a short walk of each other in its historical centre such as At-Bristol (science centre) and the Watershed (cultural centre), which hosted the main activities of the 2015 event.

From afternoon to midnight citizens were engaged with the latest research that is taking place in Bristol. From discovering how alcohol effects perceptions of attractiveness to getting children to talk about the latest innovations in science and technology and from pop-up science theatre in the streets of Bristol to cooking and eating with researchers while discussing their work, Bristolians (and visitors) could see a city that bursts with research."

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far


Target audiences
o Public at large regardless of age and scientific background;
o Young people from all areas of the city in order to promote interest in scientific careers;

Messages conveyed
o Researchers are amongst us;
o Research is exciting;
o Research impacts on everyday life;
o Research addresses society’s grand challenges;
o Researchers are ordinary people with an extraordinary job;
o Research is a rewarding career;

Main communication tools to rely on:
Off line -
o Media partnership with local newspapers (based on an existing strong relationship);Airing of announcements, interviews, advertisements, programmes on radio stations; Interview and report on television news stations;
o Contacts with academic trade press for running promotional articles, as well as professional institutions/journals;
o Active support by Bristol’s Mayor;
On line -
o Setting up of a webpage, constant updating and maintenance;
o Setting up, updating and animation of dedicated social networks profiles (Facebook, Twitter);
o Setting up of Twitter questions and answers sessions (on line discussions with researchers);
o Promoted posts and tweets on Facebook and Twitter
o Display of online press releases;
o Launch of a dedicated social media campaign;
o Display of existing videos of research in action through undergraduate, postgraduate and career researchers;
o Display of 2014 Bristol Bright Night promotional video;
o Weekly newsletters ( mailing list of over 600 recipients);
o Online banners on popular local events websites and email signatures

Promotional material
o Written promotional material such as leaflets, posters, banners and postcards
o Banners on websites and social networks, ads on Facebook;
o Mention of ""This European Researchers' Night project is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions"" on all promotional material displayed;

Overview of the results
o Conception, realisation of promotional material: posters of various formats, banners, leaflets, promotional videos, invitations
o Public advertising: display of presentations( sets of slides) on Bristol’s Big Screen in Millennium Square (week prior to the event), bunting all over the city, tagging (#BristolBrightNight) on pavements around City Centre
o Airing of radio and TV interviews ( BCFM and Ujima Radios, Bristol- based regional television channel ""Made in Bristol"");
o Publication of press releases (August and September);
o Publication of articles , announcements in written press (newspapers and magazines);
o Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of project website namely detailed info on event, news, School's day information, , videos and pictures…, linked with several institutional and popular websites
o 11.233 hits and 8.368 unique visitors on project website during the 4 weeks preceding the event, representing an increase by over 25 % as from 2014);
o Publication of on-line weekly news articles (Bristol Bright night news page, social media);
o Revamping, updating and maintenance of social media profiles( Facebook, Twitter);
o 1.185 visitors mentioned as ""going"" to the events (event page);
o 282 followers on Twitter (increase by 161,58 % compared to 2014);
o Direct invitations addressing groups and organisations including youth groups, scout groups, food groups, scientific organisations, local schools, health groups, University societies…;
o Promotion during other public events (Association for Science and Discovery Centres National Conference)
o About 650.000 people made aware of the Researchers' Night and its objectives.


List of locations and venues involved
Bristol: Science centre At-Bristol, Watershed, Bristol 2015 Lab Space and the streets of the city.

Main types of activities planned
Competitions, hands-on activities, experiments, demos, simulations, Bloodhound Supersonic car, booths (market place), workshops, interactive disc"

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

I. Conclusions of the action

o The action reached the objectives pursued. The event was a huge success and high levels of in-depth engagement were observed by the evaluator, as well as reported by the majority of visitors;

Further efforts to be undertaken:
o Better and bigger signage within the venue would improve visitors’ experience;
o Improvement of overall descriptions of the activities, allowing a clearer understanding of the variety of activities and unique attractions.

Improvements/modifications would you consider with a view of a future similar event?
o Venue and location
 Keeping At-Bristol as a great venue likely attracting a large audience;
 Possible identification of other large venues to overcome capacity limits of having only one large venue, based on the experience of Bright Night pop-up theatre in one of the city’s theatres (the Hippodrome), which showed us the potential to expand in this direction.

o Theme should remain unchanged;

o Activities:
 Overall positive feedback on the range of activities offered;
 Nevertheless clear wish of some attendees to get more interactive activities;
 Remaining popularity of more traditional engagement activities (such as lectures and talks) within some audiences;

o Balance between science-linked and entertainment activities: improved balance in 2015 between traditional forms of science communication, such as lectures, and more experimental ones, such as the ‘Flavour and the Mind’ show;

o Involvement of researchers:
 Positive feedback from researchers about their active involvement;
 General will expressed to take active part in future similar events;
 Positive feedback about engagement and interest observed in attendees;
 Positive feedback regarding the event's organisation and the number of attendees;

o Partnership: further links could be developed with the host venues and the City Council;

o Internal relations and balances amongst partners: strong relationship amongst consortium members and further links developed with the host venues, At-Bristol;

o Awareness campaign:
 Improved impact compared to 2014, namely number of website hits, social media engagement and overall reach;
 Such increased impact also shown in increased number of attendees.

Overview of the results
o Collection and processing of feedbacks from different sources, namely: 123 adults' questionnaires (both paper and online), 122 children's paper questionnaires, 5 online teachers questionnaires, 6 interviews with researchers 10 observation sessions throughout the event in various venues, different times of the day and different kind of activity ;
o Main conclusions:
o Typology of visitors: from kids to elderly, with a lot of young children visiting with their parents, most attendees being interested in science, lag majority engaged with science-based events and activities;
o Knowledge about the event: 62,6 coming on purpose, 11,4 % passing-by or being at the venues;
o Overall positive feedback: concrete organisation (teachers, researchers involved, attendees), choice of the location/venues, possibility of direct engagement with researchers in an informal way;
o Limited criticism about lack of time for taking part in all the activities offered, mapping of the activities and signposting potentially improved;
o Most successful activities: planetarium and film screening (registrations an waiting list managed by online booking system);

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