The European researchers ‘ Night (ERN) brings closer scientists and the general public in an informal, playful and educational get-together. The exchange of ideas and experiences that this initiative provides contributes to the clarification of what it means to be a scientist, what is science and what are the main topics of current scientific research.
The first edition of the ERN dates back to 2005 in the scope of the European Commission’s framework programme for research and development. The EC has promoted and funded this initiative that occurs on the same day in several European countries and Israel.
For the years 2016-2017, the ERN is focused on foresight, exploring alternatives to consider and manage the future with researchers and the public, envisioning new trends of science and technologies and of their impacts on society. Of special concern are the complex problems and challenges that humanity faces: climate change, sustainable energy, food and water supply, ageing and social inclusion, to name but a few of the global trends identified for the next 10-15 years.
FORESIGHT will consider how scientists, technologists, policymakers and citizens together will cope with these challenges. Thus, the ERN 2016-17 FORESIGHT will have an impact and transformative effects on the public perception about researchers and well as on the recognition of their work. Compared to previous events, FORESIGHT is different in some aspects, namely: it will be developed throughout the entire project timeline, 18 months, which allows for a on-going consultation of the different actors involved; there will be a continuing action plan of event throughout the timeline of ERN 2016-17; Schools, science centres and science museums will be involved in the nationwide campaign Meet a scientist that aims at attracting young people to consider a scientific career.
This year’s project will be developed by a consortium that includes research centres (i3S, ITQB) and ascience communication institutions closely connected to universities (science centres of the Ciência Viva National network). The project is funded by EU under HORIZON 2020 in the framework of MSC actions.