Press release 31 August 2015
On 25 September it’s time for the European science festival Researchers’ Night that is taking place in 300 cities throughout Europe. In Sweden 27 towns are inviting schoolchildren and the general public to meet scientists in a range of activities, including workshops, science shows, science cafés and behind-the-scenes tours of research labs. The aim of Researchers’ Night is to show that scientists are ordinary people with extraordinary jobs.
– Researchers’ Night is a fun opportunity for visitors to the festival to meet scientists and talk to them. You might discover research you did not even know existed and find out how the findings could affect your everyday life, said Lotta Tomasson, Project Manager at Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Public & Science), who coordinates Researchers’ Night (ForskarFredag) in Sweden.
Researchers’ Grand Prix – get the grasp of research in just four minutes
As part of the science festival, regional heats of the Researchers’ Grand Prix are being held in Borås, Kalmar, Karlshamn, Lund, Malmö, Stockholm, Trollhättan and Västerås. In this science communication contest, scientists are challenged to present their research in as captivating, inspiring and educational a way possible – in just four minutes. The audience and a jury consisting of experts representing the media/communications, the performing arts and science together select the winner. The eight regional winners go forward to the national final on 26 November in Stockholm.
The Tea Bag Experiment – 250 school classes undertaking real research
This year’s mass experiment, the Tea Bag Experiment, will also be profiled during Researchers’ Night. 250 school classes in Sweden are participating in the experiment to provide scientists with new knowledge about how climate change is affecting the decomposition of organic material in soil. The Tea Bag Experiment is part of an international research project called the Tea Bag index that aims to create a global map of soil decomposition rates.
Before the summer break, the pupils buried a set of tea bags and upon their return to school in the autumn, they are now digging them up and weighing them to find out how much of the tea has decomposed.
– All the scientists are very impressed by the work of the Swedish pupils. Now we are looking forward to analysing the results, said Judith Sarneel, a researcher at Umeå University, who designed the experiment.
This is the tenth year that European Researchers’ Night is being held on the last Friday of September. Over 300 cities across Europe are involved and last year it attracted a total of 1.2 million visitors. In Sweden events are taking place in Borås, Eksjö, Eskilstuna, Gothenburg, Halmstad, Jönköping, Kalmar, Karlshamn, Karlstad, Lidköping, Linköping, Lund, Malmö, Norrköping, Piteå, Skellefteå, Skövde, Stenungsund, Stockholm, Trollhättan, Umeå, Uppsala, Värnamo, Västerås, Öland, Örnsköldsvik and Östersund.
Researchers’ Night and the Researchers’ Grand Prix are organised by universities, science centres, municipalities and regional development councils. The events are coordinated nationally by Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Public & Science) with financial support from the AFA Insurance, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, Innovation and Chemical Industries in Sweden, the Swedish Steel Producers’ Association, The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, LIF – the research-based pharmaceutical company, the Swedish Association of Professional Scientists, Oskar and Maria Ekman’s Philanthropic Fund, the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers, the Swedish Association of University Teachers, the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, VINNOVA innovation agency and the Åforsk Foundation.
For more information and press images, please visit www.forskarfredag.se or contact:
Lotta Tomasson, Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Public & Science), Project Manager for Researchers’ Night in Sweden +46 (0)70-728 97 20, lotta(@)v-a.se
VA (Public and Science) promotes dialogue and openness between researchers and the public – especially young people. The organisation works to create new forms of dialogue about research. VA is also developing new knowledge on the relationship between research and society through surveys and studies. Its members consist of some 80 organisations, authorities, companies and associations. In addition, it has a number of individual members. For more information visit www.v-a.se/in-english/