The last Friday of September has been designated European Researchers’ Night by the European Commission. Across Sweden and all over Europe hundreds of activities are organised to show members of the public how exciting research can be and how relevant science actually is to our daily lives.
A record number of cities are participating in European Researchers’ Night in Sweden – ForskarFredag – 2016 and 2017. European Researchers’ Night 2016 was held on 30 September and involved 31 cities across Sweden. In 2017 it will take place on Friday 29 September.
ForskarFredag (Researchers’ Friday) is organised by universities, science centres, municipalities and regional development councils and is coordinated by the Swedish non-profit organisation Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Public & Science).
These innovative and exciting activities allow for public engagement and meetings with researchers in relaxed and festive environments. The events are aimed at showing that researchers are ordinary people with extraordinary jobs and that research is all about communication and international cooperation.
The people behind the research was the theme of 2016, where visitors could learn more about some of the most successful scientists in the world, their motivations and journey. Members of the public were also invited to vote for their favourite Nobel prize winning discovery that they believe has done the most for humanity.
The theme of 2017 is The image of the researcher which will challenge stereotypical images of scientists and researchers. A Draw-a-scientist-competition will be arranged for pupils age 6 to 12.
ForskarFredag is funded by AFA Insurance, IKEM – 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 industry, the Swedish Association of Professional Scientists, the Oscar and Maria Ekman Philanthropic Fund, The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers, SULF – the Swedish Association of University Teachers and Researchers, The Association of Swedish Engineering Industries, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, Vinnova – Sweden’s Innovation Agency and the ÅForsk Foundation.
The project is funded by the European Commission under HORIZON 2020 in the framework of the Marie Sklodowska Curie actions.
A taster of the 2016 activities in participating cities in Sweden:
The Science Centre Kreativum offered exciting programme of activities for the whole family, including science shows, experiments and the Researchers’ Grand Prix.
The University of Borås opened its doors to local schools to see the latest innovations in Smart Textiles. Schools could also borrow a researcher to come and talk to pupils at their school. Plus the regional heat of the Researchers’ Grand Prix took place.
Dalarna’s science centre in Borlänge, the Museum of the Future invited both schools and the public to discover more about research. On offer were experiments, physics shows and hands-on activities as well as opportunity to informally chat to researchers in the early evening.
Visitors could meet their researchers and ask questions over a cup of coffee at a number of science cafés around Eskilstuna. In Västerås, there were hands-on activities on topics such as energy, health and robotics as well as the Researchers’ Grand Prix. Organised by Mälardalen University Sweden.
Gävle University does lots of research into the elderly and ways to support the ageing population. Visitors came to listen to their researchers explain about their work, watch demonstrations and see bionic legs in action.
Halmstad University organised European Researchers’ Night at Halmstad city library. The square outside was packed full of exciting hand-on activities for all ages and children could have fun on the Science Safari experiment bus. Inside everyone was welcome to listen to researchers compete in the Science Slam.
This year’s activities were held all over the city with a vast programme for all ages, including demonstrations, science fairs, Science Cafés and Science After Works. Families were invited to an After School event at Upptech science centre where they could try experiments and a special activity walk. The county museum also hosted a programme of events. Organised by Jönköping University, Jönköping County and the municipalities in the region.
Karlstad University invited schools to a range of exciting activities, workshops and exhibitions. Researchers were also found in the city centre’s shopping centre, where passers by could try hands-on fun activities and hear about their exciting work.
Linnaeus university invited the public to the seminar ”Behaviours under the surface – to study fishes to understand biological riddles” with Researchers Grand Prix-competitor 2013, Andreas Svensson.
More than 400 pupils of different ages met researchers to hear all about what it means to be a researcher and the work that they do. This year’s theme was Recycling and Waste. The public could also informally meet researchers and hear about the latest research at evening events held at the City Library. Organised by Vänermuseet.
Researchers from Linköping University explained what they do and why over a cup of coffee at events in venues around both Linköping and Norrköping.
Vattenhallen Science Centre in Lund invited pupils to participate in experiments together with researchers from Lund University and to be the jury in Vattenhallen’s Science Slam. In a fun and educational game of scientific discovery, pupils became researchers themselves as they undertook a class expedition to investigate a fictional planet.
A whole day of activities were run at Strömbacka upper secondary school, Kaleido science centre, the newly opened Coast Hotel and Pietå Art Hall. This included short talks, maker space workshops, science cafés and a science bar. Visitors could 3D printing in action, how biodiesel is made of pine trees and learn all about snow research! Organised by Innovation Pite together with Piteå municipality, Piteå Science Park and the three RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.
An exciting programme of hands-on activities, lectures, film screenings and maker space workshops with researchers at Campus Skellefteå. Workshops for schools were also held at Nordanå and the public could also participate in an evening science café.
At the University of Skövde’s Science Fair, researchers let visitors experience their own discoveries in a new, comprehensive and engaging way with lots of activities for all ages.
Stenstorp / Falköping
Dalénium Science Centre in Stenstorp hosted lots of fun activities and science experiments for everyone. Researchers also gave presentations to pupils at Ålleberg Upper Secondary School in Falköping.
Molekylverkstan Science Centre offered an exciting day at Nösnäs upper secondary school with debates and meetings with researchers. The afternoon was packed with activities for the whole family at Molekylverkstan: Chemistry show, cinema, experiment, a walking quiz and much more. Researchers also visited local schools to discuss the latest developments in science and technology.
As usual activities were held at Debaser Medis in Medborgarplatsen in central Stockholm with over 200 participating researchers. Visitors could enjoy science shows, experiments, workshops, exhibitions and competitions. Activities were also held at the SciLifeLab, AlbaNova and the Science Centre Vetenskapens Hus, House of Science. Organised by Vetenskapens Hus.
Demonstrations, presentations and even researcher speed dating was on offer for pupils at Tom Tits Experiment. The got to meet researchers working at some of the most innovative companies in the area and find out about how research is a key part of business and entrepreneurship – not just at universities.
University West invited everyone curious about science to meet their researchers over a cup of coffee at a number of venues around the town. School pupils also got to see high-tech robots in action with special guided tours of the Production Technology Centre or could borrow a researcher to visit their school.
Schools were invited to borrow a researcher to visit their school. In the evening, Umevatoriet science centre offered an exciting programme for all the family, including lots of experiments and their popular physics and chemistry shows.
Visitors could help decide which researcher is best at presenting their research in just four minutes at the Researchers’ Grand Prix.
With 80 million insects, Station Linné holds the biggest collection of insects in the world. For Researchers’ Night they opened up the doors of their laboratory, where their researchers work, and invited people of all ages to discover more about the fascinating world of these minibeasts.
Komtek in Örnsköldsvik organised exciting experiments and activities for all ages. Organised by the municipality of Örnsköldsvik.
For more information about ForskarFredag in Sweden contact Lena Söderström, Project Manager of Researchers’ Night, email@example.com, tel +46 8 611 30 47.
European Researchers’ Night is a Europe-wide event that brings together the public at large and researchers on the last Friday of September each year. Many of the activities are designed to bring research out of the laboratory and into streets, parks, shopping centres and cafés. There are also opportunities to discover research facilities that are not usually open to the public, such as laboratories, research centres and museum collections. The public can try out the latest technologies and instruments under the guidance of scientists, participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, watch demonstrations and simulations, exchange ideas and party with the researchers. For one night only, everyone can be a scientist.
Read more about some of the activities that took place during 2015 European Researchers’ Night here.
Read more about European Researchers’ Night in Sweden.
Read more about European Researchers’ Night in the EU.