ForskarFredag (Researchers’ Friday) is the Swedish part of the European research festival European Researchers’ Night. The last Friday of September, science and research is celebrated in over 300 cities across Europe and neighbouring countries. In Sweden, activities are organised in around 30 cities across the country each year.
European Researchers’ Night 2017 was held in 28 cities across Sweden on 29 September, organised by universities, science centres, museums, research centres, municipalities and regional development councils. Visitors could experience more than 400 activities and were welcomed by over 500 researchers from many different fields. The event is coordinated by the Swedish non-profit organisation Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Public & Science).
Activities range from experiments and maker spaces to demonstrations, shows and exhibitions, as well as science cafés and talks in small groups. 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 theme of 2017 was The image of the researcher which was aimed at challenging stereotypical images of scientists and researchers. A Draw-a-scientist-competition was arranged for pupils aged 6 to 12. The pictures will now be analysed and a report will be written by Anne-Li Lindgren, Professor at the Department of Child and Youth Studies at Stockholm University. The pictures will be compared to pictures submitted to the Draw-a-scientist competition in 2007, to investigate the question: Have children’s images of scientists and science changed in the past 10 years? The pictures will be archived by The Swedish Archive of Children’s Art that offers open access to researchers, students and the general public.
The project is funded by the European Commission under HORIZON 2020 in the framework of the Marie Sklodowska Curie actions, GA 722934.
ForskarFredag is funded by AFA Insurance, IKEM – Innovation and Chemical Industries in Sweden, Jernkontoret – the Swedish Steel Producers’ Association, The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, 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, Wenner-Gren Foundations, the Swedish Research Council, Vinnova – Sweden’s Innovation Agency and the ÅForsk Foundation.
A taster of the 2017 activities in participating cities in Sweden:
The Science Centre Kreativum offered an 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 was held.
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.
The University of Gothenburg offered schools the opportunity to borrow a researcher to come and talk to the pupils about their research, what research and science is, and what it means to work as a researcher. Activities were also held at the annual Book Fair in Gothenburg.
Halmstad University organised European Researchers’ Night at Halmstad city library with exhibitions, talks and a Science Slam. The square outside was full of exciting hand-on activities for all ages and children could have fun on the Science Safari experiment bus.
Södertörn University in the south of Stockholm offered visitors an exiting day with talks, stand-up and hands-on activities on its latest research. Pupils from neighbouring municipalities received a special invitation.
Activities were held all over the city with a vast programme for all ages, including demonstrations, science fairs, Science Cafés, Science After Work and Science After School. 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 participate in a range of exciting activities, workshops and exhibitions. Researchers could also be found in the city centre’s shopping centre, where passers by were invited to stop and listen to short talks, have a coffee with a researcher and try hands-on activities.
Linnaeus University invited the public to a seminar on cutting-edge research from the university.
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 ”the digital society” was covered from different perspectives. The public could also informally meet researchers and hear about the latest research at evening events held at the City Library. Organised by Vänermuseet.
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 Piteå Art Hall. Activities included short talks, maker space workshops, science cafés and a science bar. This year the Night was extended to all the high schools in the municipality with researchers visiting the schools. Organised by Innovation Pite together with Piteå municipality, Piteå Science Park and the three RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.
An extensive programme of hands-on activities, lectures, film screenings and maker space workshops with researchers was held at Campus Skellefteå. An exciting evening also awaited families at the science centre Exploratoriet.
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. Plus the Researchers’ Grand Prix.
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: a chemistry show, film showings, experiments, a walking quiz and much more.
More than 4,000 pupils and visitors from the general public visited the AlbaNova University Centre in Stockholm. Lab visits, science shows, experiments, workshops, exhibitions, competitions and a lot more were on offer. Activities were also held at the SciLifeLab and the Science Centre Vetenskapens Hus, (House of Science). Organised by Vetenskapens Hus.
The Mid Sweden University invited the public to participate in seminars and meetings with researchers from the university.
Demonstrations, presentations and even researcher speed dating were offered to pupils at Tom Tits Experiment. Participating researchers work at some of the most innovative companies in the area and visitors could 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.
Umevatoriet science centre offered an exciting evening programme for all the family, including lots of experiments and the popular physics and chemistry show, now moved to a larger stage.
Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences welcomed visitors to the regional heat of the competition Researchers’ Grand Prix. and discover which researcher is most skilled at presenting his or her research in just four minutes?
With 80 million insects, Station Linné holds the biggest collection of insects in the world. For European 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.
For more information about ForskarFredag in Sweden contact Lena Söderström, Project Manager of European Researchers’ Night, [email protected], 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 European Researchers’ Night in Sweden.
Read more about European Researchers’ Night in the EU.