SOCIETY is a consolidated partnership that, since 2016, organizes the European Researcher’s Night (ERN), in the Italian Region Emilia-Romagna. The partnership includes the local branches of the main National Italian Research Institutes (the National Research Council - CNR, the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics - INFN, The Italian National Institute for Astrophysics -INAF and the Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology - INGV), together with the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the Western World, CINECA, the largest Italian center for scientific computing, the communication and management agencies ComunicaMente and Naxta, and the University of Ferrara acting as an associated partner. Every year, SOCIETY, together with numerous stakeholders, animates activities before and during the ERN in Bologna, and in all the cities hosting University of Bologna’s campuses (Cesena and Cesenatico, Forlì and Predappio, Ravenna, Rimini) and since 2021 also in Ferrara.
The proposed activities are based on the assumption that ERN is a good opportunity for citizens to meet researchers and understand how Europe can support research. Through the years the public interest has been constantly growing. The most important feedback that the public gave us is that participating in the ERN means being able to discover, in an engaging and fun way, how European researchers, active in all sectors of knowledge, work to face and solve the challenges for a sustainable future.
The theme proposed for the forthcoming edition of ERN (2022 - 2023) is riPENSAci, which literally means think twice i.e., think carefully, but also think again: look at things from a different perspective. The emphasis here is on thinking, a sorely needed attitude at this time in history, but also on the need to re-think our understanding of reality and progress.
The message that the project intends to convey regards the importance of Research and researchers as a powerful resource we can rely on in the challenge for a more sustainable future at the center of which are new relationships between humankind, other species and the environment. Moreover, it is important to demonstrate to the youngest, and in particular to the girls, that participating in the ERN represents an opportunity to find positive stimuli to pursue a career in the world of research, thus making an active contribution to solving the problems that make us perceive the future uncertain and threatening.
In this edition, SOCIETY riPENSAci will offer a series of activities/events helping the audience to understand how the connection between different disciplines, and people are fundamental for solving global challenges. Coming from our previous experience, and perfectly in line with the proposed topic for the 2022-2023, the multidisciplinary approach is highly appreciated.
The main activities, that will be animated by researchers working in a wide range of disciplines from science, technology and humanities are: guided tours, games like treasure hunts and quizzes, science cafés and scientific aperitifs, philosophical conversations open to the public, lectures and demonstrations held by international experts and by young researchers and many more. Furthermore, virtual contents will be uploaded on SOCIETY social media channels, such as videos, tutorials, demonstrations, short presentations. The partnership will create opportunities to let the public interact with the researchers, such as speed dates, speed pitches or TED talk-syle presentations. For the schools, the researchers will propose a list of disciplines and topics on which they are willing to give lectures or interact with students within classes or online. Moreover, students and teachers will be directly involved in the organization of the activities proposed to the general public, making them protagonists of the Night. The engagement of the younger generation - not only within schools’ context - will be favored also thanks to activities such as quizzes, team games like treasure hunts, online gaming.
During the two Nights, all main venues will feature marked stands where staff will be available to distribute information about the European Union, its functioning and the opportunities it offers to European citizens, students and workers. We plan to involve foreign researchers and students, such as MSCA fellows or Erasmus participants, to actively participate in the two editions of ERN, to provide their specific perspective on European research. The aim is to let visitors interact with these very young researchers that should share the meaning and value that EU programs had in their lives and in their professional career. The University of Bologna plans to address a specific call to MSCA researchers, through an approach based on the direct involvement of the researchers who benefit from these funding.