This year’s European Researchers’ Night will be a little different due to Covid-19, but Irish researchers have lots in store virtually.
Those of you curious about the work scientists do to tackle diseases and viruses or develop advanced AI will get to meet these researchers up close – albeit virtually – at this year’s European Researchers’ Night.
Taking place on Friday 27 November, the event was created by the EU to showcase the diversity of science and its impact on citizens’ daily lives, with the aim of stimulating an interest among young people in research careers. In 2019, it attracted 1.6m visitors across more than 400 cities in Europe and beyond, but will be a totally online affair this year as a result of Covid-19.
Projects from 29 countries are set to take part this year, with two based here in Ireland.
Cork Discovers was first launched in 2018 to mark European Researchers’ Night, and the organisers said the theme this year will be ‘change’. It will also now be a two-day event featuring talks, podcasts and more, as part of a new strategy it is calling ‘research by stealth’ to significantly increase and diversify its audience.
Research from Cork and further afield will be showcased online, with a dedicated strand of the programme focusing on sustainability research to reflect the strength of partner organisations in this area and to respond to public interest in the topic.
The second event, led by Trinity College Dublin, is ‘Start Talking About Research Today’ (START). It has been underway since 18 November and will have events taking place each day up until 29 November.
Some of the events taking place on the main European Researchers’ Night include ‘Back for the Future: Escape the Climate Crisis’. The virtual escape room event will see the public dropped into a world devastated by the climate crisis in 2050 and tasked with going back in time to undertake vital research to reset humanity’s course.
Another project will look at the poetry of Seamus Heaney. It will focus on four poems in which Heaney writes about paintings and photographs and explore the ideas he raised in them about what it means to use words and images to represent the world around us.
“European Researchers’ Night events are the perfect opportunity for researchers to engage with the public and to start new conversations,” said Dr Jennifer Daly, organiser of START.
“Trinity’s researchers have gone the extra mile to create a series of activities and events that are interactive and entertaining – there really is something for everyone! We’re very excited by the move online this year as it gives us the chance to welcome visitors from all over Ireland and around Europe to our events.”