Mad boffins gather at dusk to plot world domination?
This is precisely what Researchers' Nights are not about. In fact, they are family events dedicated to popular science and fun learning. They are about showing what researchers really do for society, in interactive and engaging ways. This can be through hands-on experiments, science shows, learning activities for children, guided visits of research labs, science quizzes and more. The Researchers' Night takes place every year all over Europe on the fourth Friday of September. In 2012, these popular science events are happening on Friday 28 September in about 300 cities located in 32 European countries
(Find a local event near you). The events are supported by the European Commission as part of the Marie Curie Actions, which is an EU programme to boost European research careers. The competitive calls for the EU (co-)funding are managed by the Research Executive Agency (REA).
Why would I care?
Often billed as family events, Researchers' Nights will in fact appeal to people of all ages – whether with their family, school, friends or on their own – who are intrigued by how things work and by what science means for their lives. Many of these popular science events will let you behind the scenes, e.g. to labs that are usually closed to the public. You may discover a scientist in you and this is also your chance to be a part of a Europe-wide mega event.
Did I miss it already?
Researchers' Nights are organised every September since 2005. In 2011 they had almost 800,000 visitors and some received national prizes.
Want to organise it next time?
Organising the Researchers' Night events is awarded through a competitive call for proposals, with only the best selected for EU support. The call to organise a 2013 event will be published on 2 October 2012, with a deadline of 8 January 2013. If you think you can successfully organise a popular science event on a national or regional scale, and are based in an EU (or associated) country, see more details on the rules for applying.
Comments on this page or the events?
Send them to REA-COMMUNICATION@ec.europa.eu