The European Researchers’ Night was an energetic festival of scientific exploration at the Natural History Museum, London on the 27 September.
The Natural History Museum in London opened its doors after hours for a festival of scientific exploration called The European Researchers’ Night on 27th September. The tangled ‘world wild webs’ as went the theme of the night welcomed the public to interact with an eclectic mix of research and science from pop-up displays to one-on-one conversations over a pint in the 'EU Pub' and 'Dialogue Den'. For the Research Project Management Office (RPM) at Imperial College London, it was the opportunity to bring four Horizon 2020 research projects EAVI2020, EDEN2020, PRESTIGE-AF and PERFORM2020 into the interconnectivity.
The delivery of these projects’ consortium, financial and communication management are coordinated by the RPM team and it was a no-brainer for the team to take these four projects, which are funded by the EU under the Horizon2020 program, and be part of the European Researchers' Night. The projects’ scientists had a lot of fun showcasing their research in an interactive and engaging way and it was clear from public interest, the social impact that research fosters and is amplified through public outreach events such as this.
The European Researchers’ Night is another EU-funded initiative, and Dr Marta Archanco, a project manager of the RPM team, explains that regular engagement in public outreach events is not only a funders’ requirement but it serves as a conduit in which scientists can express why their research matters while furthering the projects’ social impact. For this particular event, Marta says “what many people may not realise is that this event occurs simultaneously across Europe for one night of the year. Last year, during the 2018 Night, in cities across Europe over 1.5 million people were connected with science. This is a beautiful thing and we are so proud to have our Horizon2020 projects apart of this public event.”
“what many people may not realise is that this event occurs simultaneously across Europe for one night of the year. Last year, during the 2018 Night, in cities across Europe over 1.5 million people were connected with science. This is a beautiful thing and we are so proud to have our Horizon2020 projects apart of this public event.” Dr Marta Archanco Project Manager, Research Project Management Office
Events like this are opportune moments to highlight the impact of research on our daily lives. EAVI2020 for example, focusses on accelerating the search for an HIV vaccine, PERFORM2020 scientists are working on developing diagnostic tools to quickly and non-invasively distinguish between bacterial and viral infections (both require very different treatment plans), PRESTIGE-AF involves research into the second leading cause of death i.e., stroke and identifying best treatment guidelines for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rate), and EDEN2020 is developing a robotic system with a first-of-its-kind steerable needle for life-saving cancer treatment delivery to impossible-to-reach-places in the brain.
For Prof Ferdinando M Rodriguez y Baena (Medical Engineering, Imperial), coordinator of EDEN2020, participating in events like this rekindles the connection with the public and provides a refreshing light on research impact, “ten years ago we decided to explore the design in the context of soft tissue surgery and that basically is what eventually became EDEN2020….[so] it is important for the public to understand what is currently happening”. For Prof Rodriguez and his team of medical engineers “is very important for us to try to incentivise the next generation of researchers to join projects like these”. Such public outreach activities at the European Researchers' Night continue to be a great opportunity in which to inspire and motivate younger generations to pursue scientific futures.
For more information about the RPM team and the Horizon2020 projects they deliver, go to the Research Project Management website.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.