Hello and welcome back to the FOIE GRAS ESRs blog!
For this second entry, we are excited to share our experiences on the European Researchers’ Night 2017 (ERN), which is a series of events hosted simultaneously all over Europe on the last Friday of September to engage society in science. During ERN, research facilities are open to the public and different science communication activities are performed in research campuses.
The ERN 2017 took place on the 29th of September and some of us attended the events organized in our hosting cities:
Tawhidul (ESR-8) – Hosted by FFUL in Lisbon, Portugal
“It’s was my first-time active participation at ERNs and was truly satisfied after attending such an eventful and multicolored mass scientific platform here in Lisbon. I belief it’s an extremely interactive and entertaining event, which increases science communication with mass people and especially with children, I really welcome this idea of European commission! People had enormous interest to know about scientific progress, which overwhelmed me a lot. I expect more success and science entertainment of the upcoming ERNs.”
For more information and pictures on the NIE Lisboa event click here
Sara Guerra (ESR-2) and Bárbara Patrício (ESR-6) – Hosted by CNR in Pisa, Italy
Sara: “An adventure in the night of the investigators! In Pisa! It was great to see the number of people who joined the event, especially children who showed the greatest enthusiasm for the most different areas of research. My participation was only as a visitor, but it was not an experience less pleasant and it was very stimulating. I hope that next year I can also participate and spread knowledge!”
Bárbara: “It was my first time attending to the Researchers’ Night and the balance is very positive! Even though I was not involved in any activity directly, it was truly satisfying to see the interest of the public on what is done by the scientific community. This kind of activities bring people from different backgrounds together and the result couldn’t be better.”
For more information and pictures on the BRIGHT event click here
Inês Simões (ESR-1) – Hosted by the NENCKI Institute in Warsaw, Poland
In Warsaw, where Inês is hosted, there were 3 activities organized by the Biochemistry Department: isolation of DNA from banana, loading of DNA samples and gel electrophoresis and last but not least, the correct identification of the mouse to whom the DNA pattern belongs.
“It was my first time in a Researcher’s night event. It was amazing to see the interest of the people to know more about science and what kind of work the researchers do in the laboratiories. These kind of activities will help to break down all the barriers that still exist between research and the general public. Moreover, we are stimulating the children (future generation) to be aware of the importance of our work. To repeat in a next time.”
Getachew Debas (ESR-4), Raquel Baccetto (ESR-11), Adriana Fontes (ESR-12) and Mireia Alemany (ESR-13)
We participated at the Noite Europeia dos Investigadores (NIE) that was hosted by the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. For this occasion, and as part of her PhD, Mireia developed a game focusing on nutrition and its role on NAFLD. In the game, named Açucarómetro/Gordurómetro (SUGARmeter/FATmeter), the participants have to classify food items in two different boards, one for sugars or carbohydrates, and the other one for fats. These boards have different domains for the types of sugars and fats that we can find in foodstuff and also a battery that displays which amount we need to eat of each in order to have a healthy diet. The goal is to place all food items correctly and if successful, the participant will manage to eliminate all the fat of our liver, which in this case is represented by color magnets placed in a cork liver.
The venue was packed with families and young adults interested in science and we had the opportunity to talk about NAFLD and the unhealthy accummulation of fat in the liver, but also about the FOIE GRAS project at large and our individual role in it. Overall, it was a pleasure to work together and we were very happy to see people engage in the contents and message of the game and enjoy playing with us.
Getachew (ESR-4 hosted by UC-Biotech in Cantanhede, Portugal):
“Being part of the ERN event was my first science communication experience in my academic life and I found it so amazing. It was an exciting opportunity to learn how easily science can communicate and reach to the society, the passion and eagerness of all the participants in the program was yet another wonderful moment that I will never forget. I think this is a good way by which the societies can get familiar and recognize the works of researchers/scientists. I am really happy with the wonderful moments and experiences that I got from the program.”
Raquel (ESR-11 hosted by University of Bari Aldo Moro in Bari, Italy):
“The ERN at Coimbra was my first experience attending and participating in such an innovative event. I was impressed at the number of people who attended, and at how very much interested and eager to learn they were! It was a great experience, which I hope to repeat. I believe we have a responsibility in sharing our knowledge with people since our research ultimate aim is to help people. And if we make the learning experience fun, better yet!”
Adriana (ESR-12 hosted by Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich, Germany):
“The European Researchers Night is a great opportunity to share experiences and knowledge, in a more informal way, for all the public that is interested in science. At Coimbra, the receptivity of the people to the activities and to the Foie Gras project in particularly was very good and the importance of this type of projects was highlighted. All the investigators that were present were able to show that science can be fun and more important, that it has real applications in daily life. For me, as investigator, it is very gratifying to participate in science communication events such as ERN!!”
Mireia (ESR-13 hosted by the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology in Coimbra, Portugal):
“It was a wonderful experience! This was my first time developing a Science Communication activity and I was nervous about how people would react to the game. Thanks to the endless energy and passion of Adriana and Raquel, the activity was a great success and I personally think it was an enriching and enjoyable experience both for me and my colleagues and also the general public participating.”
For more information about the event in Coimbra click here
Overall, we all enjoyed this amazing experience and were reminded of the importance of communicating our research to people. We look forward to ERN 2018, and we hope to see you there!
For more information on European Researchers’ Night click here