Aberdeen leads successful Scottish bid to host European Researchers Night

The University of Aberdeen has led a successful bid to host Scotland's European Researchers Night for the next two years.

The project, entitled Explorathon, will bring together academics, school pupils and the public across Europe on a single night to celebrate and showcase the best innovation and development taking place in Scottish universities.

Each night will see over 6,000 people engaging with over 200 researchers across Scotland. The grant, which is the first successful application from the University to the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, will enable the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde to stage simultaneous events across Scotland.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen said: “We’re delighted that Aberdeen has successfully led Scotland’s first proposal to the Horizon 2020 programme. European funding is tremendously important as we enter an increasingly competitive research landscape and I am confident colleagues will engage enthusiastically with the Researchers’ Nights being planned.”

The bid was led by the University of Aberdeen’s Public Engagement with Research Unit and will complement an annual suite of opportunities available to our staff and students to engage with external audiences.

Dr Ken Skeldon, Head of Public Engagement with Research added: “We’re delighted to be part of the European Researcher’s Night initiative.

“Funded by the Marie Curie programme within Horizon 2020, the nights are aimed at highlighting the importance and relevance of modern research in the eyes of a general public audience, while stimulating young people to consider career paths that could lead to research and innovation-based careers.

“Being part of this initiative not only raises our research profile as part of an international collaboration but offers a recognised impact and engagement opportunity for all researchers looking to the Horizon 2020 programme.”

European Researchers Night will take place on 26 September 2014 and 25 September 2015. Aberdeen partners include TechFest, Union Square, Aberdeen Museums, Satrosphere Science Centre and the Belmont Cinema.  In Edinburgh, events will take place across the city and extend to St Andrews and Dundee.

Glasgow and Strathclyde will coordinate a discovery evening at Glasgow Science Centre complemented by activities throughout the city.

As well as the Scottish Explorathon project, four other UK projects have received funds from the European Commission for researchers’ nights based in London, Bristol, Birmingham and York.

More information about the Explorathon nights will be available as the programme takes shape and in the meantime, University of Aberdeen staff and students interested in taking part should contact the Public Engagement with Research Unit on peru@abdn.ac.uk  or visit www.abdn.ac.uk/engage

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