Scottish universities win EU funding to host night of inspirational research

Issued: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 09:48:00 BST

A consortium of Scottish higher education institutions, including the University of Glasgow, has won a bid for EU funding to host Scotland’s first European Researchers’ Night for the next two years.

The annual initiative brings together researchers, schools and the general public across Europe on a single night to celebrate and showcase the best innovation and development taking place in higher education.

The grant of £133,000 over two years will enable the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde, Aberdeen and the Beltane group of the four universities in Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Heriot-Watt and Queen Margaret – to stage  public engagement events simultaneously across Scotland.Science research 300

On each night, more than 6,000 people are expected to engage with more than 200 academics and researchers across Scotland.
The funding comes from the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie programme within the European Commission’s 2020 programme and is intended to demonstrate the importance and relevance of modern research to society whilst inspiring young people to consider career paths that could lead to research-based occupations.

European Researchers Night will take place on Friday, 26 September, 2014, and Friday, 25 September, 2015, across some 300 cities in Europe and beyond.

In Glasgow, the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow will run a number of stall-based and hands-on activities aimed at children, families and schools during the day.

“The main focus will be the Glasgow Science Centre and we will be taking it over for the night. We will have talks, shows, and debates going on until late into the night,” said Jamie Gallagher, public engagement officer with the University of Glasgow’s Research Strategy and Innovation Office.

Dr Mark Haw, chair of Strathclyde’s Public Engagement Group, said: “This will be a fantastic opportunity for people from every part of the country and every walk of life to get together with university researchers, to explore how our cutting-edge research in everything from the humanities to science is transforming our lives. It’s going to be an exciting night of research.”

The universities will be partnering up with Glasgow Skeptics, an organisation set to promote understanding, critical thinking and freedom of expression, and Café Scientifique, a forum for debating science issues in an informal setting.

They also hope to use the IMAX cinema to link up with other events in Europe and beyond; to run “science ceilidhs” at which pedometers are issued to dancers; and to involve the Bright Club – a comedy club where academics and researchers deliver stand-up comedy about their work.

More information about the event will be available as the programme takes shape.

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