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Bridging the Gap: Discovering real-life Scientists across Portugal 2009 (ScientistsAcrossPT09)
Start date: 01 May 2009, End date: 30 Nov 2009 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Portuguese research landscape has undergone a profound transformation in the last 15 years. Several initiatives have already taken place in Portugal in order to close the still existing gap between science and society, promote the development of positive attitudes towards science and technology and to have the public at large to better understand the central role of scientists and the key benefits that they bring to society. Nevertheless, significant efforts remain to be undertaken in Portugal for breaking the existing stereotypes about the researchers and the profession and to enhance researchers' public recognition.The purpose of the “ScientistsAcrossPortugal_09” is to continue to tackle the existing stereotypes of researchers and to have the public at large, and especially youngsters, better understand the central role of scientists and the benefits they bring to society. To accomplish this purpose, high impact events will take place in 6 cities: Aveiro, Coimbra, Covilhã, Lisbon, Tomar and Vila Real. At least 6,000 participants are expected, more than 100,000 people from numerous sectors are estimated to be aware of the event and at least 250 researchers, are expected to be directly involved in the delivery of the events.Considering the diversity of the public expected to participate in the “Scientists Across Portugal 2009” events, were defined specific target groups that the project will address: Children and youths; Students; Parents; Senior citizens; Educators/teachers/trainers; Companies and business leaders; Regional authorities; Business, youth and students associations; Decision makers and media professionals. For each one of the above groups will be defined and implemented a set of differentiated activities, adapted to the targets’ characteristics and needs.The programme of activities will include a balanced combination of science-linked activities and festive ones, namely: projects’ Website/Blog/Social Network linking the public and the researchers; the European Corner (in all the locations and comprising several activities: Blind-dating with scientists; posters exhibition “Imagine the advertising poster of the 2010 Researchers’ Night”; Science Markets; permanent animations, music, refreshments and presence of researchers for discussion and exchanges); hands-on experiments; open labs; workshops, games and exhibitions; science cafes, fundraising activities for cancer research and academic groups’ concerts. The programme of activities will promote the establishment of a closer dialogue and allowing a direct contact on a friendly, informal and fun environment. All the activities will be evaluated for their impact on the public image of science research and scientists, through questionnaires, interviews, direct observation and online feedback.
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