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The active participation of citizens in science related issues has significantly increased in the past decades and citizen science has become a top-priority in many institutions and governments across Europe. Portugal is just starting to develop some interesting projects that...


The active participation of citizens in science related issues has significantly increased in the past decades and citizen science has become a top-priority in many institutions and governments across Europe.
Portugal is just starting to develop some interesting projects that need expansion and multiplication, which require proper diffusion in both the scientific community and the society.

The CITSCI project for the European Researcher’s Night 2015 in Portugal pursued two broad aims:

First, CITSCI aimed at addressing this national insufficiency, through:
- the active mobilisation of university researchers, science museum professionals, municipal authorities and the civil society (associations, NGOs);
- the compilation and broader dissemination of what is already being done in terms of citizenship-based research activities in Portugal;
- in such context, such activities are intended to become mainstream in Portugal after this first experience.

Secondly, in Portugal the relations between contemporary science, socioeconomic development, environmental sustainability, and employment, are not yet clearly perceived by the public. Through a broad range of scientific activities, CITSCI aimed at raising awareness of the role of research in the citizens’ daily lives and encouraging their direct and active participation in the building of scientific knowledge. Special attention was paid to the engagement of minorities, citizens with special needs and women.

The University of Lisbon (ULisboa), through its National Museum of Natural History and Science (MUHNAC), coordinated the CITSCI project. It mobilised, together with the University of Coimbra, the research community, science centres, NGOs, and local authorities to act as associated partners in their respective regions. The Municipality of Lisbon also got involved as partner, and played an important role in mobilizing the participation of citizens, local companies and associations, as well as the regional and national media; they indeed proved of utmost importance in co-organizing and building-up outdoor activities.

Work performed

Target audiences
. Public at large regardless of age and scientific background;
. Special attention to be paid on young people in particular when facing career choice;
. Citizens with special needs and disabilities;
. Schools, colleges, universities, research institutes;
. Policy makers;
. Industry and commerce leaders;
. Tourism sector.

Messages conveyed
. Everyone can be part of the scientific community, citizen or professional, male or female, young or not, with scientific background or not;
. Researchers‘ role is important in daily lives, economic development, environmental and social issues;
. Researchers share enthusiasm and passion for their job;
. Citizens can and should get involved in research activities including top level science.

Main communication tools to rely on
Off line
. Local build-up activities;
. Conception, production and display of promotional material;
. Promotion during public events;
. Publication of advertisements in newspapers, newsletters and cultural agendas;
. Public advertising in public spaces and display of video spots (cooperation with city councils);
. Promotion in written press;
. Promotional merchandising during build-up competitions;
. Setting up of media partnerships with radio and TV stations (Antena 1, RTP).

On line
. Revamping, constant updating and maintenance of project’s website, linked to partners and other science communication websites (both national and European);
. Revamping of social networks profiles, creation of a page and event on Facebook, creation of YouTube channel for displaying promotional video;
. Setting up of Instagram, Twitter and Gmail accounts;
. Electronic mailing through the consortium’s network of contacts and mailing lists.

Promotional material
. Flyers, brochures, roll-ups, flying banners, portable booth, bookmarkers, passports, posters, t-shirts, also available on a digital basis;
. Banners, ads, websites links to relevant EU and other popular websites;
. Give away;
. Mention of \"\"This European Researchers\' Night project is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions\"\" on all promotional material displayed;
. Promotional gadgets (displayed through the European corner notably), complying with the general guidelines available at

Overview of the results
. Conception, realisation of promotional material: posters of various formats, roll ups, programmes, invitations, brochures, flying banners, flyers, give away (T-shirts, passports, book markers…), displayed in public places such as restaurants, libraries, universities;
. Publication of articles, advertising and inserts in written press (national news agency, national and regional newspapers);
. Conception, realisation and display of a promotional spot and a promotional video, displayed on giant screens throughout the Lisbon city;
. Sending of invitations to museums, universities as well as Lisbon City Council\'s mailing list;
. Promotion during other public events, such as Astrofesta, Feira da Luz, MUHNAC\' s Saturdays markets;
. Organisation of a press conference notably attended by the national news agency (Lisbon, National Museum of History and Science);
. Publication of 4 press releases;
. Airing of interviews and live transmission on radio and TV stations (national and local);
. Pre-events: build-up activities:
- Science in Botanical garden;
- Workshop cycle;
- Competition;
. Revamping, constant updating of the project website, namely (info about citizen science and related Portuguese projects, build up activities, event programme, Portuguese researchers having benefited from MSCA scheme);
. 19.687 unique visitors and 8.399 hits on project website;
. Revamping and constant feeding of social networks profiles, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram;
. 1.712 likers on Facebook, 11 followers on Twitter, 81 on Instagram;
. Publication of articles\"

Final results

\". Collection, analysis and processing of 211 questionnaires prior to the event, 384 questionnaires filled in during the event (perception of researchers, their work, its impact), 392 filled in questionnaires about the event itself, 116 entries in the \"\"draw a scientists\"\" competition, 361 opinions registered during the poll, 44 post-it observations on the ERN wall during the event, making a total of 1.508 feedbacks collected and processed for both locations.

Main conclusions:
Overall positive feedback regarding the event itself (activities, interest, contacts with researchers, concrete organisation, scheduling, locations and venues);
Typology of visitors:
- Major female participation (61 % Coimbra, 67 % Lisbon);
- Major participation of visitors aged 15-24 (34 % Coimbra, 29 % Lisbon), followed by 35-44 (14 % Coimbra, 21 % Lisbon), 45-54 (14 % Coimbra, 14 % Lisbon), 25-34 representing 12 % in Coimbra and 18 % in Lisbon, under 15 (respectively 10 % in Coimbra and 9 % in Lisbon), 55-64 (3 % and 8 %) and over 65 (3 % and 1 %);
- Most attendees with bachelor degree (35,6 % in Coimbra and 34,3 % in Lisbon), followed by preparatory school level (18,6 % in Coimbra) and masters\' degree in Lisbon (23,4 %), high school level and masters degree (Coimbra 15,3 % each, 19,8 % for high school in Lisbon), PhD holders (Coimbra 10,2%), elementary school (5,1 % Coimbra, 8,1 % Lisbon), and in Lisbon preparatory school level (7,7%), and PhD holders (6,5%);
- Most participants having studies science and technology (49 % in Coimbra, 46 % in Lisbon), followed by human and social sciences (9% in Coimbra, 20 % Lisbon), health (8% and 9 %), economy (7% in Coimbra), arts (7 % in Coimbra) and others (5% in both locations);
. Most successful activities: hands-on activities and theatre (Coimbra), hands-on activities, science in daily life debate and planetarium sessions in Lisbon;
. Less successful activities: presentation of research projects in Lisbon;
. General wish for a longer duration-event;
. Increased public awareness about the societal impact of research (both locations);
. General wish for reinforcement of science communication activities (both locations);
. Increased interest for science careers expressed by young people (both locations) and increased interest for science-related themes by general public (both locations).


Website & more info

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