Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health
Together for more healthy years
Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health

European Researchers' Night: 'It gives you a lot of positive energy'

27 May 2024

The four Schools for Science & Society of the University of Groningen will again host the European Researchers' Night in Forum Groningen in 2024. The Forum will be transformed into a science hotspot on 27 September, bringing science closer to the public. Three researchers look back on last year's edition. 'The audience was very involved and active.'

decorative image
Jasperina Brouwer

During the 2023 edition of the European Researchers' Night (ERN), assistant professor Jasperina Brouwer gave a workshop on informal care. After her presentation, she posed several scenarios to the audience, which was then engaged into a discussion by an agree/disagree sign. 'I experienced it as a lot of fun. The audience participated enthusiastically. My own mother was also in the audience. She saw me presenting for the first time. She's still talking about the evening.'


The scenarios dealt with people's informal care network. 'For example, I asked: if you need to call someone to provide informal care now, do you have anyone in your network? I also asked if people could provide direct informal care themselves. Most attendees could call someone and wanted to provide informal care themselves, but when it came to long-term care, people started to hesitate.'

The type of care was also discussed. 'Most people are willing to put on support stockings, but applying an infusion pump or administering tube feeding is another story.' It provided interesting first impressions, according to the assistant professor. 'Of course, I am also there as a researcher. Although it's not a representative study, a gathering like this offers a good impression of people's views, for example on the division of tasks in healthcare.'

The same applies to the division of responsibility, continues Brouwer. 'If people start providing more informal care, who is responsible if something goes wrong? I got the impression that the public felt that the healthcare professional remains ultimately responsible, but I know from interviews with nurses that they think differently. These are big issues for the coming years.'

decorative image
Anastasiia Krushynska

Active and engaged

Assistant professor Anastasiia Krushynska participated in two segments of the ERN. She held a quiz on noise pollution and showed examples of her research during an exhibition in the central area. 'In our research group, we research metamaterials that can prevent noise pollution by absorbing sound. Interestingly, the loud music in the Forum allowed me to demonstrate our materials immediately to interested parties.’

Visitors showed 'a lot of interest' in the applications on display, such as 3D-printed jaw implants or wings for drones, Krushynska explains. Not only did the general public engage in a discussion with the researchers; the festival was also a networking moment for them. 'For example, an employee of the municipality of Groningen asked several questions about our sound-absorbing materials and a doctor was interested in the jaw implants. It was also nice to show the general public the possibilities of 3D printers. Many people know 3D printers mainly from toys or souvenirs. But big companies, such as ASML and Philips, are using this technology on a large scale.'

decorative image
Dagmar Heeg

Dagmar Heeg, a PhD student at the UG, also participated in the ERN. She organised a workshop for the audience about the AI system ChatGPT. 'I didn't expect it, but the audience was quite full. The subject of artificial intelligence appeared to be very much alive among people.' During the workshop, Heeg discussed six ethical issues surrounding ChatGPT, such as energy consumption, the danger of misinformation and biases. 'I prefer to give interactive lectures, where the audience interrupts and contradicts me. At the ERN, fortunately, the audience was very engaged and active. I noticed that everyone likes to participate when it comes to ethics.'


Besides the interesting insights, the evening also provided new connections, says Heeg. 'After the evening, I received several requests to give a workshop on AI outside the university.' Brouwer also had a similar experience. Through the ERN, she came into contact with Buurthelden, a new platform in Groningen that aims to connect older and younger people. 'As a result, we will be setting up a social activities initiative in a community centre in Delfzijl. I worked as a nurse myself for many years and being in contact with people really appeals to me. It is very nice that in this way my research is not limited to my desk.'

Assistant professor Krushynska does have one suggestion for the organisers. 'The event is called the European Researcher's Night. The 'Europe' component could be given a bit more attention, for example by inviting researchers from other universities in Europe.' According to Brouwer, the evening at the Forum was above all 'inspiring'. 'You get a lot of positive energy from it. This is an excellent opportunity to show the person behind the research. Moreover, as a researcher, you come into a different setting, where you reach a wider audience'. Heeg agrees. 'This link with society is very valuable. It is a good way to get out of the university bubble as a researcher. That is the strength of this night.'

Will you join us at the Forum on the 27 September to share and discuss your research with the public? Register online before 31 May 2024 or email!

Do you wish to also engage with a young audience? You can register via the same link for Zpannend Zernike children science festival on 5 and 6 October 2024, organised at various locations in Groningen.

The European Researchers' Night is co-funded by the European Commission under the 'Horizon Europe - Research and Innovation' programme, grant No. 101162172.

Last modified:27 May 2024 8.19 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

More news

  • 10 June 2024

    Swarming around a skyscraper

    Every two weeks, UG Makers puts the spotlight on a researcher who has created something tangible, ranging from homemade measuring equipment for academic research to small or larger products that can change our daily lives. That is how UG...

  • 24 May 2024

    Lustrum 410 in pictures

    Lustrum 410 in pictures: A photo report of the lustrum 2024

  • 21 May 2024

    Results of 2024 University elections

    The votes have been counted and the results of the University elections are in!