On March 8th started the 5th edition of “Mediterranean Researchers’ Night” or MEDNIGHT, a project funded by the European Union that aims to show the friendlier side of science that is carried out in Mediterranean countries to young people and adults. MEDNIGHT, which first started in 2020 as a project made up of 13 institutions from Spain, has for this edition the same number of partners but spread across the Mediterranean: Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Turkey, Cyprus and Tunisia, as well as Belgium, making a total of 8 countries. 

In the case of Belgium two entities participate in the consortium. On the one hand, the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), which holds its annual conference in Milan on 14, 15 and 16 March. As part of the conference programme the MCAA is organising an outreach activity in the context of MEDNIGHT, a scientific game thought for families developed by the Western Balkans chapter of the association, which will be translated to all the languages of the consortium. 

On the other hand the European Women Rectors Association (EWORA) is preparing the workplan to implement the Mediterranean Science Team (MST) and its Gala in Brussels in March 2025. The MST is a symbol, with which MEDNIGHT wants to bring the relevance of science to the general public. For this reason, they form a team of 11 “players”, like football teams. The scientists in the MST will be those who have contributed most notably to the knowledge and/or development of strategies to address problems shared by the countries of the Mediterranean basin 

The aim of the project is to transmit to the whole population the concept of Mediterranean Science, a journey through knowledge exchange networks, common scientific practices and building on the citizens expertise, highlighting the figure of women researchers. In 2024 MEDNIGHT partners will develop activities with schools as well as common outreach activities, culminating on 27 September with major events in Messina, Lesvos, Xanthi, Nicosia, Istanbul, Brussels, Monastir, Montpellier, Toulouse, Madrid, Almeria, Orihuela and Alicante.

The European Commission, which will grant MEDNIGHT a total of €675,000 for the 2024 and 2025 editions thanks to the Marie Curie Actions of the Horizon Europe programme, has assessed the proposal submitted with a total of 14 points out of 15, highlighting “the cultural dimension and multiculturality of the project”, “the proposed methodology” and “its impressive geographical reach”, in addition to the work team itself which according to the evaluators “has the necessary experience to carry out the project with high standards of quality”.

The MEDNIGHT team consists of Genopolys, mixed outreach centre of the French CNRS, INSERM and the University of Montpellier, the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse (CHUT), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), the ATHENA Information Technology Research Centre and SciCo in Greece, as well as SciCo Cyprus, the Monastir Science Palace in Tunisia, the European Women Rectors Association, the Kadir Has University in Istanbul, the Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), the Museo Didáctico Interactivo de Ciencias de la Vega Baja – Jesús Carnicer (MUDIC) and El Caleidoscopio in Spain, all of them coordinated by the University of Messina in Italy.