Messina – 18 April 2024
On 9 and 10 April, an expedition of institutions from Spain, Italy, Greece, Türkiye, Cyprus, France, Tunisia and Belgium met in Messina, on the Italian island of Sicily, to kick off “Mediterranean Researchers’ Night” – MEDNIGHT. During the meeting, the strategy for disseminating Mediterranean science and the geographical scope of this year’s consortium were discussed. Hundreds of activities will take place over several months and peak on 27 September, when more than 350 European cities will celebrate science through a series of events under the “European Researchers’ Night” flag. MEDNIGHT, initiated in 2020, now celebrates the fifth MEDNIGHT and has received funding from the European Union thanks to the “Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and Citizens” call of the “Horizon Europe” programme.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the shared discussion of the different transnational activities (transactivities) that make up the project’s awareness-raising strategy. The aim is to involve as many researchers as possible in activities such as “researchers at schools”, a unique opportunity to engage with pupils of all ages to raise awareness of their research and its impact on society and to put their dissemination skills into practice. On the other hand, the 5th Young Researchers at Schools International Meeting will be carried out. In this virtual meeting, young scientists will show their research work, interacting live and answering students’ questions, bringing science closer to hundreds of young people.

The Tales from MEDNIGHT, the exhibition of Mediterranean women scientists and Mind the Lab are transactivities that will renew their content this year. The short story competition on science in the Mediterranean will celebrate its fourth edition. At the same time, the exhibition will make a third foray into the visibility of science carried out by women researchers for the benefit of Mediterranean society. It is expected to publish around 12 new stories, the biographies of 25 new women scientists and more than a hundred scientific experiments on beaches and public squares in the MEDNIGHT countries.

Also, a specialised jury will select the third Mediterranean Science Team (MST) as in previous years. The MST will be composed of 11 scientists doing research in countries of the Mediterranean basin to be a reflection of science with a human face to seek solutions to the everyday problems of the 23 Mediterranean countries, in areas such as “Sea and pollution”, “Climate and clean energies”, “Diet and nutrition”, “life and Health”, “Anthropology and history”, “Geology and biodiversity”, “Technology and Future”. Climate change, pollution, overfishing, desertification, wildfires, and few opportunities for young people are at the top of a long list of shared problems that no single country can solve or address.

Hundreds of activities will take place over several months and peak on 27 September

This year’s edition of MEDNIGHT is broadening its horizons to include recognition of Mediterranean universities that are at the forefront of promoting gender equality.

EWORA, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing gender equality in higher education and research, particularly in leadership roles, is proud to be a partner in the MEDNIGHT Project.

Within this project, EWORA leads two significant initiatives: the Mediterranean Science Team (MST) and the Mediterranean Universities Gender Equality Pioneers. Recognized scientists as part of MST and the recognized universities will be selected by two distinct juries. Their achievements will be celebrated in a GALA event in Brussels during March 2025.

EWORA is also actively involved in promoting Mediterranean Science through various activities in Istanbul, in collaboration with the ITU Development Foundation Schools. On 27 September 2024, students from these schools will participate in engaging activities held at both the Maslak and Beylerbeyi Campuses. EWORA is delighted to raise awareness among students about the importance of science communication and how gender equality intersects with all scientific disciplines.

EWORA looks forward to fulfilling its pivotal role in recognizing Today’s Scientists through the MST GALA and Empowering Tomorrow’s by engaging with K12 students through ITU DF Schools.

MEDNIGHT consortium

The MEDNIGHT team consists of Genopolys, the 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.