You may have seen a competition about European projects on the internet recently. This might be the “EU in my Region” competition! The aim of the initiative is to encourage the public to really engage and interact with European projects. Last year was a great success with over 400,000 visitors to 2,500 projects in 23 countries! It is initiatives like this that fosters great public engagement and allows the EU projects to get some quality recognition.
So how does it work?
There are 4 different ways to participate in the competition: 1. Project Opening Days, 2. A photo competition, 3. A blogging competition and 4. A “project hunt”. Each of the ways to get involved are focused on allowing the public to discover projects that are near them, and reinforce the fact that there are European projects almost everywhere in Europe! The registration and further instructions are on the website here.
A “Communication Toolkit” is also provided to really get the participants to engage with the competition and disseminate the competitions communication materials.
Why use initiatives like these?
These initiatives could provide great publicity for your project, in terms of awareness of the project but also of E.U. projects in general. The incentive to attend project events is one of the ways that the publicity is increased, but these events are also publicised on the website for everyone to see. So even the people who could not attend your event have seen it and may remember your project in the future!
Aside from the benefits for your project or consortium alone, it is a requirement in Horizon 2020 to engage with the public. Science has been moved from being refined to the laboratory and scientific journals, to being integrated in society. Public engagement is one method of ensuring this vision of science with and for society is accomplished. The benefits here are not just for projects and for the European Commission, but for everyone involved!
So have you seen any interesting public engagement initiatives? Do you know someone who would like to participate in “Europe in my Region”? Leave a comment below or get in contact with us at email@example.com! Have a look at some of our project websites to see what kind of public engagement we are involved in!