Once again this year, between 24 and 25 September, the “European Night of Researchers,” an initiative promoted by the European Commission that involves thousands of researchers and research institutions in all EU countries every year, came to an end. In Tuscany, the event takes the name Bright-night, where the acronym “Brilliant Researchers Impact on Growth Health and Trust in research” is combined with the word night to make its meaning explicit.
“The research commitment at the heart of the 2021 initiative was to pursue the 17 Sustainable Development Goals contained in the 2030 Agenda: the United Nations’ policy document for people, planet and prosperity” explained TOUR4EU Association President Monica Barni. At the forefront of the initiative, hot topics such as sustainability, health, inclusiveness, environment, climate and innovation, always casting a glance at the past, in society and history, with particular attention to Dante, in the year of the seventh centenary of his death.
“Thanks to the support of the Region of Tuscany and the GiovaniSì project, we are proud to have brought research into the public squares, bringing it closer to the citizens with meetings and events of all kinds and for all ages, involving more than a thousand researchers from Tuscan universities” said Alessandra Nardini, Regional Councillor for Education, Training, Universities and Research, with great satisfaction.
Below are the seven Tuscan universities represented in Europe by the TOUR4EU Association and the research bodies that took part in the initiative: University of Florence, University of Pisa, University of Siena, University for Foreigners of Siena, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa, Scuola Normale Superiore, Scuola IMT Alti Studi Lucca, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), European Gravitational Observatory (EGO), Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF).
The role of the Tuscan cities, whose various symbolic places have been chosen as locations for the events, is fundamental.
In Florence, there was a wide-ranging programme of initiatives organised by UniFi for audiences of all ages, including competitions, mini-conferences, workshops, demonstrations and scientific-dissemination activities for children and young people organised by OpenLab, and free openings, with guided tours of the museums in the University’s museum system, with activities organised by the research centres of INAF Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, CNR Firenze and Istituto Universitario Europeo, and events at the Prato and Sesto Fiorentino sites.
In Pisa, 25 research stands from the city’s various universities have been set up in the city’s central locations, from the Logge di Banchi to Piazza Martiri della Libertà, accompanied by meetings and aperitifs organised in the city centre’s cafés and bookshops. Aperitifs to discuss space missions, new technologies for cultural heritage, non-polluting bioplastics and virtual reality, but also topical issues such as the vaccination against Covid-19, and the objectives of the NRPR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan); all while waiting for the research stage, which explored the relationship between music and science, the impact of Dante in society and expectations on environmental sustainability.
The two-day event in Siena, organised by the two city universities in collaboration with local institutions, presented events in the city’s symbolic locations: from the Rector’s Palace to the Teatro dei Rinnovati, from the Chigiana Music Academy to the various museums and educational complexes. History, visual art and virtual reality, including interviews and reflections on social inequalities. And again, online events, to facilitate participation, but also in the university branches of Arezzo, Grosseto and San Giovanni Valdarno.
In Lucca, book presentations, workshops for children and experiments, but also inclusive and surprising events, such as the sensory exhibition-hike guided by blind people, escape rooms and video games for a sustainable community and the launch of the podcast “Lucca svelata” to accompany the public in the places of the city.
Toscana Notizie press release:
The programmes are available at: