The National Science Week in Norway (Forskningsdagene) is a nationwide event held every year to make science and research available to the public. Research and knowledge institutions throughout Norway have an opportunity to participate and provide the general public with new insight into what they do.
People of all ages can learn about and experience science through a multitude of different events, many of which are held at venues that today bear little resemblance to the traditional lecture hall with its podium and blackboard. Events range from science fairs, demonstrations, lectures, “stand-up scientist” performances, exhibits and discussions, to tours, information stands, and cultural and hands-on activities. Nearly all Forskningsdagene events are available to the public free of charge.
The Research Council of Norway took the initiative to organise Norway’s first Forskningsdagene in 1995. Since then, the festival has emerged as the nation’s foremost arena for publicly-targeted information about science and research activities, with events taking place at locations throughout the entire country. The festival is significant in size, geographical spread and scientific scope, not least seen in relation to Norway’s population of 4,7 million people.
Forskningsdagene is designed to:
- fuel the public’s curiosity, interest and understanding of research activities and results;
- convey the important role that science and research play in everyday life;
- highlight the connections between research, innovation and industrial activity;
- enhance media interest in research activities and results;
- promote recruitment of young people to an academic career.
Forskningsdagene is organised as a project administered by a secretariat under the Research Council of Norway. The secretariat is responsible for linking the many regional events together into a unified national festival. This involves marketing activities, development of a common visual profile, preparation of information material and activities vis-à-vis the media. The secretariat is responsible for the update and maintenance of the Forskningsdagene website and database and provides a variety of services to those hosting events. The secretariat is also in charge of events organiser recruitment and evaluation activities in connection with the festival.
Each local organiser is responsible for the content of its respective events. Organisers include institutions of higher education, research institutes, representatives of trade and industry, municipalities, museums, libraries, professional associations and other private and public institutions. Each organiser is free to decide how to present its organisation and activities, and each is responsible for planning, financing and marketing its own events.
Organisations and institutions are motivated to take part in Forskningsdagene for a wide variety of reasons. Participation offers them many benefits, including the opportunity to:
Forskningsdagene is a member of EUSCEA, the European Science Events Association established to promote science-related events in Europe. EUSCEA encourages and assists its members in exchanging experiences of best practise in science communication; in exchanging events, lecturers and exhibitions; in communicating across borders and in securing better financing for science events in Europe.
Forskningsdagene is also a participant in Researchers' Night, the WU project that takes place all over Europe on the last friday of September each year. This friday is within the time frame of Forskningsdagene's ten day - long festival, held in weeks no. 38 and 39 every year.