European Researchers’ Night 2017

EXPLORATHON 2017 is Scotland’s European Researchers’ Night and will take place on Friday 29th September 2017 (with some events possibly taking place on the morning of Saturday 30th).

The Night gives researchers the opportunity to share their research with members of the public. All subject areas and career stages are welcome. Your research does not need to be funded by the European Commission, and it does not need to be science-based.


EXPLORATHON 2017 is coordinated by the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Strathclyde, St Andrews and, in Edinburgh, the Beltane Public Engagement Network. It is funded by the European Commission. Researchers’ Night gives people a chance to find out what researchers really do.

While there is special emphasis on sharing research funded by the European Commission, this event is open to ALL researchers. All subject areas and career stages are welcome. This high-profile initiative is a great opportunity to hone your public engagement skills in a supported setting.

Explorathon_poster magnifying glassWhen ?

It’s on Friday 29th September 2017, starting at midday, with some events continuing on Saturday 30th. Activities can also be counted as part of the Night if they take place before midday on Saturday 30th September.


Our 2017 venues are still being finalised. They will include the National Museum of Scotland, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Ocean Terminal, plus community centres and pubs or cafes.

More information about the events will be posted on the Explorathon website as it becomes available.

Who’s it for?

It’s for researchers (including students) and university support staff to deliver, and for members of the public to come along to. Our hope is that everyone who is involved gets something out of it.

Daytime events tend to attract a younger audience (very roughly, up to age 12) and their caregivers. Evening events are aimed at age 18+ (with the age range varying by individual event). We are trying to broaden the socio-economic demographic of the people we reach with our choice of 2017 venues and event formats.

School events are not part of Explorathon in Edinburgh, for the simple reason that Edinburgh schools are shut on a Friday afternoon!

How to get involved

We ask that you let us know if you’re interested. This isn’t binding at this stage.

We are providing support – training, venues and advertising – for individuals wanting to contribute to activities that include:

  • Informal conversations
  • Facilitated debates and discussions
  • ‘Science busking’
  • Interactive table-top demonstrations
  • Short, snappy storytelling
  • ‘Make-and-take’ workshops (very popular – people like coming away with something tangible!)
  • Co-designing an activity in partnership with a community partner
  • General volunteering on the day (e.g. front-of-house)
  • Evaluating the events (interviewing members of the public and post-event data crunching)

If you want to do your own event – design, venue and delivery – we are also very happy to advertise it as part of the Explorathon Edinburgh programme. Our only requirement is that it is underpinned by research.

What about money?

Explorathon events are usually free for members of the public to attend.

The Beltane Network core team holds very limited funding for individuals who need cash to support their activity. We always ask that researchers (including students) check with their university department and existing funders before approaching us for assistance. It’s very unlikely that we will be able to provide any individual with more than £100.

A portion of European Commission money comes to Edinburgh, and is administered by the University of Edinburgh (simply because the Beltane Network does not have official status). The huge proportion of this money goes on venues, equipment, catering, photography and staff salaries (venue managers, workshop facilitators, comperes, an intern, and a small proportion of the salaries of the core Beltane team).

Many of the Edinburgh event partners contribute substantial time and other resources in-kind, without which the event could not happen – thank you to them all!

Stay up-to-date

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Who do I contact with a question?

If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of the Beltane team on 0131 650 4874/5 or If you’re in an Edinburgh university, you may also wish to let your local public engagement contact know of your interest.