During the last couple of months, several major tasks were accomplished. This includes on the one hand the additional programming, refinement, improvement and the launch of the SciChallenge contest platform. On the other hand, it also includes collection of the input for the Engagement channels that will be included on the platform. Furthermore, several promotion activities were set-up and upscaled in order to increase the awareness for the project.
The Engagement channels, which are part of the SciChallenge platform, are aiming on creating awareness and on serving as the sustainable information that will be available also for users other than the contest participants. The intention of these engagement or awareness channels is to promote STEM education, activities and careers among young people. Hence, in a first step 1-page profiles of research-based companies were collected. In a next step, the companies were contacted in order to update their profile and include additional information. This will be an ongoing task and will be continued throughout the project. Three further collections were also done in this context. First, a national internship directories were collected and described briefly regarding their functionalities etc. Second, national platforms that list open days at universities were also collected. Third, a collection of national science event calendars was put together. As it was agreed in the consortium that it is impossible form the consortium to maintain such a database as a consortium, it was decided to build “meta-directories” for these issues, which combine the national directories in a filterable database.
Going live with the SciChallenge platform
Over the summer, the platform demonstrator was developed further, tested and improved. The topic sheets were furthermore translated into 10 different languages and were put into a database in order to read them out quickly when necessary. The submission system was built up and a database was attributed in order to save the registrations and the submissions of the SciChallenge participants. The platform was launched by the end of September at the European Researchers Night 2016. Afterwards, some work was done on the dashboards and the entire frame of the platform was translated until the full multilingual version was launched in November 2016.
Upscaling the promotion and networking activities
As six partners participated at the Researchers Night 2016, it was decided to launch the SciChallenge platform on this day. Hence, flyers, posters, stickers and a roll-up design was provided to the partners for promotion purposes and to create awareness for the launch of the platform.
Prior to the launch of the platform, a social media plan was developed in order to have posts every day and increase the awareness. After the launch, a new social media promotion strategy was deployed, where the posts are always featuring one of our topic sheets in order to draw the visitors to the SciChallenge platform. This strategy will especially be followed until the submission system opens on January 1, 2017. After that date, the continuous promotion will continue especially by featuring the contributions of the participants – until the submission system closes on April 30, 2017.