NewGenPak Open Day, Sheffield, March 15th 2015


250 visitors of all ages and knowledge levels attended the Explore Event held on Saturday 15th March 2015. Many of these visitors were brought up to date on a wide range of issues concerned with sustainable packaging when they visited the NewGenPak stand.

Figure 1. The NewGenPak stand attracts interest from all age ranges.

This Open Day was originally scheduled to be held at DTU in Denmark, but it was decided to take advantage of the Explore Event which is feature of the Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering.

Figure 2. Billboard and flier advertising Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering.

The Explore Event occurred just one week before the NewGenPak Demonstrator Trials in Northern Ireland so not all the researchers could be involved. However, Nikita Siminel (ESR, SHU), Jon Trifol (ESR, DTU), Caglar Mericer (ESR, UNIBO), Hai Zhang (ESR, ITENE) and Filip Jedra (ER; Bumaga) were able to contribute to the event.

The Explore Event was scheduled from 13.00 to 16.00 which meant a 10.30 start to make sure that all aspects of the NewGenPak offering were in working order.

The NewGenPak stand occupied two bays and made good use of the posters prepared for the first Open Day together with some new additions including two specifically designed and constructed marble runs to demonstrate the tortuous nature of diffusion in clay-based nanocomposites (Figure 3). The marble runs proved to be a very significant draw for pre-teenage visitors and school children which provided the opportunity to engage with their parents/guardians

Figure 3. The NewGenPak stand at the Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering. The marble runs are on the tables in the bottom left quadrant. The screen ran moving images of the simulation models developed in WP1. Left to right; Filip Jedra (ER, Bumaga), Caglar Mericer (ESR, UNIBO), Nikita Siminel (ESR, SHU), Hai Zhang (ESR, ITENE) and Jon Trifol (ESR, DTU).

Figure 4. The marble runs work their magic on both pre-teen and pre-school visitors.

The researchers interacted successfully with a wide variety of visitors explaining the NewGenPak project, raising awareness of the Marie Curie programmes and its multiple aims.
Another feature of the NewGenPak offering was a questionnaire devised by Hai Zhang, ITENE, Parents with small children were not always able to complete the questionnaire but it provided a useful opportunity to engage with the public. The results from the questionnaire were included in project Deliverable D3.5 “Sustainable Packaging Management Protocols”.
The event was considered to be a success by the researchers and the NewGenPak Coordinator, Chris Breen. The interest of the public in the event as a whole was captured in the comments on the ‘Post-It Note’ Feedback Board.

Figure 5. NewGenPak researchers engaging with the general public at the Explore Event