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Authors: Mariano, Sofia* 
Di Toro, Giulio* 
Collettini, Cristiano* 
Title: USEMS & GLASS: investigator-driven frontier research in earthquake physics. Ground-breaking research in Europe enhances outreach to the general public.
Issue Date: 5-Dec-2011
Keywords: PUBLIC ISSUES / Science policy EDUCATION / Geoscience education research PUBLIC ISSUES / Funding.
Subject Classification05. General::05.03. Educational, History of Science, Public Issues::05.03.99. General or miscellaneous 
Abstract: USEMS and GLASS are two projects financed by the European Research Council (ERC) as part of the ERC starting grants scheme within the FP7 framework. The rationale behind the funding scheme is to support some of the most promising scientific endeavours in Europe that are being led by young researchers, and to emphasize the excellence of individual ideas rather than specific research areas; in other words, to promote bottom-up frontier research. The general benefits of this rationale are evident in the two ongoing projects that deal with earthquake physics, as these projects are increasingly recognized in their scientific community. We can say that putting excellence at the heart of European Research strongly contributes to the construction of a European knowledge-based society. From a researcher point-of-view one of the most challenging aspects of these projects is to approach and convey the results of the projects to a general public, contributing actually to the construction of knowledge-based society. Luckily, media interest and the availability of a number of new communication tools facilitate the outreach of scientific achievements. The largest earthquakes during the last ten years (e.g. Sumatra 2004 and Japan 2011) have received widespread attention in the media world (TV, W.W.W., Newspaper and so on) for months, and successful research projects such as those above also become media protagonists, gaining their space in the media bullring. The USEMS principal investigator and his team have participated in several dissemination events in the Mass Media, such as interviews wit Italian and French TV national broadcasts (RAI Due TG2, RAI Uno Unomattina, Rai Tre Geo & Geo, FRANCE 2); interviews in scientific journals: SCIENCE (Sept. 2010), newspapers and web (Corriere della Sera, Il Gazzettino, Il Messagero, La Stampa, Libero, Il Mattino, Yahoo, ANSA, AdnKronos and AGI); radio (RadioRai Uno, RadioRai Tre Scienza); documentary “Die Eroberung der Alpen” produced by Tangram Film (Munchen, Germany). The USEMS project started in June 2008, and the GLASS project in October 2010. For both projects we developed a number of web pages through the official web site of the host institution, the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) in Rome. In these pages we describe the projects, publish pictures and short-movies of the experimental activities and keep the project results up to date. In addition the research teams collaborate within various INGV outreach schemes (school and student visits in the laboratory, writing short news reports for the INGV press office, and interviews with journalists) as well as using WWW channels (Facebook, Youtube) to make the project results available to the general public. Finally, it is notable that the ERC funding agency itself is fully involved in the outreach activities using its own communication channels and its highly skilled resources which promote through brochures, web pages, publications and documentaries the best projects. We are going to improve our effort in this direction up to the end of the projects.
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