Presentation of the initiative

"How Nerdy is Europe?"

The network of experts and media for evidence-based policy making, launches its third campaign to assess and promote the digital skills of the Europeans

REIsearch launches its third citizen and media engagement campaign in six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) aimed at assessing and improving the digital competences of European citizens. The campaign follows in the steps of the 2016 endeavour on chronic diseases and the 2017 one on the Internet of the future which engaged more than 60.000 people each.

This campaign aimed to envolve an even higher share of Europeans through a new and gamified approach allowing online users to asses their level of “nerdiness” and discovering if they are a Steve Jobs like digital guru or a Mr Bean of the digital world. The game, dubbed iNerd, were both entertaining and informative. Players were encoraged to explore their knowledge of four key areas of the digital world: big data and artificial intelligence, social media and Internet of things earning scores, profiles and badges they may share online. Upon completion of each session (iNerd can be played multiple times to test one’s improvements) the player’s score will also lead him to a selection of explanatory videos and articles meant to improve his weaker spots. The videos, 24 in total, have been produced by REIsearch and feature eight leading european experts in the fields of big data and Ai, social and new media, Internet of things as well as privacy and cybersecurity. The campaign was significantly promoted online through the hashtag: #hownerdyareyou.

The data, collected from users in a Gdpr compliant format, was used by REIsearch to gauge the level of competence and awareness of the general European public in areas that are ever more crucial for Europeans ad AI and automation are profoundly remodeling our societies and job market. In this context digital skills and competence are becoming a key assett for Europe’s democratic and social resilience and inclusion as well as for its economic growth and competitiveness. As European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Junker noted in his recent State of the Union Address the number of active workers in Europe (239 million people) has never been so high and yet: «Youth unemployment is at 14.8%. This is still too high».

The aim of this REIsearch campaign was to start a reliable and authoritative debate on digital competences (from media literacy ), bringing together researchers, media, policy-makers and citizens from all across Europe. This will allow to support the European Commission and Parliament in shaping its future strategies to drive an inclusive development of the digital sphere in the next years via regulation, policy action and funding.

REIsearch is a non-profit European initiative co-funded by the European Commission to demonstrate how a technological tool, coupled to a broad network of leading media, research institutions, researchers, civil society organisations, and citizens, can help policy makers to make better use of all knowledge and experience - wherever it may come from - to make better decisions, based on evidence and experience, for the benefit of society as a whole.

REIsearch is promoted by Atomium – European Institute for Science, Media and Democracy, launched seven years ago at the European Parliament by the former President of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and by Michelangelo Baracchi Bonvicini, today Honorary President and President of the Institute. REIsearch’s endevour’s have been publicly endoresd by European Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker commented who said: "Innovation and new scientific discoveries are improving people's lives and making our economy more competitive. Science should be open and freed from its traditional ivory tower; to be discussed, submitted to critique and fed with new perspectives. That's why I warmly welcome efforts such as the REIsearch initiative to get Europeans engaged in the debate about science and research and inspire fresh ideas about how to solve some of our society's most pressing problems".

To this end, REIsearch is coordinating eight European media organisations – including Der Standard, El País, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Les Èchos, Irish Times, Il Sole24ore, and Público – to run a citizen engagement campaign through their online editions as well as through REIsearch’s web platform. Elsevier and the European Commission’s DG Connect will facilitate the engagement of researchers. Some of the most important international and European organisations operating in the digital sector (Tallinn University of Technology, Oxford University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Twente, University of Milan, University of Barcelona, Warsaw University, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, Arduino, WeMake, OpenWear, SURFnet, IETF, IAB and Digital Catapult).