How Independent Initiatives Unite the Scientific Grassroots of Europe

Saturday, February 18, 2017: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 304 (Hynes Convention Center)
Anne Cambon Thomsen, France National Center for Scientific Research, Toulouse, France
Europe has been and is still being constructed by sharing its diversity in an open-minded way. Besides national or regional initiatives, a large forum, with a European dimension and widely open beyond Europe, is important at the very moment when the successor programme of Horizon 2020 - the current European Union research and innovation framework programme - is being discussed, including with social actors usually outside the realm of science.

The EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) is a biennial, interdisciplinary, pan-European, general science meeting, created in 2004 by EuroScience, which aims to:

  • showcase the latest advances in science,
  • promote dialogue on the role of science and technology in society and public policy.
  • stimulate and provoke public interest and engagement, excitement and debate about science and technology.
  • engage the European science community with global partners and perspectives.

ESOF 2018 (9 – 14 July) will take place in Toulouse, a genuine city of science and innovation, in 2018, the year that has been proposed as the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Appropriately, Toulouse has ancient roots, not only as a historical Roman city, but as a pioneer in academic tradition and innovative practices. The Occitanie Region, whose capital is Toulouse, is ranked first in France for the ratio of R&D per capita. Toulouse and its region have a leading position in aeronautics, space industry, biotechnology, health and cancer research, agro-industry, among other domains. All these domains require interdisciplinary and innovative approaches as well as a dialogue between very different stakeholders. Progress in these fields is facilitated by the sharing of enormous amounts of data, materials, methods and experience. They constitute models for the promotion of open innovation and knowledge sharing also between public research organisations and industry. Silos are counter-productive. To flourish, such domains require new technological and communication tools and new models of collaboration. Research infrastructures are essential in all scientific domains and need often to be shared across countries. However, the organisation of research and education and their communication, evaluation, reward systems and career paths have not necessarily incorporated these changes, creating gaps, incoherence and tensions. Many of the universal challenges of all societies are now pervaded by science and technology. As the Champion of ESOF 2018, I shall illustrate what an ESOF can bring through its inclusivity of all actors.