Do you take the opportunities to listen and learn more about areas beyond your expertise?
Participating in international multidisciplinary conferences piques my curiosity to explore areas outside my own specialisms. Indeed, I have found that this is often how I get the most value out of such events.
The EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) is top notch for this purpose. ESOFs are exemplary in their scope and what they achieve. I have previously reported back on every ESOF since 2016.*
Whilst I am ready to launch myself into 2023, January has also been a good time to recap and to add a few more highlights and take-home points from ESOF2022.
I think you may find some of my choices surprise you:
The Covid pandemic: featuring frequently in several discussions under different themes at ESOF2022
This pandemic is something we have all been through. At ESOF2022 there were success stories, concerns, answers to questions, and suggestions for the future. There were thought-provoking discussions relating to how much was achieved and how much more needs to be done.
We need to continue to ask 2 questions – What else are we learning? How can we best prepare for different pandemics and other global or local crises in the future?
Spectacular Science: High profile advances and things to watch out for
Artificial Intelligence (AI):
There were lots of discussions about recent advances, the enormous potential of use of AI, and some dilemmas for society. A key take home message for me was that we should also be aware of possible hype around the value and capabilities of AI.
As I said in a recent post on AI ‘we should proceed with optimism, but also with caution and with ‘eyes wide open’.
The Quantum Revolution:
It was interesting to hear further developments: some have been fast and some less so (such is science). I found the discussions very interesting and personally they also consolidated the big leap in my understanding of quantum technology which I have already shared in a previous post in 2021. During ESOF2022 we were warned to beware the possible hype around this subject. Nonetheless, it is certainly a potentially exciting area and one to keep an eye on!
Space Science the big uplifting breaking news with images from the JWST:
The excellent coverage at ESOF2022 prompted me to write about this in a previous post where I also share my learning and a few further thoughts from this moment in space science history.
Watch out for further news and developments in these three high-profile areas.
Beware the possible hype.
Enjoy the thrill and joy of science!
Frontier research and an example closer to my specialist area of life sciences
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a major concern facing humankind now and for the future. I have mentioned and written about this topic before (and will again). At ESOF2022 I participated in a fascinating session on AMR in which experts described new research, novel approaches and funding issues. It was a learning experience for me. I was excited about new approaches and the passion of the research leaders and early career researchers. On the other hand, it is frustrating to hear about funding issues and the compelling need still for companies to take these ideas and developments forward on a bigger scale.
The funding and support of basic research is very important! Curiosity driven research per se can ultimately contribute more than research driven by apparent business needs.
The whole ESOF2022 experience
My reporting has covered some selected areas that particularly struck a note with me this time. In addition to important scientific sessions there were topics and discussions relating to business, policies, current global issues (wars, climate). Indeed, it was ‘an exciting programme around seven themes: Sustainable Environment, Cultural Identities and Transformation, Space for Science, Healthy Societies, Freedom and Responsibility of Science, Science and Business and Sustainable Academic Careers.’ Thought-provoking comments made by other people often resonate, inspire or prompt action.
ESOF2022 participation has equipped me with knowledge and understanding that I hope will enhance my contributions in communication, consultancy, and career mentoring.
I have enjoyed reporting back from ESOF 2022 and more widely sharing some of my learning and my own thoughts in posts and even in verse.
Science is exciting – there are so many stories to tell…
by Dr Julie Charlesworth 31/01/23