Science & Society. ESOF2020 gets a stamp of approval; a resounding success.

EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), is the largest biennial general science meeting in Europe.

* International * Multidisciplinary * Science & Technology * Society & Policy *

“There was never a question of cancelling this event! It was unthinkable precisely during this crucial period in our history, where the discussion between Science and Society is more important than ever.” Michael Matlosz, president of EuroScience.

Stefano Fantoni, Champion of ESOF2020 remarked, “We must not be afraid of knowledge especially in times of crisis”.


ESOF2020, scheduled for July this year, had to be delayed due to the covid-19 crisis. Trieste, the European City of Science 2020, rose to the challenges and restrictions imposed by the pandemic. ESOF developed and organised ‘an innovative hybrid organisational model’ for the conference with in-person and on-line sessions running for 5 days from September 2nd; thus, enabling maximum participation. ‘Online visitors came from 52 countries across 5 continents.’

Programmes were packed with intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking sessions: excellent keynote talks, a plethora of diverse presentations, and panel sessions. There were even some exhibition stands as well.

Three key themes were SCIENCE, BUSINESS, and CAREERS.

I think the revised timing proved to be even better because covid-19 also needed to be discussed widely, openly and across many disciplines; with national and international perspectives and from many aspects of science and society. Moreover, other than the current pandemic, there is much more going on in the world and in the world of science that needs to be debated and discussed. Science communication is very important as is the subject of communication itself.

ESOF (and everyone involved) – can be proud of providing an important and timely platform for discussion and debate during this ‘crucial period’. Italy and Trieste can also be proud of hosting ESOF2020. The number of expert scientists and eminent authorities who participated is noteworthy and included the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

My final thought:
When something is important enough – you can do it.
Adapt and even experiment.
Take the learning forward

Sometimes, in some ways the result can be something better!

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 12/9/20

[The photos include: the brochure I picked up whilst attending the previous ESOF2018; a photo of the slide of a limited-edition stamp to commemorate the event in Trieste; a photo of a slide shown on the final day of ESOF. Open Knowledge. Fair Future. Like a beacon of light in difficult times.]