A recent press conference brought great news to Trieste: the city has been chosen as the European City of Science 2020. This honor will see thousands of people visiting Trieste that year for the European Science Open Forum (ESOF). These three weeks of events will gather people from all over Europe and the world, with exhibits from all over the continent. Trieste has a long history as a scientific meeting hub that will be continued in 2020. The announcement came at a press conference at ICTP last week on 11 July, celebrating the success of the bid and the future of the event’s motto: “Science for Freedom and Freedom for Science.”
Known as the biggest general science meeting in Europe, the event is aimed at presenting research in science and technology, engaging people in science, and fostering connections between scientists, politicians, policymakers, industry, media, and the public. The organizing body, EuroSci, an organization of European scientists and all those interested in science, seeks to create a stronger Europe through science.
Highlights from Trieste’s bid to be the 2020 host city for the ESOF conference include constructing a permanent science center in the city’s old port, or Porto Vecchio. Right on the Adriatic, the space will also include exhibition halls, meeting spaces, auditoriums, as well as laboratory and administration offices. The EuroScience organization, in their selection of Trieste, cited its very high concentration of scientists as well, which is one of the highest in Europe.
The first successful ESOF meeting took place in Stockholm in August 2004. Since then, there have been five further successful meetings, in Munich in July 2006, in Barcelona in July 2008, in Torino in July 2010, in Dublin in July 2012 and in Copenhagen in June 2014. The 2016 edition of ESOF will be held in Manchester and ESOF 2018 will be in Toulouse.
One of the other key aspects of Trieste’s bid was a commitment to use the ESOF designation as an opportunity to strengthen ties with other Central and Eastern European scientists and cities. This is one aspect that one of the chief architects of the bid, Stefano Fantoni, is particularly keen to point out. “We hope a series of events, particularly popular science events, as well as collaborations can help strengthen this network,” he says.
Fantoni, the President of the Trieste International Foundation for Freedom and Progress in Science (FIT), is excited about the success of the bid and buoyed by the local support for the effort. The city, the region, and the country have all expressed support and congratulations on the bid’s success, he explains. ICTP has been a key part of the bid, he continues: it raises the visibility worldwide of Trieste as a center of science. The excitement of ESOF is just beginning.