First preparatory meeting ESOF 2018
Over 170 participants attended the first preparatory meeting ESOF 2018 on the theme "ESOF 2018, one more step towards building a Europe of science", which took place on 8 April at the Pierre Baudis Congress Centre in Toulouse, the place where major events of ESOF 2018 will be held. A symposium on the actions of the European Research Council has also been held on the same day in the presence of its president Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.
A large panel of institutional representatives and international researchers has been gathered around Marie-France Barthet, President of the Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées and Anne Cambon-Thomsen, ESOF 2018 Champion. In particular: Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council; Roger Genet, General Director of Research and Innovation at the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research; Bertrand Monthubert, Regional Adviser for Higher Education and Research, Region Occitanie; Jean-Claude Dardelet, Deputy to the Mayor of Toulouse and Vice President at the Toulouse Métropole board; Martin Andler, Vice-President of EuroScience; Pierre Montoriol, Vice-President of the Toulouse Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Marie-France Barthet welcomed the audience by recalling that the Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées is the local organiser of ESOF 2018, a collective and transversal project in accordance with the missions of the institution. Pierre Montoriol on behalf of the Toulouse Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sylvie Rouillon-Valdiguié on behalf of Toulouse Métropole and Bertrand Monthubert on behalf of the Region Occitanie stressed the importance of the event, noting that the success and impact of this major European meeting will contribute in long-term benefits for Toulouse Métropole and the Region Occitanie, actual ambassadors of the organising country: France.
Martin Andler explained the challenges of ESOF: "carry the voice of researchers and the scientific community in the European debate, in order to create an open space for discussion between science, society and innovation."
Jean-Claude Dardelet described how this event fits into the long-term strategy of Toulouse, which is already internationally recognised for research and new technologies and wishes to affirm its identity as the European City of Science. Bertrand Monthubert recalled, that 4% of GDP is spent on research in the Region Occitanie, which places it as one of the leading regions in Europe.
"Each ESOF has its own personality, linked to the atmosphere of the city, its culture, the personality of its champion", said Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. Anne Cambon-Thomsen then explained the various ingredients of ESOF and the conditions of success that requires the active participation of local actors, gathered around the motto of ESOF 2018 "Sharing Science: towards new horizons". "It’s a nice incentive to mobilise everyone, scientific, economic, innovation actors, as well as cultural structures who will host in July 2018 over 4000 researchers, leading thinkers, innovators, policy makers and more than 400 journalists from all over Europe and beyond.