ESOF2020 News

Our common mission: a prosperous and sustainable world

By Sara Moraca

The Covid-19 pandemic cries out for public policies based on science, data, and sustainability. Yet actual science-based policy-making has proven to be extremely difficult and uneven. Countries that were supposedly well-prepared for pandemic emergencies proved to be incapable of dealing with them. In this interview we discuss with Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, some of the lessons of the pandemic to date, and some ideas of how we can rebuild the bridges from science to politics and sustainability.

ESOF2020 hybrid format was huge hit

An innovative format gathered top-quality scientific discussion that achieved resounding success among on-site and online participants

Trieste relaunches the Declaration of Human Duties

Trieste relaunches the Declaration of Human Duties

The announcement was released today at ESOF2020. The initiative is supported by esteemed scholars and Nobel Laureates, including Rita Levi Montalcini. The Trieste Declaration of Human Duties comes to life again through the rebirth of ICHD, the International Council of Human Duties



Ada Yonath: “We are racing toward a post antibiotic era”

This afternoon at ESOF2020, Nobel Laureate and crystallographer Ada Yonath gave a keynote speech on the importance of basic research for major medical discoveries that could transform human health.

Yonath won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009 for her work on the nature of ribosomes. Ribosomes are like factories in living cells that produce proteins by decoding genetic information. Her research on these tiny factories led to a whole new class of antibiotics, which comprise over 40% of those currently available, and “paralyse” these factories, effectively shutting them down.

Re-thinking vaccines - a report

This session organized by the European Research Council aimed to question the way we think about vaccines – not only as solutions to specific diseases, but as potential tools against antibiotic resistance, COVID-19, and disease more generally.

Dr. Jason Reifler, Professor of Political Science at the University of Exeter, opened the session by addressing the issue of distrust of vaccines, and of how misinformation about vaccines is spread. While the public widely recognizes the value of vaccines, he said, many people (around 40%) also have strong concerns about the side effects of vaccines that have allowed for misinformation and distrust to proliferate.

Reifler’s research has shown that providing people with information countering misperceptions about the risks of vaccines is more effective than trying to ‘scare’ people into getting vaccines by warning them about the dangers of a disease—except for those already the least likely to get vaccinated, among whom it had the opposite effect.

When it comes to COVID-19, the large majority of people would be likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine at some point according to Reifler’s research, regardless of their views on pharmaceutical companies.


Daylight study presented during ESOF2020 reveals how animals adapt between seasons

Trieste, 3 September - Scientists have discovered how a biological switch helps animals make the seasonal changes crucial for survival, such as growing a warm winter coat and adjusting body temperatures. The findings, presented today during a press conference at ESOF2020, reveal how the brain responds to short and long days to allow animals to adapt to changing conditions and governs vital behaviour such as breeding cycles.  Researchers say the study in sheep could help explain the timings of seasonal adaptations in a number of species such as birds, reptiles and mammals.

Any COVID-19 vaccine must be safe, efficacious and accessible to everyone

No corners should be cut in assessing the safety and efficacy of any candidate COVID-19 vaccines. We must oppose the misinformation espoused by the vocal anti-vaccine lobbies. Any successful vaccine must be made available on the basis of equity, ethics and public health needs. These are crucial actions in the global fight against COVID-19 according to the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), a global network of 140 academies whose academy members constitute more than 30,000 leading scientists, engineers and health professionals in over 100 countries.

The new IAP Communique on the Development and Distribution of Vaccines against COVID-19 highlights the fact that while public health tools such as physical distancing, wearing of masks and proper hygiene, along with testing and tracing, have been shown to help control the spread of COVID-19, it is widely recognized that vaccines will be essential to our ability to control the current pandemic, protect against likely future outbreaks and allow populations to return to their daily lives...

Ignazio Visco: economic growth depends on the ability to promote innovation

In his speech to ESOF2020 Trieste this afternoon, entitled "Economic growth and productivity: Italy and the role of knowldge", the Governor of the Bank of Italy Ignazio Visco spoke about the Italian economic situation and its critical issues. The pandemic and the slowdown of growth due to the emergency, explained Visco, must not make us lose sight of the actions necessary for a revival of the economy in the long term....

16.000 academics call for financially strong and independent ERC

In an open letter, leading scientists and university leaders called upon the EU Presidents and the Heads of States and Governments in Europe to secure funding for the European Research Council (ERC) in the next long-term EU budget.

The petition letter is supported by 16.000 signatures from academics.

The signatures will now be sent to the EU presidents von der Leyen, Michel and Sassoli, and the EU Member States’ Ministers responsible for Research.

Fake vaccines, medicines, and other medical products can kill you, says world academies network

The toll from falsified and substandard medical products may be as high as a million lives lost per year: The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) recommends a set of actions and urges politicians and all stakeholders to join forces and solve this urgent issue.