COVID-19 and science policy at ESOF2020 Trieste

Only few more days until the kickoff of ESOF the major international scientific event

Trieste 28 August 2020


Five days away from the ESOF’s opening ceremony and after numerous changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the final programme is now available. The challenges of this moment have prompted the organisers to experiment with the event. So, the EuroScience Open Forum, the biennial forum that focuses on science, policy making and economics, will take place in Trieste from 2 to 6 September in both virtually and physically, with a rich programme, a large variety of topics, and an assortment of high-level speakers.

All events will be held in the Old Port of Trieste, particularly at Magazzino 27 and Magazzino 28, at the heart of the new Trieste Convention Center – TCC, the multifunctional congress center which will be inaugurated with ESOF. Among the 150 events of the forum on the calendar, about 70 will be held virtually , another 70 in a hybrid format, and about 10 will be in-person. Plenary meetings as well as presentations by high level speakers will be available through streaming.

These meetings will also be recorded and will be made available on demand. The ESOF2020 online platform will serve to stream most virtual and hybrid sessions to all registered users. Up to 5000 people will be able to connect at the same time. Registration is mandatory for all events both on- site andremotely. Registration is free for all accredited media correspondents and can be done through the link:

The opening ceremony will take place on Wednesday, 2 September at 3pm in the new Auditorium of the TCC Magazzino 28. Stefano Fantoni, Champion ESOF2020; Michael Matlosz, President of EuroScience; Roberto Dipiazza, Mayor of Trieste; Massimiliano Fedriga, President of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region will say a few words before the opening speech by Cardinale Piero Parolin, Secretary of the Vatican State. Gaetano Manfredi, Ministry of Education, University and Research; Fabiola Gianotti, Director of CERN and the virologist Ilaria Capua will follow. The event will also include Fabrizio Nicoletti, from the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Sanja Damjanovic, Ministry of Science from Montenegro; and Emmanuel Nzimande, Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa, and Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri.

The ceremony will be run by The Times journalist Anna Lombardi, and will end with the launch by Poste Italiane (the Italian Mail System) of a special “stamp” celebrating ESOF2020. The commemorative stamp was commissioned by FIT-Fondazione Internazionale Trieste per il Progresso e la Libertà delle Scienze and Municipality of Trieste, printed by ’Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato S.p.A and designed by Sintesi Hub.

The closing ceremony, on 6 September will host: the Italian President of the Council, Mr Giuseppe Conte; the Italian Minister of Economic Development , Mr. Stefano Patuanelli; and also Mariachiara Tallacchini, a Professor of science, law and democracy. In the audience there will also be: Massimiliano Fuksas, architect; Paolo Glisenti, Commissioner General for Italy at EXPO Dubai; Gabriele Galateri  di Genola, the President of the insurance company Gruppo Generali; Massimo Inguscio, the President of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), and Roberto di Lenarda, University Rector with the University of Trieste .

A very rich programme displaying high-impact topics, chosen not only because they describe science and technology progress but also because they are relevant in shaping the world to come, is offered during the event, including: climate change and sustainable development, COVID  -19 and pandemics,  migrations, blue economy, equal gender opportunities in science, society and more.

More than 700 experts from everywhere will speak at ESOF, including: Nobel Prizes Ada Yonathand Barry Clark Barish; mathematician and recipient of the Fields Medal Alessio Figalli; Alberto Mantovani, the Scientific Director of the Humanitas Institute; Hans Otto Pörtner, from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute IPCC Co-chair WG2; Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins University; Mauro Giacca, King’s College London; Michele Morgante, Institute of Agricultural Genomics; Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University; Gerald Haug ETH Zürich; Telmo Pievani, University of Padua; Ian Mattaj, Director of the Human Technopole; Griša Močnik, Jožef Stefan Institute; Matevz Lenarčič, Aviation for Science; Elena Cattaneo, University of Milan; Marica Branchesi, Gran Sasso Science Institute; Marc Mézard, Director of Ecole Normale Supérieure.


The whole Old Port of Trieste area will be closed to urban traffic during the whole event, but visitors will have access to the ESOF Park close to the new roundabout of Miramare. In addition they may reach ESOF's premises through the free minibus that Trieste Trasporti has made available (departure from Piazza della Borsa and stopovers in Piazza Oberdan, Railway Station FS, Viale Miramare stop n. 77, right before the railway bridge).

The opening and closing ceremonies, as well as other meetings, will be held in presence at the TCC space. The most relevant events will be hosted at the Auditorium in the Congress Centre (ESOF campus), building 28  , which can host up to 1,850 people in the audience. However, this Auditorium will be set up according to the current anti-COVID regulations.

Inside Magazzino 28, visitors will find a specific area dedicated to the dissemination of the Trieste System, where visitors will get to know the scientific and technical institutes based in Trieste and its province. Here a virtual exhibition area will offer stands that may be visited also via remote connection.

SCIENCE IN THE CITY FESTIVAL: a rich calendar of events for the general audience

Within the Science in the city Festival, which offers a very rich programme, we highlight some initiatives organized to debate about the mental health world, which will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the death of Franco Basaglia, a world renowned psychiatrist .

On 31 Aug, from 10:00 to 13:00 the conference “Mental health - A paradigm Shift in the Post-Covid Era” will take place. During the event speakers will debate about “Restoring the social community” in the post-COVID world.

To follow, a round table titled: “Towards a novel integration of mental health in human and social development”. The focus of the discussion is the impact that Covid-19 is having on mental health worldwide.

On 1 Sept., the 40° anniversary of Basaglia's death will be celebrated with a number of   events at Parco di S. Giovanni, titled: “Mental health: Franco Basaglia 40 years later. Theories, practices, organization of facilities.”

In the evening, with an event titled: “The city of deinstitutionalization”, visitors can participate in hands-on laboratories for weaving and pottery processing, a theatre piece, an interactive museum.

At “Il posto delle fragole” (The strawberries place) restaurant: lights and music. The whole section will offer strong support to the candidacy of the Basaglia legacy for the Nobel Peace Prize. Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize would represent an indispensable recognition to Basaglia and his staff, as well as to all the associations and institutes that still embody his extraordinary journey.


The Science in the city Festival will include many interesting exhibitions. Among them, “CYBORN: The dawn of an Artificial World”, whose opening will take place on 2 September at Trieste’s Salone degli Incanti, and will provide a chance to reflect on nature, technology, the mind and body, and the real and artificial world. Merging science and art, this vast exhibition investigates these issues by presenting art installations, interacting artifacts, tales, art, robotics, and technology gathered in an artificial scenario created by the artistic duo Quiet Ensemble. This exhibition is organised by INFN, IIT, Comune di Trieste and ESOF2020.

At a first glance, explorations of the Antarctic, caves, and space are very diverse and far from each other. Still, they have a lot in common: they show life is able to survive in extreme conditions. This is the theme of XTREME, the exhibition whose opening will take place on Saturday 29 August at 10 a.m. at the Magazzino delle Idee. Supervised by ERPAC, this exhibition is devoted to these environments’ distinctive features, and sheds some lights on our species’ ability to adapt in order to explore them, and on how life can thrive even in hostile settings such as the Antarctic, the space, and underground biosphere. The exhibition is organised by the Dipartimento di Matematica e Geoscienze dell’Università di Trieste, the Museo Nazionale dell’Antartide, INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste and the Federazione Speleologica Regionale del Friuli Venezia Giulia, and the intertwining of three environments is followed by: l’Antartide, lo Spazio e la Biosfera Ipogea


Four exhibitions will be open to the public at the new congress centre (30 August – 6 September, from 10AM to 10PM). There are 4 exhibitions open to the public inside the new congress center:

from 29 August to 6 September, from 10.00 to 22.00. To enter and visit the exhibitions you need to register at this link: the-trieste-convention-center/

Bora Museum 2020, the pop up museum of Bora

The wind known as “the Bora” is probably the most obvious and well-known symbol of the city of Trieste. “Is it really that terrible?” is a question all citizens   of Trieste   have received from those who are not from this city. This exhibition includes part of the collections that will form the upcoming Museo della Bora, together with artistic takes on this phenomenal wind and interactive devices.

ROBOTIC, Arts, Robotics and other Technologies Festival

The Robotics Festival now in its second edition, showcases how artistic experimentation, utilising the enabling technologies of the fourth Industrial Revolution, can become a primary drive for technological innovation. Trieste Convention Centre’s Magazzino 27 hosts interactive installations, VR projects, and robots. The exhibition will offer the chance to attend webinars and conferences, and a series of workshops on enabling technologies.

Both Ways. A dialogue between art and science

Five projects of art and s science form a multi-centric contemporary European art exhibition co-curated by two groups of experts in art and science. The projects will be connected in tangible and intangible ways under the umbrella of Science in the City Festival. How? It is going to be a surprise! Among the participants there are the Center for the Promotion of Science di Belgrado, the Ludwig Museum of Budapest, the NGO Scientifica and the Cluj Cultural Center of Cluj-Napoca, the Rijeka University , the Academy of Applied Arts and the Science Festival of  Rijeka. Organising committee: InCE (Iniziativa Centro Europea), FIT (Fondazione Internazionale Trieste)  and Trieste Contemporanea.

Society – a world in transition

This multimedia and interactive exhibition presents research and thoughts from many Max Planck- Institutes of Social Sciences and Lettres, in particular from two Italian Max Planck-Institutes: the Bibliotheca Hertziana of Roma and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. A collaborating partner is Villa Vigoni, Centro di Eccellenza italo-tedesco of Menaggio (CO). The exhibition will be presented in Italian and English.

Press contacts

Cristina Serra:

Mob 0039 338 430 5210


Giovanni Ortolani

Mob. 0039 333 7227972


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