Open knowledge, fair future: here comes ESOF 2020 Programme

The ESOF2020 programme, the EuroScience Open Forum to be held in Trieste from 5th to 9th July 2020, was presented in Trieste today. Now in its ninth edition, the biennial forum dedicated to scientific research and innovation will encompass meetings, debates, and exhibition areas bringing together researchers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, journalists, and scientific communicators.

Around 170 events selected from more than 600 proposals submitted from all over the world, starting, of course, from Europe. More than 4000 participants from around 80 countries are expected in Friuli Venezia Giulia’s capital city, the European City of Science 2020. Starting today, registration for the event is open!

The Forum’s main themes and guests

The Old Port of Trieste, the location chosen by ESOF, will become a centre for debate and proposals on the crucial themes of our times, from sustainability, nutrition, quality of life, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, and much more.

The motto “Open Knowledge, Fair Future”, in the course of the forum, will talk about the Blue Economy and the proper management of the sea as a resource, starting from the Mediterranean Sea; about the Circular Economy; about combating waste and recycling; about what science can do to nourish a planet with growing demographics in a sustainable manner. Quality of life and health are another significant theme, with the greatest challenges facing science and technology, from ageing to defeating cancer in the next few years. Our world and other worlds, exoplanets will be discussed, with an estimated 11 billion planets in our galaxy that are potentially inhabitable. And more, about collaborative design, about scientific communication, about scientific diplomacy and large research infrastructures such as CERN or the SESAME Synchrotron in Jordan.

The General Directorate Research and Innovation of the European Commission will also take part in the event presenting at ESOF the new 7-year financing programme "Horizon Europe".

The predominantly scientific sessions (Science Programme) will be flanked by those of the other two themes of the ESOF programme, Science to Business, dedicated the relationships between science and business, and Careers programme, dedicated to the professions of the future.

An important moment in the Science to Business programme will be the three days organised by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in collaboration with Area Science Park and Ljubljana Technology Park, during which experts in technological transfer will offer their expertise in evaluating innovative entrepreneurial ideas deriving from research. "Business meets science" will be another important initiative, created by ESOF2020, Elettra Sincrotrone and Confindustria: technology transfer offices and businesses will be connected through workshops, group discussions and one-to-one meetings from 6 to 8 July.

With reference to new professions, a special event, organised by the European Commission, Union pour la Mediterranèe and Mare Fvg, will be dedicated to Blue Skills, new specialisations tied to the Blue Economy, a strategy for growth and sustainable development safeguarding the seas, rivers, oceans, lakes and related ecosystems.

Among the over 850 speakers attending, some worthy of note include Didier Queloz, Nobel prize for physics in 2019: Ada Yonath, Nobel prize for Chemistry in 2009; the head of CERN Fabiola Gianotti, the mathematician winner of the Fields Medal 2018 Alessio Figalli; the Human Technopole Director Iain Mattaj; the genetics specialists Mauro Giacca and Michele Morgante; prof. Sheila Jasanoff, an expert in relations between science and politics; the epidemiologist Tolullah Oni; Griša Močnik and Matevž Lenarčič, a physicist and a pilot collaborating on the “Aviation for science” project; the smart cities expert Ina Homeier; Albert van Jaarsveld, CEO at IIASA, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the European Research Council Mauro Ferrari (see the keynote speakers here).

Several satellite events are also scheduled, dealing with different topics from internet governance, to the relationship between science and law. The complete list is available at this link.

ESOF2020 Champion Stefano Fantoni explains: "ESOF2020’s programme gives shape to a vision to regenerate the future, capable of combining scientific rigour and democratic participation, International awareness and the relationship with the territory. Above all, by reflecting on sustainability and social involvement, the two guide lines of the Trieste edition, we want to show ESOF2020 delegates and participants that the future is not, a priori, a promise, nor necessarily a threat, but rather more simply something we can take possession of again together, starting from a broad discussion with science and technology."

ESOF2020 will be a ZeroImpactEvent by AcegasApsAmga thanks to the collaboration with the multiutility. Environmental services within the Porto Vecchio will be enhanced during the event as well as a series of actions aimed at maximizing sustainable behaviour such as the positioning of mains water dispensers.

The festival in the city

Finally and not to be forgotten, parallel and connected to the Forum in the Old Port, from 27th June to 11th July the whole city of Trieste will be the stage for the “Science in the City Festival”, with more than 100 events, shows, exhibitions dedicated to the wider public and to all those with a passion for science and technology.

The programme launch also coincides with the opening of the call for volunteers to participate in ESOF and the Science in the City Festival: the call is available online at

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