We now more than ever need to reconnect with each other

By Stefano Fantoni

The EuroScience Open Forum - ESOF2020 Trieste will take place from 2 to 6 September with a renewed mission. Whereas, prior to the pandemic, the event represented one of the main forum for multidisciplinary discussion at  European level on changes in science and technology and their role in society, these last few months of generalised anxiety and uncertainty have added even more profound motivations for exchange and debate.

There will necessarily be fewer speakers physically present in the Old Port of Trieste, but many others will be connected online.

The challenges to address all what has been happening over the last few months, as well as their future consequences, largely prevailed on the organisational difficulties we knew we were going to face with.

More than ever before the global scientific community has recognized the duty to prove that it is up to the challenges that await us, including new ways to continue circulating ideas. The pandemic has blatantly revealed the importance of sound ethical behaviour in disseminating research results and of the amount of work needed to improve dialogue between science and policy, and between experts and the media. ESOF is an event that has been conceived from its very beginning to foster this kind of debate.

Over the past few months our team has revised the whole event, as Covid-19 has spread around the globe. In order to offer a safe forum, without compromising its values and intentions nor its participants’ health, we have created a hybrid version of it. We recognise that some effects of the Coronavirus may still be present in September. In response to that, our priority will be to make ESOF2020 as accessible as possible for all who wish to participate, and as relevant as possible for all who will attend it.

ESOF is the place where the scientific community meets to reflect on its practices and place in society. In these challenging times, scientific research is more crucial than ever, and its impact, as well as its communication to governments and the public, are of utmost importance.

To guarantee the success of the event,  leading scientists, young researchers, business people, policy makers, science communicators and the general public will be invited to discuss and debate on new discoveries, as well as on the future directions research in the sciences, the humanities and the social sciences need to take.

The hybrid format will include auditoriums for physical and online live participation in Trieste, plus several virtual rooms for complete online panels. All sessions and workshops will be broadcasted. We will guarantee  networking moments for both physical and remote participants through large available areas in the Trieste Village and virtual lounge rooms and Agorà for discussions and interaction online.

The opportunities to interact during the sessions will be the same for all participants, the virtual discussion and interaction will be handled by moderators through an online chat. The physical participants will be able to see the digital version of the sessions on a large screen that will be projecting the virtual room right on the stage, where all the speakers will appear.

We now more than ever are open to a wide   interdisciplinary dialogue, deeply convinced that we urgently need to reconnect each other after the forced isolation we have been living.

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