After various meetings and individual discussions with the members of the Science Council, Ferry Breedveld announced the ESOF theme on 28 October 2020: Crossing Borders: Responsive Science, Resilient Society. The scientific topics this theme covers are:


  1. Global challenges (e.g. migration, identity, inclusivity, climate change, pandemics, how deep history/globalisation shaped the human world)
  2. The future of AI is human (e.g. digital infrastructure, big data, democracy, decision making and law, ethics, security, drug discovery, medicine, AI and imaging, humanities meet AI)
    Heritage and Museums (e.g. heritage under threat, contested heritage, migration, identity and arts, belonging, contested heritage, migration, identity and arts, belonging, illegal trade, repatriation)
  3. Space for science (e.g. extra-terrestrial life, going back to the moon)
  4. Building blocks of matter (e.g. quantum revolution, dark matter dark energy, remains of the big bang)
  5. Liveable planet (e.g. climate adaptation, human evolution, human-nature relationships, artificial leave, how technology shaped(s) humans, resiliency and safety, sustainable development, community-based transformation, traditional knowledge)
  6. One health (e.g. population health, chronic diseases, healthy ageing, brain and cognition in the adolescent, the health gap, recognition of fear and stress in youth, infectious diseases crossing borders, vaccine and drug development, healthy environment)
  7. Science for policy and policy for science (e.g. cybersecurity, European Union in a divided world, the rule of law, good knowledge in different knowledge regimes, citizen engagement in global politics)
  8. Freedom for science and science for freedom (e.g. open access, scientific integrity, academic freedom, decolonisation of knowledge production)