ESOF2022 in Leiden

In 2022, the city of Leiden in the Netherlands will be hosting the 10th edition of the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) and the European City of Science. The Leiden University, the Municipality of Leiden, Leiden University of Applied Sciences, and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) collaborate to organize the conference and the events all over the year in Leiden.

Considering the global academic climate, we cannot think of a more suitable city to host ESOF than the city that throughout centuries has proven itself to be a city of freethinkers. A city that guards the right of freedom and the city where academic freedom is born. The importance of freedom is paramount in a global time frame where the very essence of science is debated. The dynamic of science is the pursuit of truth, which can only flourish in an open debate and liberty among scientists.

The ESOF2022 edition theme “Crossing the borders, engaged science, resilient society” is embedded in a 365-day programme of Leiden City of Science where we will celebrate arts, science, and technology, targeted to reach out to the general public and truly connect science with society.

The scientific sessions programme are divided into 7 tracks:

  1. A sustainable environment (e.g. climate change, human rights, a sustinable way of living, green energy, citizen science, future mobility, future cities, economy)
  2. Cultural Identities and Societal Transformation (e.g. migration, fortress Europe, missions of museums and collections, contested heritage, art, protest movements)
  3. Space for science (e.g. search for earth, construction in space and on the moon, finding extra-terrestrial life, dark matter research, quantum computing)
  4. Healthy societies (e.g. chronic diseases, digital tools, increasing costs, interplay between industrial research and academic research, global inequalities, data protection, artificial intelligence)
  5. Freedom and  responsibility of science (e.g. integrity in science advice, dialogue between science and policy, funding in freedom of science, responsible research and innovation, science diplomacy, conflicts of interests)
  6. Science and Business (e.g. entrepreneurial education, research performed in academia and industry, value-driven innovation, innovation out of the humanities)
  7. Sustainable Academic Careers (e.g. new career paths, research quality vs. quantity, the role of team science

The Champions of ESOF2022

Two Professors from Leiden University have been chosen as local champions for ESOF: Prof. Dr. Corinne Hofman, former dean of the Faculty of Archeology, and Prof. Dr. Ferry Breedveld, former chair of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) Executive Board. In her speech in Trieste, Hofman said: “With ESOF2022 we want to emphasise the importance of science to society and, vice versa, the importance of society to science. We are seeking to involve and enter into a dialogue with citizens, politicians, entrepreneurs and opinion makers on how science works, what its added value and relevance to society is, as well as which questions need to be asked and how data should be interpreted.”

Ferry Breedveld PSD
Prof. Ferry Breedveld

Ferry Breedveld studied medicine in Leiden and subsequently specialised in internal medicine and rheumatology. His research interest was the pathophysiology of autoimmune rheumatic diseases and the development of rational, biologic treatments. Insight in the mechanisms underlying rheumatoid inflammation reveiled potential targets for therapy. When biotechnology in the 80’s allowed the production of monoclonal antibodies he was involved in experimental and clinical work that resulted in successful therapies based on the suppression of T and B lymphocytes as well as cytokines. He was appointed to professor of rheumatology and Head of the Department of Rheumatology in 1989. In 2000 he was appointed to Chaiman of Medicine in Leiden and in 2006 to CEO of Leiden University Medical Centre. As hospital administrator his focus was on quality assurance in Medicine. From 2003 till 2005 he was president of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR). Professor Breedveld is honorary member of several scientific organisations and member of the Royal Acadamy for Arts and Sciences. 

Corinne Hoffmann
Prof. Corinne L. Hofman

Corinne L. Hofman is Professor of Caribbean Archaeology and former Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. She is also a senior researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV/KNAW). Over the past 30 years, Hofman and her team have conducted archaeological research on many Caribbean islands. Her research and publications are highly multidisciplinary, transcending the boundaries of the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences and her endeavor is the development of new tools and techniques for humanities research. She is particularly interested in the co-creation of research, community engagement and outreach. Consequently, Hofman’s research has provided groundbreaking insights into Indigenous Caribbean histories and perspectives hitherto overshadowed by dominant Eurocentric viewpoints. Major themes of interest include human-environment relationships, traditional knowledge systems, colonial intercultural dynamics, island archaeology, and regional comparative research. Her motivation lies in the appraisal, safeguarding, and preservation of the Caribbean’s vulnerable cultural heritage, and the resilience of its contemporary communities amid the current social and environmental challenges. Corinne has organized numerous international conferences and symposia on these topics. Since 1989, Corinne has obtained numerous research grants and prizes, including the NWO-VICI grant in 2007, the KNAW Merian-prize for women in science in 2013, the ERC-Synergy Grant for the NEXUS1492 project in 2012, the Spinoza price in 2014, and Distinguished Lorentz Fellow (NIAS) in 2018. She is an elected member of the Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Royal Dutch Scientific Society (KHMW), the Academia Europaea and is corresponding fellow of the British Academy. Between 2013 and 2021 she was a member of the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO.   

Statement about ESOF2022:

For me, ESOF 2022 is instrumental to enable the search for the interfaces between the natural sciences, medical sciences, social sciences, and humanities and to facilitate the building of bridges between science and society. I see this as a multi-way process where mutual understanding, exchange of knowledge and best practices, and co-creation with different stakeholders is key to tackle the current global challenges and safeguard a trustworthy, faithful, and inclusive future.