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Special coverage: ESOF 2018

 

This year’s well-known EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) will take place from 9 to 14 July in Toulouse - France’s ‘Pink City’. The event will gather more than 4 000 delegates from over 80 countries, plus 400 journalists and science communicators. Around 35 000 participants are expected to attend 200 satellite events, conferences, workshops and scientific sessions.

And of course, the MCAA will also be there! Fernanda Bajanca unveils what the association has been doing to ensure a strong presence at the event.

 

 

HOW WILL THE MCAA BE REPRESENTED AT ESOF 2018?

The MCAA has mobilised all possible resources to guarantee a strong presence at ESOF 2018. Nearly all MCAA working groups are participating in this project and some MCAA Chapters and Board Members are actively involved. We are proposing sessions for all ESOF 2018 programme streams - scientific, careers, science to business, science in the city - and we are also collaborating with the Commission on a satellite event. Among our members are experts in a variety of themes and a wide network of contacts, which makes it possible to organise high-quality panels on a variety of hot topics. Our proposed sessions will be led by an MCAA member and the panels are composed mainly of external partners and high-profile representatives of the most important stakeholders. We have involved both young and experienced people in the organisation of the sessions, which will of course have gender- and regional-balance.

 

WHAT SESSIONS ARE YOU PLANNING?

We submitted two proposals for the Scientific programme and both were selected:

  • Reaching for Openness. Implementation - The next step for open science, roundtable discussion proposed by Maja Mise;
  • Refugees and Higher Education. A discussion of best practices to integrate displaced students and academics in higher education, roundtable discussion proposed by Miguel Antonio Lim and Andreina Laera.

 

One session already confirmed at the Science in the City programme:

  • European Science Slam @ESOF2018: Smart nights on stage - science in 10 minutes, co-proposed by Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD) and Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG).

The remaining programme sessions are still under evaluation. For the Careers programme, we submitted the following:

  • Volunteering as a way to develop 21st century skills for early stage researchers, workshop proposed by Zsofia Buttel;
  • The lost generation. A discussion on solutions for the overproduction of overqualified researchers without permanent positions, roundtable discussion proposed by Sara Ricardo;
  • Family-Friendly Research to boost Women’s Research Career – How to address work-life conflicts and balance professional and personal life in career development in research, roundtable discussion proposed by Giovanna Avellis;
  • Perspective of Humanities and Social Sciences Researchers. Challenges, Prosperity and Guidance, roundtable discussion proposed by Nina Díaz Fernández;
  • Increasing Awareness of Researcher Mental Health, workshop proposed by Brian Cahill.
  • Researchers Associations beyond borders: how many computations to design an interactive constellation?, proposed by Maria-Antonietta Buccheri

One session submitted for the Science to Business program:

  • Environmental impact of transportation on Europe: view of science and industry, roundtable discussion proposed by Pavlo Bazilinskyy.

 

WHY DOES ESOF 2018 FEATURE SO PROMINENTLY ON YOUR AGENDA?

ESOF has already established itself as the largest interdisciplinary science meeting in Europe. It offers a unique framework not only for debate, but also for networking among researchers, educators, business people, policy-makers, journalists and, importantly, brings science to the general public. Many ideas for scientific progress come from ESOF debates - you can meet so many of the top experts in so many different subjects in the same week, all of them debating with science policy actors, and with the public also present; this is rare! The MCAA is committed to becoming a strong force at ESOF. We want our members to take part in the most influential, topical discussions on science in Europe. Their voices can be heard in this Forum. The sessions we are proposing already bring to the table some of the topics for discussion that we, as researchers, feel need to be seriously addressed by the community in a timely manner. Just by contacting partners to participate in the panels, we have already initiated collaborations and established networks that are proving fruitful. 

 

THE ESOF THEME FOR 2018 IS ‘SHARING SCIENCE: TOWARDS NEW HORIZONS’. WOULD YOU PUT THESE TWO CONCEPTS TOGETHER?

Absolutely. The MCAA Policy working group has Open Science (OS) as one of its main focuses for 2018. This is a movement about sharing science - among researchers and with society - that has long been missing. We do think that the future is Open Science (see https://medium.com/marie-curie-alumni/the-future-is-open-science-dd9484463be6). We are committed to taking an active part in this movement, not only individually as researchers, but also collectively, as an association. We recently co-organised a webinar with EuroScientist entitled ‘What does Open Science really mean?’ (accessible at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u05E-sl_40A), in which Michele Catanzaro, a physicist and renowned science journalist, interviewed a panel of experts on OS. The panel also took questions from an online audience. The interest within the community was immense and we had many requests for follow-up webinars focusing on specific questions related to the implementation of OS. The scientific community is not only ready to share science, it is looking forward to doing so and wants to know how. One of our ESOF 2018 sessions is on the steps required to fully implement Open Science. We have joined together with Open Scholar, FOSTER, Eurodoc, EMBO and representatives from the European Commission to embark on a dynamic discussion with the audience about what is already in place and what we dream about achieving. 

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO MCAA MEMBERS TO CONVINCE THEM THAT ATTENDING ESOF 2018, AND ESPECIALLY THE MCAA SESSIONS, IS WORTHWHILE?

As a colleague and participant in one of the MCAA sessions put it: ESOF is the place to be in 2018! There are lively discussions on hot topics in all fields. There is networking in every corner and opportunities waiting to be discovered. Many workshops will address a variety of themes. You can contribute to discussions that continue outside of the room. Plus there is a rich social programme. All this at the beginning of summer in the south of France, what could be better?! Follow here: https://www.esof.eu/en/