Tag Archives: Euroscience Open Forum

EuroScience Open Forum in Toulouse, France from July 9 to July 14, 2018

A March 22, 2018 EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2018 announcement (received via email) trumpets some of the latest news for this event being held July 9 to July 14, 2018 in Toulouse, France. (Located in the south in the region known as the Occitanie, it’s the fourth largest city in France. Toulouse is situated on the River Garonne. See more in its Wikipedia entry.) Here’s the latest from the announcement,

ESOF 2018 Plenary Sessions

Top speakers and hot topics confirmed for the Plenary Sessions at ESOF 2018

Lorna Hughes, Professor at the University of Glasgow, Chair of the Europeana Research Advisory Board, will give a plenary keynote on “Digital humanities”. John Ioannidis, Professor of Medicine and of Health Research and Policy at Stanford University, famous for his PLoS Medicine paper on “Why most Published Research Findings are False”, will talk about “Reproducibility”. A third plenary will involve Marìa Teresa Ruiz, a Chilean astronomer and the 2017 L’Oreal UNESCO award for Women in Science: she will talk about exoplanets.


ESOF under the spotlights

French President’s high patronage: ESOF is at the top of the institutional agendas in 2018.

“Sharing science”. But also putting science at the highest level making it a real political and societal issue in a changing world. ESOF 2018 has officially received the “High Patronage” from the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron. ESOF 2018 has also been listed by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs among the 27 priority events for France.

A constellation of satellites around the ESOF planet!

Second focus on Satellite events:
4th GEO Blue Planet Symposium organised 4-6 July by Mercator Ocean.
ECSJ 2018, 5th European Conference of Science Journalists, co-organised by the French Association of Science Journalists in the News Press (AJSPI) and the Union of European Science Journalists’ Associations (EUSJA) on 8 July.
– Esprit de Découvertes (Discovery spirit) organised by the Académie des Sciences, Inscriptions et Belles Lettres de Toulouse on 8 July.

More Satellite events to come! Don’t forget to stay long enough in order to participate in these focused Satellite Events and … to discover the city.

The programme for ESOF 2018 can be found here.

Science meets poetry

As has become usual, there is a European City of Science event being held in Toulouse in concert (more or less) with and in celebration of the ESOF event. The City of Science event is being held from July 7 – July 16, 2018.

Organizers have not announced much in the way of programming for the City of Science other than a ‘Science meets Poetry’ meeting,

A unique feature of ESOF is the Science meets Poetry day, which is held at every Forum and brings poets and scientists together.

Indeed, there is today a real artistic movement of poets connected with ESOF. Famous participants from earlier meetings include contributors such as the late Seamus Heaney, Roald Hoffmann [sic] Jean-Pierre Luminet and Prince Henrik of Denmark, but many young and aspiring poets are also involved.

The meeting is in two parts:

  • lectures on subjects involving science with poetry
  • a poster session for contributed poems

There are competitions associated with the event and every Science meets Poetry day gives rise to the publication of Proceedings in book form.

In Toulouse, the event will be staged by EuroScience in collaboration with the Académie des Jeux Floraux of Toulouse, the Société des Poètes Français and the European Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters, under patronage of UNESCO. The full programme will be announced later, but includes such themes as a celebration of the number 7 in honour of the seven Troubadours of Toulouse, who held the first Jeux Floraux in the year 1323, Space Travel and the first poets and scientists who wrote about it (including Cyrano de Bergerac and Johannes Kepler), from Metrodorus and Diophantes of Alexandria to Fermat’s Last Theorem, the Poetry of Ecology, Lafayette’s ship the Hermione seen from America and many other thought-provoking subjects.

The meeting will be held in the Hôtel d’Assézat, one of the finest old buildings of the ancient city of Toulouse.

Exceptionally, it will be open to registered participants from ESOF and also to some members of the public within the limits of available space.

Tentative Programme for the Science meets Poetry day on the 12th of July 2018

(some Speakers are still to be confirmed)

  • 09:00 – 09:30 A welcome for the poets : The legendary Troubadours of Toulouse and the poetry of the number 7 (Philippe Dazet-Brun, Académie des Jeux Floraux)
  • 09:30 – 10:00 The science and the poetry of violets from Toulouse (Marie-Thérèse Esquerré-Tugayé  Laboratoire de Recherche en Sciences Végétales, Université Toulouse III-CNRS)
  • 10:00 –10:30  The true Cyrano de Bergerac, gascon poet, and his celebrated travels to the Moon (Jean-Charles Dorge, Société des Poètes Français)
  • 10:30 – 11:00  Coffee Break (with poems as posters)
  • 11:00 – 11:30 Kepler the author and the imaginary travels of the famous astronomer to the Moon. (Uli Rothfuss, die Kogge International Society of German-language authors )
  • 11:30 – 12:00  Spoutnik and Space in Russian Literature (Alla-Valeria Mikhalevitch, Laboratory of the Russian Academy of Sciences  Saint-Petersburg)
  • 12:00 – 12:30  Poems for the planet Mars (James Philip Kotsybar, the ‘Bard of Mars’, California and NASA USA)
  • 12:30 – 14:00  Lunch and meetings of the Juries of poetry competitions
  • 14:00 – 14:30  The voyage of the Hermione and « Lafayette, here we come ! » seen by an American poet (Nick Norwood, University of Columbus Ohio)
  • 14:30 –  15:00 Alexandria, Toulouse and Oxford : the poem rendered by Eutrope and Fermat’s Last Theorem (Chaunes [Jean-Patrick Connerade], European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, UNESCO)
  • 15:00 –15:30  How biology is celebrated in contemporary poetry (Assumpcio Forcada, biologist and poet from Barcelona)
  • 15:30 – 16:00  A book of poems around ecology : a central subject in modern poetry (Sam Illingworth, Metropolitan University of Manchester)
  • 16:00 – 16:30  Coffee break (with poems as posters)
  • 16:30 – 17:00 Toulouse and Europe : poetry at the crossroads of European Languages (Stefka Hrusanova (Bulgarian Academy and Linguaggi-Di-Versi)
  • 17:00 – 17:30 Round Table : seven poets from Toulouse give their views on the theme : Languages, invisible frontiers within both science and poetry
  • 17:30 – 18:00 The winners of the poetry competitions are announced
  • 18:00 – 18:15 Chaunes. Closing remarks

I’m fascinated as in all the years I’ve covered the European City of Science events I’ve never before tripped across a ‘Science meets Poetry’ meeting. Sadly, there’s no contact information for those organizers. However, you can sign up for a newsletter and there are contacts for the larger event, European City of Science or as they are calling it in Toulouse, the Science in the City Festival,


Camille Rossignol (Toulouse Métropole)


+33 (0)5 36 25 27 83

François Lafont (ESOF 2018 / So Toulouse)


+33 (0)5 61 14 58 47

Travel grants for media types

One last note and this is for journalists. It’s still possible to apply for a travel grant, which helps ease but not remove the pain of travel expenses. From the ESOF 2018 Media Travel Grants webpage,

ESOF 2018 – ECSJ 2018 Travel Grants

The 5th European Conference of Science Journalists (ECSJ2018) is offering 50 travel + accommodation grants of up to 400€ to international journalists interested in attending ECSJ and ESOF.

We are looking for active professional journalists who cover science or science policy regularly (not necessarily exclusively), with an interest in reflecting on their professional practices and ethics. Applicants can be freelancers or staff, and can work for print, web, or broadcast media.

More information

ESOF 2018 Nature Travel Grants

Springer Nature is a leading research, educational and professional publisher, providing quality content to its communities through a range of innovative platforms, products and services and is home of trusted brands including Nature Research.

Nature Research has supported ESOF since its very first meeting in 2004 and is funding the Nature Travel Grant Scheme for journalists to attend ESOF2018 with the aim of increasing the impact of ESOF. The Nature Travel Grant Scheme offers a lump sum of £400 for journalists based in Europe and £800 for journalists based outside of Europe, to help cover the costs of travel and accommodation to attend ESOF2018.

More information

Good luck!

(My previous posting about this ESOF 2018 was Sept. 4, 2017 [scroll down about 50% of the way] should you be curious.)

January 31, 2016 deadlines for early bird tickets (ESOF) and conference abstracts (emerging technologies)

ESOF 2016 (EuroScience Open Forum)

Early bird tickets for this biennial science conference are available until Jan.  31, 2016 according to a Jan. 18, 2016 email notice,

Our most affordable tickets are available to purchase until the end of the month, so make sure you get yours before they disappear. Prices start from only £75 for a full four-day pass for early careers researchers (up to 5 years post doc), and £225 for a full delegate pass. All registrations are entitled to a year long complimentary subscription to Nature at this time.

You can also book your accommodation when you register to attend ESOF. We have worked hard with our city partners to bring you the best deals for your stay in Manchester. With the summer set to be busy with not only ESOF but major international sporting events, make sure you take advantage of these deals.

To register to attend please click here

You can find out more about the event which takes place from July 23 – 27, 2016 in Manchester, England here and/or you can watch this video,

For any interested journalists, media registration has opened (from the Jan. 18, 2016 notice),

Media registration opens

We are delighted to announce our ESOF press accreditation is available for journalists and science communications professionals to register for the conference. Accreditation provides complimentary access to the full ESOF programme, social events and a range of exclusive press only activities. Further details of the eligibility criteria and registration process can be found here.

Nature Publishing Group offers journalists a travel grant which will cover most if not all the expenses associated with attending 2016 ESOF (from the ESOF Nature Travel Grant webpage),

The Nature Travel Grant Scheme offers journalists and members of media organisations from around the world the opportunity to attend ESOF for free. The grant offers complimentary registration as well as help covering travel and accommodation costs.

1. Purpose

Created by EuroScience, the biennial ESOF – EuroScience Open Forum – meeting is the largest pan-European general science conference dedicated to scientific research and innovation. At ESOF meetings leading scientists, researchers, journalists, business people, policy makers and the general public from all over the world discuss new discoveries and debate the direction that research is taking in the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

Springer Nature is a leading global research, educational and professional publisher, home to an array of respected and trusted brands providing quality content through a range of innovative products and services, including the journal Nature. Springer Nature was formed in 2015 through the merger of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media. Nature Publishing Group has supported ESOF since its very first meeting in 2004.

Similar to the 2012 and 2014 edition of meeting, Springer Nature is funding the Nature Travel Grant Scheme for journalists to attend ESOF2016 with the aim to increase the impact of ESOF.

2. The Scheme

In addition to free registration, the Nature Travel Grant Scheme offers a lump sum of £450 for UK based journalists, £600 for journalists based in Europe and £800 for journalists based outside of Europe, to help cover the costs of travel and accommodation to attend ESOF2016.

3. Who can apply?

All journalists irrespective of their gender, age, nationality, place of residence and media type (paper, radio, TV, web) are welcome to apply. Media accreditation will be required.

4. Application procedure

To submit an application sign into the EuroScience Conference and Membership Platform (ESCMP) and click on “Apply for a Grant”. Follow the application procedure.

On submitting the application form for travel grants, you agree to the full acceptance of the rules and to the decision taken by the Selection Committee.

The deadline for submitting an application is February 29th 2016, 12:00 pm CET.

Good luck!

4th Annual Governance of Emerging Technologies: Law, Policy and Ethics Conference

Here’s more about the conference (deadline for abstracts is Jan. 31, 2016) from the conference’s Call for Abstract’s webpage,

Fourth Annual Conference on
Governance of Emerging Technologies: Law, Policy, and Ethics

May 24-26, 2016, Tempe, Arizona

Call for abstracts:

The co-sponsors invite submission of abstracts for proposed presentations.  Submitters of abstracts need not provide a written paper, although provision will be made for posting and possible post-conference publication of papers for those presenters interested in such options.  Although abstracts are invited for any aspect or topic relating to the governance of emerging technologies, some particular themes that will be emphasized at this year’s conference include existential or catastrophic risks, governance implications of algorithms, resilience and emerging technologies, artificial intelligence, military technologies, and gene editing.

Abstracts should not exceed 500 words.
Abstracts must be submitted by January 31, 2016 to be considered.
Decisions on abstracts will be made by the program committee and communicated by February 29 [2016]. 

Funding: The sponsors will pay for the conference registration (including all conference meals) for one presenter for each accepted abstract.  In addition, we will have limited funds available for travel subsidies in whole or in part.  After completing your abstract online, you will be asked if you wish to apply for a travel subsidy.  Any such additional funding will be awarded based on the strength of the abstract, demonstration of financial need, and/or the potential to encourage student authors and early-career scholars.  Accepted presenters for whom conference funding is not available will need to pay their own transportation and hotel costs.

For more information, please contact Lauren Burkhart at Lauren.Burkhart@asu.edu.

You don’t often see conference organizers offering to pay registration and meals for a single presenter from each accepted submission. Good luck!

Apply for media travel grant to attend EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2014

The deadline for applications is Friday March 14, 2014 at 13:00 CET. For those who like a little more information or are unfamiliar with the EuroScience Open Forum, here’s a description from the ESOF hub homepage along with a description of the parent organization, EuroScience,

ESOF – EuroScience Open Forum – is the biennial pan-European meeting dedicated to scientific research and innovation. At ESOF meetings leading scientists, researchers, young researchers, business people, entrepreneurs and innovators, policy makers, science and technology communicators and the general public from all over Europe discuss new discoveries and debate the direction that research is taking in the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

EuroScience (ES) is a European non-profit grassroots association open to research professionals, teachers, students, science administrators, policy-makers, etc. and generally to any citizen interested in science and technology and its links with society. EuroScience represents not only European scientists of all ages, disciplines and nationalities but also from the business sector and public institutions such as universities and research institutes.

The 2014 ESOF is being held in Copenhagen, Denmark from June 21 – 26, 2014 with the general theme of ‘Science Building Bridges’ and following on that theme there are eight scientific themes (from the Scientific Themes page),

The Healthy Society

In recent years, scientific and technological developments have contributed to major progress in the health of individuals and for societies at large. What are the future roads to increased health in the world? How will science, technology and innovation contribute to this development? Where are the major challenges and possibilities?

Possible issues: Epidemology; Holistic Medicine; Healthy Workforces and Public Budgets; Ageing; Personalized Medicine; Telemedicine; Obesity; The Globalization of Disease; Diet, Physical Activity and
Health; Biomarkers; Gene Therapy; etc.

A Revolution of the Mind

Brain research and cognitive neuroscience have opened our understanding of the human mind. What should we use the knowledge for? What are the consequences for thinking and practice in academic, political and commercial life? And should new knowledge of the brain change our conception of human beings?

Possible issues: Neurobiology of Disease; Therapeutic Interventions; Mental Health; Arts and Pleasure; Behaviour and Marketing; Cognition and Computation; Animal Modelling; Ageing; Degeneration and
Regeneration; Physical Exercise and Mind; Development of Brain and Learning; etc.

Global Resource Management

Natural resources are essential for sustaining basic human welfare, e.g. drinking water and food. Moreover, for most industries some natural resources are necessary to manufacture products, e.g. metals, rare earths, water and bio-materials. The need for resources is stressing ecosystems and economic development. How can scientific and technological developments secure an effective and timely response for the global need for resources? How can resilience be built in?

Possible issues: Deep Sea Mining; Food Security; Geopolitics; Recycling; Oceanography; Environmental Administration; Ecosystem Services; Space Informatics; Geology; Water Management; Global Engineering; Global Justice; Efficient transport; Etc.

Learning in the 21st Century

Well-educated and knowledgeable citizens are essential for inclusive and vibrant societies. But what are the skills and knowledge needed in the future? And how should we learn them – are the days of national,
educational systems over and does science and technology offer ways to improve our ways of learning?

Possible themes: Early Childhood Learning; Life Long Learning; Assessment and Evaluation; Educational Organization and Leadership; Literacies; Science, Mathematics and Technology; Informal Learning; Mass education; Globalization; Higher Education; New Devices for Learning; Brain Development and Learning; Epigenetics and Learning; etc.

Green Economy

According to key parameters, the climate system is already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability. Many researchers, politicians, businesses and interest groups have responded with a call for a green economy that bridges continued economy growth and a sustainable, global ecosystem. Can science and technology deliver on this transition?

Possible themes: Fossil-based Energy; Forecasting; Future Energy Solutions; Economic Modelling; Renewable Energy; Transportation; Climate change; Climate Adaptation; Public-driven Transformation;
Eco-building; etc.

Material and Virtual World

The fundamental understanding of materials has shifted the borders of engineering and production. Moreover, the breakthroughs in information and communication technologies have altered our perceptions of what constitutes reality. Where will the next scientific breakthroughs take us?

Possible themes: Engineering; Surveillance, Nanotechnologies; Quantum computation; Industrial Virtual Reality; Simulation; Industrial Technologies; Manufacturing, Robotics; Human Enhancement; etc.

Urbanization, Design and Liveability

Forecasts claim that the future will be urbanized. So the grand challenges need to be faced in an urban setting. Moreover, the cities need to sustain and enhance urban areas as a place of vitality, liveability and accessibility – how can science, technology and innovation support the design of solutions?

Possible themes: Migration; Governance; Economic Growth; Rural-urban Transformations; Healthy Cities; Liveability; Demography; Water Management; Urban Planning, Security; Transportation, Welfare Design; Poverty; Regionalization; Waste Management; Sharing Economy; etc.

Science, Democracy & Citizenship

Science and scientists can facilitate, interrupt or enrich democratic decision making. When should science be the privileged provider of knowledge and when are scientists citizens? What should be the division of labour between facts and norms; between science and democracy?

Possible themes: Ethics; GMOs; Knowledge Society; Evidence-based Policy; Policy for Science; Climate Change; Authority; Social Choice; Deliberative Democracy; Trust; Institutionalism; Democratization; etc.

The ESOF 2014 website is easy to navigate and you can find out who has already signed up as a participant and/or speaker, as well as, many other details.

Getting back to the media travel grants,

1. – Purpose

The organisers of Europe’s largest general science event, EuroScience Open Forum, invite journalists from around the world to apply for media travel grants. It is expected that 250 media representatives will be at the science forum in Copenhagen from 21-26 June 2014.

The slogan of EuroScience Open Forum 2014 in Copenhagen (ESOF2014) is ‘Science Building Bridges’. One of the main objectives of the event is to build links between the media and the research community by providing a platform where journalists can discuss and report on the latest scientific developments.

To secure that journalists from a broad range of news organisations take part, EuroScience Open Forum 2014 in Copenhagen has announced its Media Travel Grant Scheme.

2. – The scheme

The ESOF2014 Secretariat offers a lump sum of €750 to help cover the costs of travel and accommodation for journalists who wish to report from ESOF2014.

Please note that all expenses covered must be in accordance with the travel guidelines issued by the Danish Agency for Science and Innovation. This means that all travel must be on economy class only and that accommodation expenses must not exceed €135 per night (February 2014).

3. – Who can apply?

Journalists irrespective of their gender, age, nationality, place of residence and media (newspaper, news agency, magazine, radio, TV or New Media) are welcome to apply. [emphasis mine]

4. – Application procedure

To submit an application, please follow the application procedure here

On submitting the application form for the travel grant, you agree to the full acceptance of the rules and to the decisions taken by the ESOF2014 Media Travel Grant Selection Committee.

The deadline for submitting an application is Friday 14 March 2014 at 13:00 CET.

5. – Selection Committee and decision

The Selection Committee is composed of members of the ESOF2014 Secretariat and the ESOF2014 International Media and Marketing Committee.

The selection of candidates will be based on the applicant’s CV and motivation statement. The Selection Committee will also strive to secure that various countries and types of media are represented in the group of successful applicants.

An e-mail with the decision will be sent in early April 2014 to all applicants stating whether or not their application has been successful.

6. – Payment conditions

Money will be transferred to the grantees after ESOF2014, subject to:

  • Mandatory participation at EuroScience Open Forum 2014 in Copenhagen.
  • Provision of documentation for travel and accommodation expenses up to a total of €750*
  • Completion of a feedback questionnaire regarding the scheme.

Good luck and one final comment. The ‘building bridges’ theme reminded me of an Oct. 21, 2010 posting where I was discussing Copenhagen, creativity, and science within the context of then recent research into what makes some cities attractive to scientists,

When the Øresund bridge connecting Copenhagen, Denmark, with Malmö, Sweden, opened in 2000, both sides had much to gain. Sweden would get a physical connection to the rest of mainland Europe; residents of Copenhagen would have access to cheaper homes close to the city; and economic cooperation would increase. But Christian Matthiessen, a geographer at the University of Copenhagen, saw another benefit — the joining of two burgeoning research areas. “Everyone was talking about the transport of goods and business connections,” he says, “and we argued that another benefit would be to establish links between researchers.”

Ten years later, those links seem to be strong. The bridge encouraged the establishment of the ‘Øresund region’, a loose confederation of nine universities, 165,000 students and 12,000 researchers. Co-authorship between Copenhagen and the southernmost province of Sweden has doubled, says Matthiessen. The collaborations have attracted multinational funds from the European Union. And the European Spallation Source, a €1.4-billion (US$2-billion) neutron facility, is on track to begin construction in Lund, Sweden, in 2013.

The region’s promoters claim that it is emerging as a research hub of northern Europe, aided in part by construction of the bridge. For Matthiessen, the bridge also inspired the start of a unique research project — to catalogue the growth and connections of geographical clusters of scientific productivity all over the world. [emphases mine]

You can find the Nature article by Richard Van Noorden describing research about cities and why they are or aren’t attractive to scientists here.

European and Asian science get cozy

The Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) meeting scheduled July 11 – 15, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland features a session on titled ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) – EU (European Union) Partnership Symposium: A Year of Science. Few details are available in the programme but I have found more information in a Feb. 23, 2012 news item on Nanowerk about Thailand’s NANOTEC,

NANOTEC researchers participated as speakers during the visit of science journalist from 8 European nations. The visit is organized under the umbrella of the FP7 funded SEA-EU-NET project, in which NSTDA [Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency]  is a partner, and the ASEAN-EU Year of Science, Technology and Innovation 2012.

I guess it makes a certain kind of sense that I found out more about ASEAN in a news item originating from Thailand as it turns out that ASEAN was founded in Thailand in 1967. Meanwhile, the SEA-EU-NET website provides some insight into this ‘alphabet soup’ of international scientific cooperation (from the home page),

We are deepening S&T [science and technology] cooperation between Europe and Southeast Asia in a strategic manner by identifying opportunities for S&T cooperation, creating a policy dialogue between the countries of Europe and Southeast Asia on S&T cooperation, and increasing the participation of researchers from Southeast Asia in the EC’s Seventh Framework programme (FP7). FP7 is the European Commission’s €53 billion programme for funding research and is open to Southeast Asia partners across research institutions, universities, and industry (including SMEs).

Here’s a bit more about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ and European Union’s Science and Technology Year 2012,

The EU-ASEAN Year of STI 2012 is a SEA-EU-NET activity which was launched in November 2011 and will be carried out during 2012. Offering a plattform for the bi-regional STI dialogue, this activity coordinates a wide variety of joint scientific and technological events.

I hope I can get to Dublin to hear more about this ASEAN – EU effort.

AAAS 2012 Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 roundup: quantum computing, nanocellulose, religion & science in the classroom, and ESOF in Dublin

Strangely, I have an increased interest in quantum computing after attending a few session yesterday where I didn’t understand much of anything in detail. There was the ‘Quantum Computing: Current Status and Future Prospects” session where various speakers spoke eloquently about their discoveries and outstanding challenges. There was a plea for researcher to keep the field ‘open’ and not to focus exclusively on one line of research or one material (don’t focus solely graphene/silicon/carbon nanotubes/etc.) as the ‘holy grail’ of quantum computing. The other ‘quantum’ session, “Quantum Information Science and Technology: A Global Perspective,” featured researchers working in China, Singapore, Canada, Germany, and the US. Unfortunately, I only managed to attend part of the session. (One of the problems with conferences is the number of sessions being run simultaneously and trying to attend as much ass possible means makings all kinds of compromises. It’s a good problem to have.)

The “NanoCellulose : An Abundant, Sustainable, Versatile Biopolymer” session was partly concurrent with the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) press briefing so I managed to hear only two of their (nanocellulose) speakers, Ted Wegman of the US Forest Service and Nils Petersen, Director General of Canada’s National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT). Wegman presented an overview of nanocellulose research progress in the US and its potential use in many products while Petersen focussed on the NINT research team and their projects. Petersen did mention the overall Canadian scene somewhat summarily.It was not the presentation described in the programme and it had the air of something cobbled together out of well worn material.

ETA Feb.19.12 at 9:50 am: Wegman mentioned two nanocellulose plants being readied in the US, one being in the state of Maine (100Kg/day?)  and the other in the state of Wisconsin (opening in April/May 2012 and producing 20Kg/day). (I will check those numbers.)

The ESOF briefing promised some excitement at the July meeting in Dublin. They released their programming schedule and spoke at length about the science meeting and the related cultural activities being planned. (I’ll have more about that in a later posting.) The AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) representative, Al Teich, noted that the US is having to grapple with a changing landscape regarding science and research (in other words, no longer being the ‘top dog’) and he explicitly stated that the ESOF meetings are fun. I guessed that from the previews (A tale of two cities and their science meetings: vibrant Dublin and sad sack Vancouver) but it’s nice to hear it confirmed.

One other thing, the “Beyond Evolution: Religious Questions in Science Classrooms” was one of those presentations I attended accidentally and I’m sorry I didn’t hear more. They were discussing science as process rather than doctrine and there was some discussion about the impact various religions had on scientific progress.

A tale of two cities and their science meetings: vibrant Dublin and sadsack Vancouver

I gnashed my teeth as I read Humphrey Jones’ description of the preview for the Euroscience Open Forum in Dublin, Ireland. Envy is a terrible sin but there is no other word to describe my feelings on seeing this (and more in his Jan. 26, 2012 posting on The Frog Blog,

The varied members of Ireland’s science community crammed in to the Convention Centre Dublin this morning to officially launch Dublin as the European City of Science 2012. Politicians, scientists, educators, science journalists, bloggers, policy makers and others were treated to a slick and inspiring launch, which genuinely created an air of excitement for the year ahead. [emphasis mine] The launch was MC’d by Irish comedian, TV presenter and science enthusiast Dara O’Briain (with whom I had a great chat to about science blogging and the nature of effective science programming), who spoke of his love of science and what it means for him to act as a science ambassador for Dublin City of Science 2012. He was joined on stage by Patrick Cunningham (Chief Science Advisor to the Government), Richard Bruton (Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation), Seán Sherlock (Junior Minister in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation), Aoibhinn Ni Shúilleabháin (Dublin City of Science 2012 Ambassador) and Andrew Montague (Lord Mayor of Dublin & former Veterinary scientist). Each spoke with passion on what the City of Science title meant to them and of the 160 events planned during the “celebration of science” to come over the next 11 months.

So what of these 160 events? …

By contrast, I offer my own experience at the recent ‘preview’ for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2012 annual meeting in Vancouver (Canada) next month.

To give you a sense of the magnitude of this event from a Canadian perspective (if you don’t already know), it’s helpful to know that there are no major Canadawide meetings for scientists outside their respective specialties. The last time we had this kind of general meeting was 30 years ago (and that too was a AAAS annual meeting) in Toronto.  Here’s my description of the launch for the 2012 meeting exactly one week ago today (Jan. 19, 2012 posting),

The preview was well organized and proceeded quite smoothly although I’m not sure about its actual purpose. Generally, a press conference of this type is called to generate excitement and interest. …

There were a few moments in the preview where excitement and interest threatened to make an appearance. Julio Montaner, Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and Karen Bakker, a Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology at the University of  British Columbia, spoke with passion and fervour about their areas of expertise and for a few moments the room buzzed quietly. …

Otherwise, the preview was a bit lacklustre.

The organizers didn’t give me much to work with. I can’t fathom why the organizers, particularly the Vancouver committee,  gave up an opportunity to reach beyond the scientists, science journalists, and science enthusiasts to create some excitement about science in Canada and about science in Vancouver.

I cannot imagine a greater contrast between two press conferences launching science events. Bravo to the Irish!

I have mentioned The Frog Blog before but here’s a quick refresher anyway (from The Frog Blog About page)

The Frog Blog is a website created by Humphrey Jones and Jeremy Stone, science teachers of St. Columba’s College, Dublin, Ireland. It aims to provide an online tool for the promotion of science within our school, and across the country. While it is designed for the pupils of St. Columba’s, we hope it has wide appeal


Travel grant to Euroscience Open Forum 2012

Dublin (Ireland) will be the City of Science for 2012 (as per my April 29, 2011 posting) and, as part of the festivities, will be hosting the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) in July. From the Dublin City of Science 2012 page about the travel grants to attend ESOF,

Created by Euroscience, ESOF – Euroscience Open Forum – is the biennial pan-European meeting dedicated to scientific research and innovation. At ESOF meetings leading scientists, researchers, young researchers, journalists, business people, entrepreneurs and innovators, policy makers, science and technology communicators and the general public from all over the world discuss new discoveries and debate the direction that research is taking in the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

If I read the details correctly, you can be reimbursed for up to 750 euros if your application is successful. From the travel grants page,

Journalists irrespective of their nationalities and of their media (paper, radio, TV, web). Media accreditation will be required.

The Selection Committee is:
•    Philip Campbell, (Editor at Nature Publishing Group)
•    Gail Cardew,  (Chair of the ESOF Supervisory Board)
•    Ruth Francis, (Head of Press at Nature Publishing Group)
•    Carl Johan Sundberg, (Euroscience Vice-President)

The eligibility criteria will mainly be based on the CV assessment and the applicant’s motivation statement in attending ESOF2012.

An email of decision will be sent to all candidates stating whether or not their application has been selected and whether they have secured a grant. (February 2012)

The deadline is Jan. 31, 2012. Go here to submit an application (you will have to register for an account as ESOF if you haven’t already). Good luck!