ESOF2020 hybrid format was huge hit

An innovative format gathered top-quality scientific discussion that achieved resounding success among on-site and online participants.

Trieste, 7 September 2020

ESOF2020 Trieste won its bet. The presence of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte sealed the success of the extraordinary organisational challenge and gave the Trieste System international fame. “ESOF 2020 has provided an innovative hybrid organisational model, something that should not be taken for granted. On top of that I would like to highlight the scientific relevance of the discussions made in the past days,” says Stefano Fantoni, ESOF2020 Champion. “I really hope my call to create an international institute on sustainability, based in part on the ideas heard in these days, will be answered,” he adds. “Among those sessions that struck a chord the most, there were the one that dealt with how agronomic innovation can contribute to mitigating climate change, and the one on how powerful supercomputers can help to find new strategic solutions for sustainable development, including those based on artificial intelligence. Finally, yesterday we talked a lot about quantum technology. The Trieste Institute for the Theory of Quantum Technologies, a project by SISSAICTP, and the University of Trieste, shows that in this area we have what it takes to be a leader in this field, something that stood out at yesterday’s panel. In these days we saw the proof that an ecosystem of vital knowledge works only if there are of course research, education, but communication as well. Here in Trieste there are all these three pillars”.
The event in numbers

Some 2500 people registered for the event; among these, more than 1000 participated in person and 1400 people connected remotely every day. On average each event was attended online by around 300 people, and the event saw 4300 overall virtual visits. ESOF2020 was in the global spotlight: online visitors came from 52 countries across 5 continents.

As regards online communication, and in particular social networks, the ESOF2020 Facebook page has reached more than half a million people, with 26,000 interactions. There were 200,000 interactions on Twitter and 237,000 visits on the ESOF2020 website.

ESOF2020 also had considerable media coverage, with more than 700 mentions in print and on the web during the days of the conference. To these were added 60 television segments, of which 30 were at national level, as well as 30 mentions on national and regional radio. The event was reported by all the major Italian newspapers: La RepubblicaCorriere della SeraLa Stampa; and Il Sole24Ore. There was also daily live coverage by Tgcom24, a wide coverage of RAI both locally and nationally (RaiNews24, TG1, TG2, TG3, TG Leonardo, Radio3Scienza, and RAIFVG). Several international newspapers also wrote about ESOF, including BBC, SciDev, VaticanNews, and Sciences et Avenir.

In collaboration with Rai, a series of eight videos and ten podcasts entitled Magazzino 26, in homage to the historic building of Porto Vecchio, have been created to describe Trieste, the European City of Science. The videos are available on Raicultura ( while the podcasts can be found on Radio 3 (
From September 2nd, the new programme by Armando Traverso and the DJ puppet “Viva la Scienza” also started on Rai Radio Kids.

Science in the City festival: some exhibitions continue until November
Kicking off in July but with numerous events during the days of ESOF, the Science in the City festival was a great success with the public. Most of the events during the festival recorded the maximum attendance allowed by anti-COVID restrictions. Up to now, 190 events have been organized within the festival, proposed by more than 200 organizations. These include 27 theatrical performances, 45 lectures, 27 guided tours, 10 concerts, 27 workshops and a Maker Faire. Most of the events took place in the city of Trieste, but also in Gorizia, Capriva del Friuli, Aurisina, Udine, Muggia, Pordenone, Turriaco and Gradisca d’Isonzo.

There were 25 exhibitions organized. We highlight the 17 still open to the public:

  • “CYBORN L’alba di un mondo artificiale” (Salone degli Incanti) until 10 November 2020
  • “XTREME: Vivere in ambienti estremi” (Magazzino delle Idee) until 11 Octobe 2020
  • “Code of the Universe” (Piazza Unità d’Italia) until 17 September 2020
  • “Marcello Dudovich (1878-1962). Fotografia fra arte e passione” (Scuderie del Castello di Miramare) unitl 30 September 2020
  • “Terremoto! Potres! Earthquake!” (Spazio Filatelia) until 30 September 2020
  • “Dal telegrafo al satellite” (Palazzo delle Poste) until 30 September 2020
  • “La Scienza della Visione. Fotografia e strumenti ottici all’epoca di Massimiliano d’Asburgo” (Castello di Miramare) until 13 September 2020
  • “Fisica&Arte contro la CO2 – Lo Specchio Lineare ed il Ciclo Chiuso delle Biomasse” (Biblioteca Statale Stelio Crise) until 11 September 2020
  • “I miei pùpoli. Gaetano Kanizsa scienziato e artista.” (Museo Revoltella) fino al 30 settembre
  • “Naturografie – Un dialogo tra arte, natura e uomo” (Sala Umberto Veruda, Palazzo Costanzi) until 8 September 2020
  • “Robotics, Festival di Arte e Robotica e altre Tecnologie” (Museo d’arte Moderna Ugo Carà) until 27 September 2020
  • “Itinerari della non-memoria. REFLEXUS, sguardi sulla vecchiaia” (CasaViola), until 10 September 2020
  • “TACT&ART – Memorie dal sottosuolo, cronaca di una pandemia” (Sala Xenia) until 21 September 2020
  • “INSIDE AUT – autismo, creatività, emozioni” (Sala Attilio Selva di Palazzo Gopcevich) until 14 September 2020
  • “Neuro_Revolution” (MLZ Art Dept) until 16 October 2020
  • “Cathedral Effect” (Galleria Prologo, Gorizia e Spazio d’arte Trart, Trieste) unitl 11 September 2020
  • “Il Proteo racconta… Una vita nelle tenebre, scienza ed eredità culturale” (Speleovivarium “Erwin Pichl”) until 8 September 2020

A model for Science Diplomacy
There was a particular focus on Science Diplomacy, with about 10 sessions dedicated to the topic. Several projects focused on research and internationalization attracted the local and remote public; among them “Building Bridges”, “Scientific Diplomacy for Freedom”, and the issue of refugee scientists, with outstanding presentations by American economist Jeffrey Sachs, CERN Director Fabiola Gianotti, and Ghanya Al-Naqeb, from Yemen, who shared her personal experience as a refugee scientist. This confirms that Trieste and the Mediterranean region are, quite rightly, fertile ground for merging different cultures, institutions and people moving towards a common future
Tecnoconference. Management of online content
“Our challenge on the occasion of ESOF2020 was to design together with the organizers—in an extremely short time, about two months—an IT system that would allow us to respect the principle of the Open Forum with which ESOF was born,” says Alberto Boccanelli, Key Account Manager of Tecnoconference, Multimedia Strategy Partner of FIT who took care of the online part of the Forum. “On-site participants and remote speakers came from 52 countries and 5 continents. All scientific content is immediately available and will remain so until the end of the year. An international faculty composed of hundreds of experts connected remotely, LIS interpreters connected live from Holland, inaugural and closing ceremonies with remote guests, platform integration for users of the experiment with quantum technology between Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the Rector of the University of Trieste, Roberto Di Lenarda: we have created perhaps more events by working ‘openly’ together today than we all could have expected a few months ago”.

Press contacts
Leo Brattoli
+ 39 335 1236284

Marina D’Alessandro
+ 39 349 2885935