First local meeting of ESOF 2018 Toulouse

Academic actors and local authorities take action

On 8 April 2016, a kick-off was given to a cycle of meetings in the framework of the preparation for ESOF 2018 in Toulouse. These meetings are dedicated to all current and potential partners with the purpose of creating synergies between scientific, cultural, political and economic communities at local and national levels. Over 170 participants attended the event, which took place at Pierre Baudis Congress Centre in Toulouse, the place where major events of ESOF 2018 will be held. A symposium on the actions of the European Research Council has also been held on the same day in the presence of its president Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The theme “ESOF Toulouse 2018, one more step towards building a Europe of science” has been chosen for the first meeting of this series.

A large panel of institutional representatives and international researchers has been gathered around Marie-France Barthet, president of the Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées and Anne Cambon-Thomsen, ESOF 2018 Champion. In particular:

  • Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, president of the European Research Council;
  • Roger Genet, general director of Research and Innovation at the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research;
  • Bertrand Monthubert, regional adviser for higher education and research, Languedoc Roussillon Midi-Pyrénées region ;
  • Jean-Claude Dardelet, deputy to the Mayor of Toulouse and Vice President at the Toulouse Métropole board;
  • Martin Andler, vice-president of EuroScience;
  • Pierre Montoriol, vice-president of the Toulouse Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

A project which brings everyone together

Marie-France Barthet welcomed the audience by recalling that the Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées is the local organiser of ESOF 2018, a collective and transversal project in accordance with the missions of the institution. Pierre Montoriol on behalf of the Toulouse Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sylvie-Rouillon Valdiguié on behalf of Toulouse Métropole and Bertrand Monthubert on behalf of Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées region stressed the importance of the event, noting that the success and impact of this major European meeting will contribute in long-term benefits for Toulouse Métropole and new Languedoc Roussillon Midi-Pyrénées region, actual ambassadors of the organizing country: France.

ESOF Toulouse 2018 will be the 8th edition of the EuroScience Open Forum after Dublin, Copenhagen and Manchester for the last editions, and it will be hosted for the first time in France. Martin Andler explained its challenges: “carry the voice of researchers and the scientific community in the European debate, in order to create an open space for discussion between science, society and innovation.”

ESOF host city acquires the label “European City of Science”

Jean-Claude Dardelet described how this event fits into the long term strategy of Toulouse, which is already internationally recognized for research and new technologies and wishes to affirm its identity as City of Science. Bertrand Monthubert recalled, that 4% of GDP is spent on research in the Languedoc Roussillon Midi-Pyrénées region, which places it as one of the leading regions in Europe.

Each ESOF has its own personality, linked to the atmosphere of the city, its culture, the personality of its champion, said Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. Anne Cambon-Thomsen then explained the various ingredients of ESOF and the conditions of success that requires the active participation of local actors, gathered around the motto of ESOF Toulouse 2018 “Sharing science: towards new horizons.” It’s a nice incentive to mobilise everyone, scientific, economic, innovation actors, as well as cultural structures who will host in July 2018 over 5000 researchers, leading thinkers, innovators, policy makers and more than 400 journalists from all over Europe and beyond.

A French delegation composed of national and local authorities and partners representatives, as well as the local delivery team, will be present during ESOF 2016 in Manchester, where the ESOF handing over Ceremony between Manchester and Toulouse will be held on 27 July.