Dublin: European City of Science 2012

The European City of Science is a recently introduced European Union programme that sees a major European city chosen biennially by the Supervisory Board of Euroscience, an organisation based in Strasbourg, for scientific and technological research.
Dublin’s bid to host the European City of Science 2012 had been in preparation since 2008. It brought together the scientific, academic and industrial establishment of Ireland. Over fifty stakeholders came together under the stewardship of the Chief Scientific Adviser and Senior Executive of the Bid. The prestigious title was formerly held by Stockholm (2004), Munich (2006), Barcelona (2008) and Turin (2010).
The principal event is the hosting of Europe’s largest science conference dedicated to scientific research and innovation. The Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) attracts leading scientists, researchers at all levels, business people, entrepreneurs and innovators, policy makers, science and technology experts and communicators. Adding great prestige, in 2012 three joint Nobel Prize laureates are expected to attend, James Watson (1962), Peter Doherty (1996) and Jules Hoffman (2011).
European City of Science 2012 To be held at the capital’s new Convention Centre from 12 to 16 July, the theme of ESOF 2012 is “Where Creativity and Great Science Meet”. Dublin’s aim is to attract 8,000 Irish and international delegates while engaging 50,000 citizens in a truly Olympics of European Research style event. It will include members of the public from all over Europe to discuss new discoveries and debate the direction that research is taking in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. It is a unique international and multidisciplinary forum to present and discuss the frontiers of scientific and technological research in Europe and contribute to the development of a European scientific identity together with bridging the gap between science and society in stimulating policies to support scientific research.
The official launching took place at the city’s Convention Centre on 26 January 2012. The Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, hailed the decision to grant the title to Dublin in recognition of the great strides Ireland has made in the area. It will see a year long programme of science events to bring to the fore the best in Irish science and research. An innovative science themed festival will run during the year throughout Ireland combining the best of Irish culture, arts and science. Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in March will include science themed activities and events for young and old.
In showcasing the best of Irish culture, arts and science a new and innovative programme of science themed events across Dublin and Ireland will consist of photographic and art exhibitions, several theatre pieces, film festivals, tours, trails and treasure hunts, street performances, science buskers, large-scale interactive installations, experiments, science carnivals, public talks, debates, workshops and even a fashion show.
Throughout 2012 Dublin’s public libraries will run a coordinated programme of events with a scientific theme that will be adopted in all relevant programmes. It will include talks, workshops and exhibitions catering for all ages. Scientists, schools and community groups will be involved in the projects.
With the streets of Dublin as a broad canvas, the public will be both inspired and prompted to discuss and debate the value and merits of scientific issues, themes and opinions in a discourse that is important to all. Putting Irish science on the map, there will be selected sites highlighting both modern and historic Irish science venues. Events will be added to the programme throughout the year.
Ita Marguet, February 2012
Note: Acknowledgement is given to sources used in this text. It follows a number of texts by the author about Ireland and its connections to the wider world both past and present.