On the initiative of Mayor of Katowice, Marcin Krupa, PhD and academic environment represented by Rector of the University of Silesia, Prof. Ryszard Koziołek, Katowice decided to apply for the title of European City of Science in 2024, and consequently, for the organisation of EuroScience Open Forum 2024 (ESOF 2024). The event takes place every two years and is dedicated to key scientific research and innovation for the future of the world. ESOF Katowice 2024 will be one of the most prestigious science and technology events in the world.
BENEFITS FOR THE CITY AWARDED THE EUROPEAN CITY OF SCIENCE TITLE
The resolution of intent of the Katowice City Council on applying for the title of European City of Science in 2024 was adopted on 30 September 2021. Prof. Michael Matlosz, President of EuroScience, stayed in Katowice on 8-10 October 2021. His visit and participation in the 5th Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE, which is led by the University of Silesia, was an opportunity to talk about the candidacy of Katowice and actions related to applying for the title. Today, we are happy to announce officially that we have successfully completed the negotiations with EuroScience. The candidacy of Katowice turned out to be the best, and the capital of Silesian Voivodeship received the title of European City of Science 2024! Our first major activity is the organisation of the conference accompanying EuroScience Open Forum 2022 (ESOF 2022), which will be mainly held in Leiden (The Netherlands), European City of Science 2022.
The title of European City of Science 2024 and the organisation of ESOF2024 conference are the consequence of recognising Katowice, University of Silesia and other universities in Katowice as experienced co-organisers and hosts of such global events as e.g. UN Climate Change Conference (COP24), UN World Urban Forum 2022 and Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE. The Silesian Voivodeship authorities and Metropolis GZM have already confirmed their organisational support with the ECS title for Katowice and local universities. Katowice is the first ever Central and Eastern European city awarded the ECS title. As the European City of Science, Katowice is actually to become the European capital of science!
The institution that awards the title and organises ESOF conference is EuroScience (European Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology). Euroscience is the biggest pan-European association of researchers and scientists.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE EUROPEAN CITY OF SCIENCE TITLE
SEE LEIDEN – EUROPEAN CITY OF SCIENCE
Leiden (The Netherlands) is the European City of Sciences 2022. On this occasion, the city prepared a number of activities and attractive events promoting science and presenting its various aspects. The activities of our partners from Leiden are an example and a role model for Katowice! Together with Leiden we will also organise ESOF 2022 – as a regional hub, we will participate in it in the hybrid form!
The consortium of institutions responsible for awarding the title of European City of Science 2024 to Katowice is formed by:
ABOUT STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
Katowice’s bid for the title of European City of Science 2024, as well as for the right to co-organise EuroScience Open Forum in 2022 and host EuroScience Open Forum in 2024, are a special opportunity and challenge for the academic community of Katowice. They fit in with the idea of replacing heavy and mining industry which recedes into the past with scientific research, advanced education and close cooperation between the universities and their environment as the new development engine for the city, metropolis and region.
The proper use of the title of European City of Science 2024 awarded to Katowice may significantly contribute to increasing the importance of scientific research, academic education and science communication on the level of the city, metropolis and region.
At the same time, the bid is an impulse for the universities to cooperate more closely as parties to this agreement for the purpose of organising prestigious large-scale events, which would exceed the individual potential of any of them. Close cooperation between universities also allows them to apply for investment measures adequate to the capabilities of Katowice, Metropolis GZM and Silesian Voivodeship, corresponding to the needs and ambitions to transform the Upper Silesia into one of the leading European research and education centres, contributing to the increase of its development opportunities and attractiveness for the most creative representatives of young generations, and particularly improving the quality of life for the region inhabitants.
Taking the above into consideration, the parties are establishing a strategic partnership for the implementation of scientific, educational and cultural initiatives intended to prepare and carry out projects implementing the idea of Katowice as European City of Science 2024, including in particular the regional headquarters of registered office of EuroScience Open Forum in 2022, and location of the Forum’s main sessions in 2024.
Moreover, the parties also declare the intent to continue and maintain selected initiatives undertaken as part of this agreement after 2024.
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP GOALS
The universities will prepare and carry out joint scientific, science communication and educational projects, in particular related to:
The projects prepared and carried out within the framework of cooperation will include the pursuit for increasing the social impact of science on the life of the inhabitants of Katowice, Metropolis GZM and Silesian Voivodeship, and in particular strengthening the academic image of Katowice.
The campaign for awarding the prestigious European City of Science 2024 title to Katowice has its roots in several years of dynamic and successful cooperation between the City of Katowice and the University of Silesia in Katowice for the organisation of Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE (ŚFN). Thanks to its five editions, which turned ŚFN into one of the largest science communication events in Poland and Europe, a number of activities were taken in order to establish a modern science centre in the city. Due to the wide-ranging international cooperation (e.g contact with foreign science festivals), ŚFN also began to communicate with EuroScience, which invited Katowice to start individual negotiations for awarding the European City of Science 2024 title.
Announcement on awarding the title of European City of Science 2024 to Katowice and signature of the consortium agreement between ECS 2024 organisers took place on 22 December 2021 during the press conference organised at the Scientific Information Centre and Academic Library (CINiBA). The institutions, consortium members, will cooperate in the preparation and actual events related to awarding the title of European City of Science 2024.
The universities associated in the project are leading the major region transformation – a civilisational leap thanks to the new industry, i.e. science and academic education. The civilisational transformation of Katowice does not mean breaking the bonds with the unique identity of Silesia and Zagłębie, which developed thanks to the huge industry heritage of the region. On the contrary, high technical standards, centuries-long familiarity with advanced technologies and work organisation, primacy of competence and diligence in assessing a human being and the resulting tolerance provide great support in building the innovation and smart industry culture – here, in Katowice, more than anywhere else. And, just like it happened for many centuries, in the near future the region’s science and education industry will retain and attract employees and residents from different parts of Poland and the world, as well as the most talented young people from Silesia and the Zagłębie region.
FOR THE CITY. European City of Science together with ESOF conference is a prestigious brand and provides the host city with a huge opportunity to attract scientists, politicians, businessmen and media representatives from all over the world. It also ensures promotion on the international arena. Katowice is the first ever Central and Eastern European city awarded the ECS title. As the European City of Science, Katowice is actually to become the European Capital of Science!
The development of science in Katowice and Silesia is particularly important because of the long-term industrial exploitation of the region, which devastated the natural environment and health of many generations of its inhabitants. Without high-class research infrastructure we will neither attract outstanding scientists from Poland and the world to Katowice, nor keep the most talented youth at our universities.
FOR INHABITANTS. Winning the title of European City of Science 2024 and the rights to organise the conference is an opportunity to make another development leap. The title will enable to increase the involvement of inhabitants and academic environment in solving local issues (such as e.g. transformation of Rawa boulevards and establishment of dispersed science centre, availability of science and education, post-industrial character of the city, dispersed student culture).
FOR INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT. The title will also improve the capacity to gain funds for investing in regional science and its infrastructure, as well as increase the city’s attractiveness on the international level. No other city in the Central-Eastern Europe has ever had such opportunities to date.
FOR SCIENCE. Without science we will not change the quality and way of life in Silesia. We have been aware of it for a long time. Despite what is said about Silesia and its confinement within the industrial model, there have been two major transformations over the last half century: the establishment of great medical centres in Katowice and Zabrze and spectacular development of culture: music, film, arts, architecture and literature. This change is symbolised by the Culture Zone in Katowice, but it actually spread across the whole region. Time for the third transformation.
Research centres have been present in Silesia since the interwar period, but now the time has come to recognise science as a priority. Especially that the universities in our region are developing fast and they should be regarded as its key civilisational capital. The universities, city and region should undertake Broad, interdisciplinary cooperation for the purpose of systemic diagnosing and modelling of solutions to the problems faced by the city and the region. The universities of Katowice and Silesia should be a great public think-tank serving the needs of city and region inhabitants. The title of European City of Science 2024 will allow to increase the impact of Katowice universities on all aspects of life and improve its international visibility.
PREPARATORY ACTIONS FOR THE FUNCTION OF EUROPEAN CITY OF SCIENCE
The information campaign preparing for the role resulting from the title will be carried out in 2022-2023. The most important events announcing the European City of Science include the sixth and seventh edition of Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE, one of the largest popular science events in Poland and Europe, awarded with EUPRIO 2019 (European Association of Communication Professionals in Higher Education award) and Polish Press Agency award in the team category of Popularizer of Science 2020 (the estimated number of participants of each festival edition is 60,000).
Apart from popular science events and scientific conferences, the partners (City of Katowice, University of Silesia in Katowice and all other universities based in Katowice) will take actions intended to make available and revitalise the urban and academic space for the purpose of promoting science and implementing scientific projects with significant social impact.
As part of the tasks resulting from the title of European City of Science, the partners will carry out a number of popular science events in the region, Metropolis GZM and selected cities near the Silesian Voivodeship. One of the main events is ESOF 2024 co-organised together with EuroScience (the expected number of participants is 10,000). The event takes place every two years and is dedicated to key scientific research and innovation. It is one of the most important science and technology events in the world.