ESOF Press Conferences

Press Conferences

In addition to the general sessions, ESOF 2018 will provide a special Media Programme to the accredited journalists covering ESOF. This includes ESOF daily briefings and invited press conferences. The schedule is currently under construction and will be released on the website in due time.

The press conferences will take place at the 3nd floor.

ESOF 2018 Press Conferences

Press briefings 10 July

Press briefings 10 July

Information for reporters attending ESOF about press briefings taking place on Tuesday 10 July 

All briefings are under embargo until the time of the press conference or to the programme session they are connected to, whichever is earlier. 


09.30: Exploitative marketing of under-regulated stem cell clinics  

Room: Daurat 

Full session 10.15, Tuesday 10 July 

  • Ana S. Iltis, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Wake Forest University on "Ethics, Science, and Stem Cell-Based Interventions" She will describe the ethical concerns raised by providing unproven and sometimes highly-risky stem cell-based interventions to patients without regulatory oversight. 
  • Timothy Caulfield, LL.M., Professor of Law and Public Health, University of Alberta on  "Marketing of Unproven Stem Cell Treatments" and discuss traditional and new media representations of unproven treatments and public perceptions which promote unproven and anti-science ideas. 
  • Kirstin R.W. Matthews, Ph.D., Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, on "Politics and Unregulated Stem Cell Clinics" will describe US political and legal fights for and against unproven stem cell-based interventions. It will include discussions of views by President Trump and state legislators as well as legal cases against clinics. 


10.00:Carlos Moedas, The European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation will brief  

media following his plenary lecture.  

Room: Servanty 


11.00 Museum of Toulouse: An enigma of more than 160 years finally resolved 

Room: Daurat 

New discovery in Paleontology: the first skull found of the Mastodonte des Pyrenees 

September 2017, the Natural History of Toulouse carries out excavations in the Coteaux  

du Comminges in order to extract the skull of an imposing fossil animal of the Miocene: a  

Gomphotherium. It was clear that this skull had unusual characteristics. Back at  

the museum, the first clearance proceedings confirmed our suspicions: We had in front of us  

the first skull ever found of the Mastodonte des Pyrenees. 

Until today, this animal was known only by 4 molars discovered in 1857. The imposing size and simplicity of these teeth characterizes this species. Since that date, despite numerous excavations, the absence of discovery of new remains has only increased the mystery around this species. 

Mr. David Castex owner after a fortuitous discovery, authorized the excavations by the Museum of Toulouse and offered the fossil to the establishment. The release of the skull is currently underway in our laboratory. The study conducted under the direction of Pascal Tassy, emeritus professor at the National Natural History Museum, can then begin and finally lift the mysteries of kinship relations with the lineage of Gomphotherium. 


11.30 Nature Press Briefing - EMBARGO 19.00 CET  

Room: Servanty 

A panel of guest speakers will discuss a paper from this week’s Nature. EMBARGOED press materials for the session will be available within the onsite ESOF Press Centre or via  The embargo will lift at 19:00 CET on Wednesday 11 July when the paper is published. 


12.00 Plastics in the ocean 

Room: Daurat 

Two linked sessions on Tuesday 10 July: 08.45: Plastic pollution in the ocean: environmental perspectives & 11.30:  Scientists and citizens unite to combat plastic pollution in the ocean 

  • Alexandra Ter Halle: Laboratoire des IMRCP CNRS +33 6 70 08 36 16 
  • Patrick Deixonne: Expedition 7th Continent 
  • Richard Thomson: University of Plymouth 


13.30 Petition on the Horizon EU budget by the Initiative for Science in Europe 

Room: Daurat 

The ISE believes that the proposal for Horizon Europe Programme from 2021 to 2027 falls 

short of the ambitious effort required from Europe to face the growing geopolitical challenges as well as the high level of competition from Asia which spends vastly more on R&D in percentage GDP. The petition urges the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission to go one step further in budgetary commitment for Research and Innovation, by moving from the current 100 billion € target proposed for the next 7-year Financial Framework period to 160 billion €. 

  • Martin Andler, President, Initiative for Science in Europe 


 14.30 Manifesto for an accountable commitment to meet the challenges of technoscience 

Room: Daurat 

The very rapid progress of technosciences opens promising prospects in many fields. They  

also generate great concerns for the human being, society and the biosphere. 

The potential benefits must not be obliterated by the risks linked to this almost uncontrolled acceleration of the technical dynamics, a regulation is necessary. 

In this perspective, a Manifesto for Responsible Commitment to the Challenges of Technosciences was approved at the end of a recent colloquium organized by GREP, an important citizen-oriented NGO from Occitanie. 

  • Jean-Marie PILLOT, President of GREP 
  • Bernard BUREL, Organizer of the colloqium. 


16.00 JRC on Electric Vehicles 

Room: Servanty 

A recent JRC report surveyed factors influencing car buying choices in the EU. The transition to a low-carbon economy is a key political priority for the EU. To make this a reality, one of the ambitions is the widespread take-up of low- and zero-emission vehicles over the next decade.  

Better insight into consumers' attitudes and preferences, as well as understanding the influence of car attributes such as range and recharging time on the attractiveness of electric cars, can help define related policies, such as needs for recharging infrastructure in the EU. 

  • Haral Scholz from the Joint Research Centre,  


Press Briefings 11 July

Press Briefings

11 July 2018

Information for reporters attending ESOF about press briefings taking place on Wednesday 11 July  All briefings are under embargo until the time of the press conference or to the programme session they are connected to, whichever is earlier.

Wednesday 11 July

09.00 Toulouse Hospital Treatment of complex airway stenoses using computer‐assisted customized 3D stents

Room: Daurat

Tracheobronchal prosthesis

Airway stents are silicone devices used to relieve the narrowing of the airway stenosis. Despite progress, anatomically complex airway stenosis remains a challenging situation. We hypothesized than patient‐specific, fully customized 3D stents, using computer assisted design is feasible and has potential for improving tolerance and decreasing the complication rate.

Patients with anatomically complex airway stenoses were included in the feasibility study. After computer‐assisted segmentation of the airways from a CT‐scan and virtual relief of thestenosis, a virtual 3D stent and corresponding mold were designed. Numerical data were entered in a 3D computer numerical control machine to produce the mold, from which the silicon stent is made. Stents were placed under general anesthesia through rigid bronchoscopy.

  • Nicolas Guibert, MD, pulmonologist
  • Julien Mazières, PhD, pulmologist, oncologist


10.30 INSERM The intestinal microbiota could be a undisputable sign for liver disease

Room: Servanty

New research in Nature Medicine shows that chemical compounds produced by the bacteria in our gut could be used to spot the early stages of liver disease. Rémy Burcelin will present how, according to this new results, chemical by‐products produced by the microbes living inside us can be used as early warning signs of disease, which could be detected using a simple blood test. The goal now is to translate these findings into the clinical practice.

  • Rémy Burcelin, researcher at Inserm


11.30 JRC Connected toys and children’s digital skills

Room: Daurat

Using digital technologies for learning in schools improves parents' perceptions of these technologies, which in turn helps children's digital learning and supports a healthier use ofdigital devices. These are among the results of a JRC study based on interviews with families in 21 countries.In all EU countries, children of all ages are using the Internet at an increasing rate. The increase is most noticeable among very young children, from 0 to 8 year olds. Pre‐schoolersnow use the Internet too, and also children under the age of 2 use the Internet through their parents. A new JRC study focused on the use of digital technologies by young children urges schools and teachers to enhance children’s digital and media literacy as early as possible. It also highlights the importance of developing a digital literacy curriculum and digital didactics for teachers as part of their training.

  • Stephane Chaudron
  • Jackie Marsh
  • Dylan Yamada-Rice


12.00 Carbon capture & climate mitigation: hype or hope?

Room: Daurat

Full session 10.15 Weds 11 July

How are businesses addressing climate change, in relation to carbon capture and utilization? How does EU climate change strategy affect business practices? In April 2018,the Scientific Advice Mechanism produced an Opinion and an Evidence Review Report. The session will present the climate change mitigation potential and economic viability of carbon capture and utilization technologies, how these findings will inform future EU policydecisions in this field, but also the challenges.

  • Antonella di Trapani, Euro‐CASE
  • Maria Da Graça Caravalho – European Commission


13.00 The war on opiods vs drug policy reform and decriminalisation

Room: Servanty

Full session, 10.15, Weds 11 July

This timely and crucial debate will spotlight the significant positive shift taking place in policymaking,in terms of public discourse, scientific evidence and drug policy implementation. Much still needs to be done to challenge the way societies view drugs and the people that use them. Cross‐cutting approaches on risk & safety, ethics and inequalities etc. will highlight drug laws as a tool for social control while undermining the right to privacy and the rule of law. The panel will also evidence the benefits of well‐implemented decriminalisation.

  • Michel Kazatchkine, Special Advisor to the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) in

Eastern Europe and Central Asia & Senior Fellow, Global Health Center, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

  • Marie Nougier, Head of Research & Communications, International Drug Policy Consortium
  • Ms Anya Sarang, Rylkov Foundation for Health & Social Justice
  • Lorraine Collard from the Fédération Addiction


14.00 How has gender influenced the very fabric of science

Room: Daurat

Full session, 10.15, Weds 11 July

Science has been structured according to gender, and gender has an influence on the production of knowledge. Biological studies influenced by sexual dimorphism and preclinical studies in female animals and medical studies for women have been overshadowed in some fields, leading to gender inequality in terms of knowledge about female physiology and health. The panel will discuss how this issue relates to endocrine disruptors and how scientific women mobilized their work on this question.

Laurence Huc will discuss the conception of the experiments in toxicological studies and how feminine physiology is less known and characterized in some medical areas,leading to a strong lack of knowledge about woman specificities related to health and curing. She will present the conclusions of a keynote meeting on "Sexual Dimorphismand Gender: Implications in Toxicology and Health Research",

  • Magali Della Sudda, Chargée de recherche CNRS, Centre Emile Durkheim
  • Laurence Huc, INRA‐Group Leader


14.30 Harnessing new data sources responsibly for effective migration policy & new perspectives

on African migration

Room: Servanty

Alessandra Zampieri and Michele Vespe will speak about two recent JRC reports offering

new perspectives on migration and the use of big data to provide valuable insights for

migration policy.


15.00 Brexit

Room: Servanty

Full session 13.30 Weds 11 July

Straight after the full conference session, Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science

Foundation Ireland and Milena Žic Fuchs, University of Zagreb, Croatian Academy of Sciences

and Arts and Former Science Minister of Croatia, will brief reporters.

15.30 Young African Scientists in Europe : what’s next?

Room: Daurat

Why it is important for Europe to support the development of science in Africa ? How can

European scientists and science organizations help ? The 6th July, the YASE ‐ Young African

Scientists in Europe / Jeunes chercheurs africains en Europe conference has been held in

Toulouse. Three sessions are also organized during ESOF in relation to these topics. This

press conference will be an opportunity to share some insights from the YASE conference

and from the sessions, and to present some follow ups.

  • Luc Allemand, director,
  • Connie Nshemereirwe, Co‐chair, Global Young Academy
  • Arouna Darga, Associate Professor, Sorbonne Universités
  • Michèle Mbo’o Tchouawou, deputy Director, Programs, AWARD
Press Briefings 12 July

Press Briefings

12 July 2018

Information for reporters attending ESOF about press briefings taking place on Thursday 12 July 

All briefings are under embargo until the time of the press conference or to the programme session they are connected to, whichever is earlier.


12.00 How to kill a spy, how to catch the killer

Room: Servanty

Full session, 10.15

On March 4, 2018, Sergei Skripal – a former Russian military officer and British spy – and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England. According to official UK sources, the poison was a Novichok nerve agent, a neurotoxicants developed in Russia about fifty years ago and their use leaves a business card at the crime scene. With over 70 million chemicals synthesised by chemists to date, is it possible to be more discreet in the 21st century?

A century after mustard gas was used as a weapon in WW1, the challenge of protecting against chemical and biological effects has evolved to meet the realities of the modern day war on terror, with experts using machine learning and AI to find, synthesise and test chemicals. Researchers from Europe and the US will discuss new platforms for finding novel toxic substances, and how mapping the chemical universe can help protect against bio weapons.

 Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

 David Pamies, Faculté de biologie et médecine, Universite of Lausanne

 Elisande Nexon, Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique


12.30: Contact sports and the brain

Room: Daurat

Full session 13.30

Although the association between brain injury in sport, in particular boxing, and risk of dementia has been recognised for almost a century this issue only came to prominence in the last decade with the recognition of a specific neurodegenerative disease, known as CTE, in former American footballers; a subject dramatized in the film “Concussion” featuring Will Smith as Forensic Neuropathologist Dr Bennet Omalu. A result of growing awareness that late neurodegenerative complications of brain injury are not unique to boxers has focused attention on management of sports concussion across all sports, including rugby and football. Consequently, international sports federations take these issues very seriously, with World Rugby, the governing body of rugby union, widely regarded as leading the way on sports concussion management from grass roots to the professional game.

This briefing will highlight state of the art research spanning pre‐clinical models to pitch side care, which is designed to better understand the consequences of concussion and improve recognition and management of sports‐related head injuries.

 Jamie CUDMORE ‐ Rugby Safety Network,

 William STEWART ‐ NHS GGC; University of Glasgow,

 Karl ZIMMERMAN ‐ Clinical Medicine at Imperial College London


13.00 Going to extremes: how microbes from extreme environments can aid society

Room: Servanty

Full session 10.15

Certain microorganisms termed extremophiles and their associated viruses live and thrive in harsh environments. These microorganisms teach us lessons in the adaptation of biology to the roughest conditions imaginable, which are becoming more and more relevant in light of climate change or life outside Earth. Scientists from industry and academia will present their own real-life tales of the severe conditions they withstood in the name of research. If the Earth itself is becoming an extreme ecosystem due to climate change, will extremophiles become the new normal?

 Ricardo AMILS ‐ Universidad Autónoma de Madrid


 José Eduardo GONZÁLEZ‐PASTOR ‐ Center for Astrobiology (CSIC‐INTA)

 Aurelio HIDALGO ‐ Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

 Arnflór Ævarsson ‐ Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D

 Alexander Wentzel ‐ SINTEF

 Guzman Sanchez – Scienseed


14.00 The magic of memory ‐ can brain training techniques help boost memory and improve mental health in later life?

Room: Servanty

Full session 17.00

Can keeping your brain active by practising activities such as meditation and learning a language help improve your mental health and well‐being in later life? Researchers and a magician will demonstrate some of the mental training activities being trialed as part of the EU‐funded Silver Santé Study. By carrying out clinical trials on volunteers aged 60+ presenting with varying health profiles, including patients at memory clinics, the research is measuring the effectiveness of a range of interventions, and hopes to contribute to wider health policy discussions and forward planning around the challenge of caring for our ageing global population, now and in the future.

 Géraldine POISNEL – Inserm,

 Marc HEIDMANN ‐ Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre,

 Elizabeth PARSONS ‐ UCL, UK,

 Gaël CHETELAT ‐ Inserm DR Nord‐Ouest

 And a special guest!

Press Briefings 13 July

Press Briefings

13 July 2018

Information for reporters attending ESOF about press briefings taking place on Friday 13 & Saturday 14 July

All briefings are under embargo until the time of the press conference or to the programme session they are connected to, whichever is earlier.

Friday 13 July

12.00     The challenges of synthetic biology

 Room: Servanty

 Full session is 13.30, Friday 13 July

Using newly discovered genes plants, scientists are aiming to engineer micro-organisms to produce complex molecules that could be of pharmaceutical relevance.  This approach may ultimately lead      to greater availability of medicines and may aid in the discovery of new drugs.

Engineering bacteria to deliver therapeutic agents or to present antigens for vaccination is an         emerging area of research with great clinical potential. The most challenging issue in this field is selecting the right bacteria to engineer into what is referred to as a “chassis”. While the best chassis depends on the application, there are two common drawbacks to bacteria used currently—their complexity and the lack of quantitative information for many reactions—that limits genome                   engineering to classical trial-and-error approaches. An ongoing project will validate the usefulness of whole-cell models for synthetic biology by modelling multiple genomic modifications orientated to facilitate engineering of biological systems.

  • Nikolai Windbichler, Imperial College London
  • David Bikard, Institute Pasteur
  • Benjamin Lichman, John Innes Centre
  • Maria Lluch, Fundacio Centre de Regulacio Genomica 

12.30     AI to increase productivity in science

 Room: Daurat

 Full session 10.15

Science is awash with information. The amount of research being published grows roughly 8% per year. Many assets within the scientific process (e.g. data & code) are being made available for reuse, new data sources are driving science, and the capability of artificial intelligence to understand text, images, answer questions and perform analytics is increasing. This panel will discuss the potential for artificial intelligence in science, where we are at today, and the challenges of incorporating it in the research process.

They will debate where they, if given unlimited budget, would invest to improve productivity in science using AI

  • Paul GROTH – Elsevier,
  • Lynda HARDMAN - Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica,
  • Thomas HARTUNG - Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Amrapali ZAVERI - University of Maastricht 

13.30 Wine and global change

 Room: Servanty

 Linked to two full sessions – 15.15 & 17.00

Across the globe, wine culture is undergoing a profound change for consumers, a change that could be summarized as "less but better". The new wine culture, led in particular by the "New World" producers, also targets the supposed hedonism of contemporary consumers by accentuating the sensory characteristics of world-renowned grape varieties, technologically crafted to obtain an amplification of the levels of aromas, tannins and other anthocyanins.

The panel will review the actions taken by the various stakeholders in the wine sector in order to respond to the changing and diverse demand of consumers worldwide, focusing on successes and failures and their determinants.

  • Michaël Pouzenc – Université Toulouse – Jean-Jaurès
  • Danielle Cornot – Université Toulouse- Jean-Jaurès
Press Briefings 14 July

Press Briefing

14 July 2018

Information for reporters attending ESOF about press briefings taking place on Friday 13 & Saturday 14 July

All briefings are under embargo until the time of the press conference or to the programme session they are connected to, whichever is earlier. 

10.30 Introducing Trieste, ESOF2020

Room: Servanty

For the first time in its history, the EuroScience Open Forum is opening up outside the national borders of its hosting city. As a Central European city, Trieste is committed to strengthening links with Central and Eastern European scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and citizens, thus taking a crucial step forward towards a truly open and inclusive idea of Europe.

Along the years, the city has seen the development of important international and national research institutes for research, technology transfer and the dissemination of science, bringing to Trieste a concentration of research workers among the highest in the world.

On the occasion of this press conference, the global vision and the future expected legacy of ESOF2020 Trieste will be described. The operational tools adopted to involve Central and Eastern European countries, as well as the local community, will also be illustrated.

* Stefano Fantoni, Champion ESOF2020

* Lauritz Holm-Nielsen, President of EuroScience

* Roberto Dipiazza, Mayor of Trieste, Italy

* Alessia Rosolen, Regional Councilior of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italy

* Pierpaolo Ferrante, Technical Director ESOF2020

* Paola Rodari, Science in the City ESOF2020

* Sergio Paoletti, President of Area Science Park, Trieste, Italy