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H2020

ESOF2016 Report Summary

Project ID: 699538
Funded under: H2020-EU.5.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ESOF2016 (EuroScience Open Forum 2016 (Manchester))

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The goal is to advance the wider fabric of European science, fostering jobs & growth through supporting industrial leadership, innovation & links between business & science, developing research careers through a dedicated sub-programme, showcasing & inspiring science & promoting the development of the ERA for Innovation through facilitating the flows of knowledge & people. The aims are to present cutting-edge S&T developments in all scientific areas, foster a European dialogue on S&T by offering a platform for cross-disciplinary interaction and stimulate engagement of the public with S&T.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

ESOF 2016 was organised, produced and delivered by the ESOF Delivery Team supported by the Manchester Partnership. The main ESOF Programme comprised three strands:

- The Science Programme
- A Science to Business Programme
- A Careers Programme

The Programme also contained an Exhibition and a Social Programme, while the ‘European City of Science’ provided the foundation for a year-long programme of events, many run jointly with partner organisations, aimed at connecting science with the wider public, in particular, school children.
The Business Plan for ESOF2016, endorsed by the Local Organising Committee, set out an overall project cost plan of £4m. Core funding of £2.1m was secured from the supporting partnership with additional revenue from delegate registrations, exhibition sales, Trusts and other sources. Further funding and support was also provided by a range of sponsors. In the end, the main Programme was eventually delivered for a cost of approximately £3.1m.

The LOC had set a target for the number of delegates at 4,000. The headline attendance figures were slightly below this target with the total number of delegates coming in at 3,542. Of these, 15% were Early Career Researchers, 14% business delegates and 14% media delegates. The overall gender balance of delegates came close to parity, with 52% male and 48% female representation. Those attending ESOF 2016 came from over 80 countries, with a high representation from other European countries. Good representation was also recorded from the USA and Japan.

The programme presented 157 selected sessions over the four days of ESOF. These were broken down as: Science Programme 92; Careers Programme 16 and Science to Business Programme 17. The remainder comprised 22 topical and keynote speaker sessions. Overall, a total of 717 speakers were engaged, with an overall gender balance of 42.5% female and 57.5% male.

As a result of the learning experience, the Delivery Team were able to highlight a number of good practice examples and lessons which were incorporated in the Handover Report to the Toulouse 2018 team.
A focal point of the conference was the exhibition area, which 65 exhibitors attended, with 256 accompanying exhibitor delegates. The Exhibition hall also contained two theatre spaces in which 29 sessions were held. As an input to the Careers Programme, a number of dedicated activities were organised in an area known as Careers Central.

The Social Programme is a highly important part of ESOF and comprised an accompanying series of social activities, supplemented by further events including receptions, promotions, fringe meetings and satellite events. The main events were the ESOF 2016 Opening Ceremony; a media reception; the ESOF Party; the President’s Dinner and the Closing Ceremony.

Manchester’s designation as the European City of Science (ECoS) was supported by a programme underpinned by strong partnerships with local universities, and the cultural and community sectors. It resulted in events and activities that engaged the general public. The Science in the City programme was greatly enriched by a series of events, exhibitions and activities run by partners. Within the programme, citizen science projects formed an important feature.

The Great Science Share encouraged pupils of all ages from pre-school to college to share and celebrate science, with over 150 schools registering to take part. In March, over 200 teachers and STEM professionals took part in the Great STEM TeachMeet.

The Science in the City festival aimed to make science relevant and accessible to a wide range of audiences. Over 70 partners were involved with the broad themes including food, the body, the environment and technology. Over half of the festival content was interactive. The estimated audience of the festival amounted to some 40,000 people.

Key elements of the ESOF organisation were the marketing and media activities, carried out under the auspices of the International Marketing and Media Committee. Their goal was to contribute to the success of the event by enhancing both its reach and profile. In order to achieve the goal, a series of key performance indicators (KPIs) were developed, relating to Reach, Content, Sentiment and ‘Beyond Manchester’. These were also used to help with the ex post evaluation of ESOF and the Science in the City marketing and communication.

Substantial marketing activities were undertaken in the run-up to ESOF 2016. The marketing strategy relied heavily on digital media while a full mix of social media channels was used. Digital media included the ESOF website and new websites for ECoS and the Science in the City festival. All events received extensive media coverage, both nationally and internationally in a variety of channels.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

With regard to the outcomes of ESOF 2016, an external team was commissioned to design and implement logic models and monitoring frameworks for ESOF 2016 and ECoS 2016. These identified the key objectives of both and the indicators on which to assess the extent to which they were achieved. The findings, which were generally highly positive, were collated in an evidence library and presented as infographics. As a broad level example of the success of ESOF (although certainly not the only or most significant metric), an estimate of the economic impact of delegate spend in Manchester whilst attending ESOF 2016 was in the area of £3.54 million.

The delegate/visitor feedback and other data and evidence collected by the evaluation also provided a number of inputs to the lessons learned from the experience of hosting ESOF and ECoS, which are also reflected in the Handover Report.

Of great importance to the host city/region is the ability to capture different strands of legacy from the hosting of ESOF and the accompanying designation as European City of Science.

For ESOF 2016, the headline elements of this legacy included:

- Continuing to build Manchester’s reputation as a city of scientific research, innovation and invention;
- Attracting and promoting high profile scientists to take Manchester science to the world;
- Building and promoting the Manchester Science City brand;
- Building on the wide range of new and innovative partnerships;
- Developing even closer and continuing collaboration between the three Manchester Universities, and sustained engagement with national organisations;
- Supporting enduring events, especially those that engage young people in Science –the Great Science Share is to become an annual eventl;
- Sustaining science and business tourism, while there are opportunities with a whole range of science and medical science conferences scheduled over the coming months/years;
- Continuing to nurture the extensive contacts established with science journalists and communicators.

For further information, see: http://www.esof.eu/home.html

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