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Professor Ruberti launches the European Week for Scientific Culture

The "European Week for Scientific Culture" was launched by Professor A. Ruberti of the Commission of the European Communities at an inaugural press conference on 21 September 1993.

Professor Ruberti, the Commission Vice-President responsible for Research and for Education, ex...
The "European Week for Scientific Culture" was launched by Professor A. Ruberti of the Commission of the European Communities at an inaugural press conference on 21 September 1993.

Professor Ruberti, the Commission Vice-President responsible for Research and for Education, explained the key ideas underlying the "European Week", which will take place during 22-27 November 1993. He emphasised three reasons for which activities in scientific culture must be reinforced. These are: political; economic and social; and cultural:

- Science and technology play an increasingly central role in society. Given the rising cost of research, plus the social, legal and ethical questions raised by the advancement of scientific knowledge and by technological progress, it is important that decisions on science and technology must be reached in the most democratic way possible. It is therefore vital that the European population has a sufficient grasp of scientific matters on which to base its views.

- Enterprise and society in general have a growing need for researchers, engineers and technicians. The European educational system must provide these in sufficient quantity with the necessary abilities. To achieve this, scientific education at all levels must be improved to stimulate greater interest in the sciences. At the same time, a career in research must be shown to be an attractive option.

- Science has become separated from general culture, and is often seen as a subject for specialists only, no longer generating the interest felt for literature or the fine arts. However, science and technology are an integral part of the European cultural heritage, and must be reintegrated with the European vision, to regain a place which properly reflects their importance in European history and in contemporary society.

The "European Week" sets out to present scientific activity, on a Europe-wide basis, in terms of its methods and results, its possibilities and problems. It also seeks to popularize and explain European scientific cooperation, including the joint activities of European institutes and of the Community's research programmes.

At the same time, opportunities will be provided to help understand the scientific effort undertaken in different countries, as the public of one European country may often have little awareness of the institutions or the major scientific figures of others. Events will also aim to show that each country has its own methods and traditions for presenting scientific achievement to the public.

Summing up, Professor Ruberti noted that, since his first proposal for the "European Week", this concept very rapidly attracted a great deal of interest and was greeted with enthusiasm. In a relatively short time a large number of projects, often very original, were put forward.

It is intended that a detailed assessment will follow the first "European Week for Scientific Culture" and the Working Group responsible for its organization will discuss how the event may evolve in 1994 and beyond.
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