APECS was nicely represented at the European Science Open Forum 2010 (ESOF), which took place between 2-7 July 2010 and got together some of the best European science, the media, politicians and researchers from all fields to discuss the status if European science and their future challenges. From the days we were there, our impression was that most of the attendees were at the start of their careers or close to the finish of their careers, with a noticeable lack of 30-50 year olds. One of goals of this forum was to stimulate world class discussions on hot science topics in an hand-on way.
Our session called “Energy and Enthusiasm is Contagious: How early career scientists can help the world reach excellence in science?”, chaired by José Xavier (APECS Council), had the amazing talk by Jenny Baeseman (APECS Director; please read Jenny in Science http://blogs.sciencemag.org/sciencecareers/2010/07/getting-a-young.html) and the great interventions by Dave Carlson (International Polar Year (IPY)– International Program Office), Paul Egerton (European Science Foundation) and by Gerhard Wolf (European Economic and Social Committee of the European Union). The main conclusions of our session was that IPY provided an unique opportunity to early career scientists to show their work due to the urgency and significant science that needed to be done, that APECS was able to provide a strong voice of early career scientists during the IPY (such as in major international organizations) and that APECS can serve as an example beyond polar regions. There are opportunities in Europe to provide conditions for early career scientists to conduct excellent science (e.g. via the European Science Foundation, Marie Curie fund initiatives, European Research Council) but it was also able to recognize that scientists still requires to improve their social issues so that a career is science can become even more attractive. After the brief talks, an open discussion took place between speakers and the audience, having key themes surrounding future ways to put European science, using full potential of young researchers, at a world level.