Euroscience Open Forum

As Europe’s largest general science meeting, ESOF 2012 attracted the world’s most renowned scientists, 27 keynote speakers and five Nobel Laureates over five days.

Delegates: 4,500
Client: Chief Scientific Adviser
Event: Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) 2012
Type: Conference
Date: July 2012
Days: 5


The Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) is Europe’s largest general science meeting and is held every two years. It is an interdisciplinary, pan European meeting that attracts leading scientists to:

  • Showcase the latest advances in science and technology
  • Promote a dialogue on the role of science and technology in society and public policy
  • Stimulate and provoke public interest, excitement and debate about science and technology

As well as the main conference content, which requires extensive space with mixed uses for main plenary sessions, exhibition, breakout sessions and hospitality, ESOF also required a vibrant destination to provide locations for the ‘Science in the City’ strand of ESOF as well as plenty of opportunities for socialising and networking outside the conference venue itself.


The CCD was chosen for ESOF 2012 following a competitive bid against Vienna in 2008, with The CCD and Dublin’s status as vibrant city, providing an ideal location for the meeting.

The Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser was responsible for hosting and coordinating ESOF 2012 activities and events as well as the Dublin City of Science 2012 programme with the support of Forfás. PCO Conference Partners managed organisation of the event logistics. The CCD worked closely with both parties.

This event saw a particularly high calibre of speaker, from famous Irish names such as Mary Robinson, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Bob Geldof to major names in the world of science. These included Major General Charles F. Bolden Jr., the current administrator of NASA and former astronaut.

The Liffey was turned around from conference to party in four hours. There were a total of 120 sessions and 30 room changes over the course of the 5 days. The event even saw the first soft-serve ice cream machine at The CCD on a stand in the exhibition hall. And we installed a PA system in all our meeting rooms (something that we would never usually do) as the client required a large number of microphones per room.

The event prompted a high level of interest from the general public as anyone could register to attend and delegates could register to attend single days rather than the entire conference. This resulted in a varied clientele rather than a typical full conference delegate. There was a ‘family science day’ on the Saturday, with 400 children and parents visiting the venue over the course of the day, and entertainment as well as fun science experiments on the ground floor and level 3.

Our national broadcaster, RTÉ, did live broadcasts from The CCD for the entire week, including the Six One News and Morning Ireland on the first day of the conference. This additional element gave the event plenty of publicity and created a few challenges in managing delegates, conference schedule and live broadcast.

One of the strands of ESOF was the Science in the City festival which took place throughout Dublin. Over 50 Science in the City events took place throughout the City over the ten days.


The event attracted over 4,500 delegates from more than 70 countries and an extremely high calibre of over 500 speakers - including 27 keynote speakers, five Nobel Laureates and world renowned scientists over the five days.

In a survey conducted after the conference over 95% of respondents thought that ‘the conference was well organised’ and over 88% found the conference ‘exceeded their expectations’. 85% found the ambience at the conference either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and over 94% thought the location of The CCD was either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.

“The main reasons Dublin won the ESOF bid were the energy and professionalism with which the bid was put together; the strong support from Government, city, science and business communities in Ireland; Dublin as a destination, and The CCD. From all the feedback we have had, including formal surveys, Dublin and The CCD met the highest expectations.” Professor Patrick Cunningham, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government.