The Capital’s shot at becoming European City of Science for 2012 is gaining momentum with the Lord Mayor and Science Minister getting behind the bid.
Dublin aims to beat off competition from other leading European cities to clinch the title, which would see thousands of people attending a major international festival of science being hosted in the city during June 2012.
Lord Mayor Councillor Eibhlin Byrne and Dr Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, announced their support at the Mansion House today.
The bid is being put together by a high-level committee of scientific and industrial stakeholders, under the leadership of the Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Patrick Cunningham.
The Lord Mayor said: "In 2012 it will be 80 years since Irishman Ernest Walton made the ground-breaking discovery which won him the Nobel Prize for Physics. If Dublin is successful in becoming the European City of Science, it would be a wonderfully fitting way to celebrate the achievements of Ireland’s only Nobel winning scientist. Importantly, it would be a key factor in the long term positioning of Dublin as the knowledge city of Europe.
“Already a huge number of the world's top ten and internet companies such as Google, Intel and Microsoft, choose Dublin as their European headquarters, so there is a very strong foundation in place. Dublin already has some impressive science facilities and I’d urge the whole of the Country to get behind this bid.”
Dr Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, said: ” A successful bid will provide a timely platform to showcase the best of science and research being carried out here across all disciplines, whether it is led by indigenous or international partners. We will, at that stage, be towards the end of our massive NDP investment of €8.2bn in Research and Development with a spotlight on dividends in terms of infrastructure and human capital, innovation and commercialisation. As a gateway to the world, we will also be able to draw on an unrivalled network of international experts to help EuroScience take ESOF to the next level. It is also a unique opportunity at home to promote the value of investing in science with true consequences for the daily life of the citizen, while showcasing modern Dublin to our European and international partners”.
The European City of Science is a recent introduced EU programme that sees a major European city chosen every other year. Stockholm was the first city in 2004, followed by Munich in 2006. Barcelona hosted this year’s festival, from 18 – 22 July, where 5,000 participants took part.
The successful city organises a year-long programme of science events, with the key being the international festival of science in June. Vienna is the only other declared candidate at this stage with Copenhagen also expressing interest.
There were seven candidates for the 2010 City of Science, with Turin being selected.
Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Cunningham, commented: " Dublin’s Bid Committee has already held a range of highly successful visibility-raising activities to support our bid to become the City of Science in 2012. The centrepiece of Dublin’s Year as City of Science would the big science meeting in June. It will be the largest scientific event in Europe, so Irish researchers could not ask for a better opportunity to build our reputation in the area of science. The prospects for the future of science in Ireland are good, it’s the right time and we will have a lot to celebrate."