Lausanne will broadcast its reputation as a centre of scientific innovation, welcoming the world’s best science journalists to a major conference in 2019.
The 11th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) is expected to attract between 1,000 and 1,200 journalists and communicators of science from more than 60 countries between 1-5 July 2019.
For the first time, three science writers’ associations joined forces to apply for WCSJ and bring the conference back to Europe after a six-year gap: the Swiss Association for Science Journalism (ASJS), the French Association of Science Journalists in the news media (AJSPI) and the Science Writers in Italy (SWIM). Olivier Dessibourg, President of the ASJS and initiator of the bid, said: “We are very honoured that Lausanne has been chosen to host this important event. We put forward the vision of a conference organised by and for science journalists to present, defend and promote quality independent journalism in the media worldwide; an aspect that certainly helped us win.”
The conference’s focus will be on ‘Reaching new heights in science journalism’, using the mountains shared by the three bidding countries as a common thread.
Host city Lausanne received strong academic support from conference venues the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and the University of Lausanne (UNIL), as well as CERN, and the University of Geneva. “We are very pleased to welcome the global community of science journalists to the EPFL/UNIL campus,” said Pierre Vandergheynst, Vice President of EPFL. “Our campus’s work is essential in providing the general public with a clear, responsible and healthy vision of scientific progress.”
The four academic partners will offer a range of laboratory visits as well as showcasing their knowledge. “Science is vital in today’s society,” said Arnaud Marsollier, Head of Press at CERN. “More than ever, the world’s major scientific challenges require a global effort, for which quality science journalism is vital. CERN is happy to support this initiative and to open its doors to journalists from around the world attending WCSJ 2019.”
The Lausanne candidacy also benefited from political and media support: the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation; Presence Switzerland; the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud. The bid was also backed by the European Commission, Euronews, the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
“This conference is a unique opportunity for Switzerland to demonstrate to journalists from around the world that behind our famous mountains and chocolate lies a centre of scientific excellence,” said Nicolas Bideau, Head of Presence Switzerland.
Ernesto Bertarelli of main sponsor the Bertarelli Foundation added: “This is another demonstration of the Lake Geneva region’s global standing in science, technology, and engineering. I am proud, through the Bertarelli Foundation, to support this showcase of Swiss innovation, which will also share global knowledge and experience in science with our partners from all over the world.”
The conference programme will give participants the opportunity to share good practice, learn new tools and reflect on the values of the profession of science journalism, via creative workshops, mobile debates, brainstorming discussions and tutorials. As well as visits to the partner institutions, some 30 other study tours will be organised, ranging from trips to alpine research stations to tours of many Swiss and European institutions easily accessible from Lausanne’s central European location.
Featured image: Conference venue Le SwissTech Convention Center, EPFL, Lausanne