On the 8th December 2014, leading science figures launched Manchester as the European City of Science.
The launch marks the start of a two year celebration of science in the city which aims to engage young and old, novices to Nobel Prize winners; bringing science onto the streets, inspiring Greater Manchester’s schools and supporting its businesses.
Arts and cultural venues, business partners, education providers as well as Manchester’s existing Science Festival have signed up to ensure the European City of Science status is recognised and helps inspire the next generation of scientists to support our growing science economy.
An array of science events is in the pipeline for Greater Manchester so that it can make the most of its science credentials. Already announced for next year is the Manchester International Festival (MIF) curated ‘Age of Starlight’ event, which will invite audiences to face the biggest questions about our existence through the use of pioneering immersive technology, led by Professor Brian Cox.
In 2016, Manchester’s present day Nobel Prize winners will be celebrated in a dedicated Graphene Exhibition hosted by MOSI, whilst the city will also celebrate the 250th anniversary of John Dalton’s birth as it gears up for hosting Europe's largest general scientific conference, ESOF - the EuroScience Open Forum.
ESOF is a biennial, pan-European convention that is dedicated to scientific research and innovation and will bring 4,500 delegates to Manchester in July 2016, whilst generating approximately £8.3m for the economy. Attendees will include global scientific and technology leaders, researchers and policy makers and will shape the future of science and of the world.
The European City of Science launch at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) welcomed Manchester’s latest science news including £235m for the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Materials Research and Innovation; £42m Life Sciences fund to support growing science businesses in Greater Manchester and Cheshire; and £3m to support a permanent exhibitions home for MOSI, cementing why Manchester deserves the European City of Science status.
Professor Brian Cox, said: “The fact that Manchester is the European City of Science means a great deal. It means the city is regaining its historic role – this is of course the city that discovered the atomic nucleus and that built the world’s first computer – now it’s the city that discovered Graphene and with the newly announced Sir Henry Royce institute for materials research, Manchester might well be at the centre of an industrial revolution of the 21st Century. To see the city re-emerging, in what I would call its rightful place, is terrifically exciting.”
Sally MacDonald, director of MOSI, said: "ESOF will showcase Manchester as a city of science, ideas and collaboration. In this spirit we will be opening a new Graphene exhibition, which is being currently developed through a joint collaboration with the University of Manchester, we will showcase Manchester Science Festival and involve visitors to the city in real research. ESOF will not only encourage investment in Manchester science, but provides us all with an opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers with the power of discovery and invention."
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester is proud of its science achievements from atomic theory to inventing the first programmable computer and discovering the new wonder material graphene.
“Indeed our science base has truly had a revolution, progressing from the Victorian wonders of Cottonopolis to Manchester’s newfound 21st Century identity as Graphene City.
“This is why the European City of Science designation is so very apt as we celebrate our science heritage and science future. Whilst science and technology supports jobs, growth and economic success for Greater Manchester, through the nature of the discipline, it also has potential to answer the challenges that all cities and modern societies face.”
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: “Manchester has a rich pedigree of excellence in science, from Rutherford splitting the atom to our pioneering achievements with Graphene.
“The award of the European City of Science and Euroscience Open Forum in 2016 is a fitting testament to that history and should provide the inspiration for the next generation of Manchester scientists. The recent announcement of the £235m Sir Henry Royce Institute for Materials Research and Innovation to The University of Manchester is recognition of the outstanding research in advanced materials carried out in the city.”
Rowena Burns, ceo of Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “More than any other sector, science has the power to change our lives - improving our health and well-being, enabling social progress and driving economic growth.
“At Manchester Science Partnerships, we will seize the opportunities created by our brilliant scientists and universities to help build brilliant businesses, and jobs for school leavers and graduates alike. Already, the region accounts for 23% of all life sciences employment in the UK. As Europe's City of Science we have a platform to build on that success. MSP is proud to be a partner in bringing great ideas to the world - may 2016 make scientists of us all!”