• James Ellaby
Manchester’s EuroScience Open Forum launches “Science to Business” programme

The EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), Europe’s largest general science conference, has revealed the full extent of its ambitious “Science to Business” programme strand which will be delivered over three days in Manchester this summer (25-27 July).

The launch, which took place on Monday 11 April at the BT Tower in London, saw Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, ESOF 2016 Champion and President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester, describe the programme to influential business leaders and science policy makers who will, it is hoped, engage with the programme.

The ESOF 2016 Science to Business programme includes seventeen sessions which afford delegates the opportunity to participate in debate and discussion about cutting edge science and technology and its application to industry.

Hot topics within the programme ask questions such as: what business opportunities will be created by innovative technologies in smart cities; where should visionaries start when developing a spin-out company; why are local business incubation centres an increasingly successful method of fostering knowledge transfer; and how can we address the major societal challenges presented by the commercialisation of synthetic biology?

A session about mass spectrometry is set to be a highlight, encouraging delegates to shape and influence the future direction for research and innovation. Manchester is a world-leader in mass spectrometry and is home to many international companies that manufacture commercial instruments.

Another noteworthy session will bring a business angel (Candace Johnson, President, European Business Angels Network), a venture capitalist (Herman Hauser, Co-founder, Amadeus Capital Partners) and a corporate executive (Michael Lee, Managing Director, Syngenta Ventures) together to talk about what they look for when evaluating technology investments and what motivates them to put money on the table.

Attendees at the London event also heard speeches by Howard Watson, Managing Director - Architecture and Global IT Platforms at BT and Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Health, and Policy Communication at Johnson & Johnson. Both companies are principal partners of ESOF.

Commenting on the programme, Professor Rothwell said: “The Science to Business programme perfectly encapsulates the philosophy of ESOF as it offers potential for collaboration between science and industry. There are not many opportunities to gather people from such a wide-range of backgrounds for mutual benefit. It’s incredibly exciting to think about what may result in the months and years that follow the conference.

“As a city Manchester has an excellent reputation for innovation and collaboration. I’m proud to say that this is perhaps most prevalent in the sciences where we lead the way in the sharing of new ideas and opportunities. Of course, this makes Manchester the ideal place to incubate ideas and facilitate dialogue during ESOF.

“I have been delighted to see a real appetite for participation in ESOF from the business community so far; however, there are still opportunities for organisations to get involved, to raise their profile and to make meaningful connections, so I urge business leaders to think carefully about how they may be able to leverage the unique opportunity that ESOF presents this summer.”

Howard Watson, Managing Director - Architecture and Global IT Platforms at BT, said: “History has shown that the world’s most successful innovations emerge at the junction between science and business. BT’s own history of purposeful innovation, using science to solve real-world problems, has completely transformed how the world communicates over the last 170 years.

“We’re looking forward to playing an active role in the Science to Business programme, building on the huge potential we see in Manchester as a focal point for collaboration between science and industry on the key issues of our day.”

‎Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Health, and Policy Communication at Johnson & Johnson, said: “Our long standing involvement in ESOF is for us a source of pride and engagement. Helping to strengthen scientific networks across the globe is bringing our J&J credo into action and by advancing scientific progress in society we hope to construct a better future for all of us.”

Further details, including the full ESOF programme, can be found on the website: esof2016.eu  

Follow @esof2016 on Twitter for all latest announcements and news.


  • The full Science to Business Programme is now available online here
  • The Science to Business programme runs Monday 25 – Wednesday 27 July
  • Tuesday 26 July is the stand-out day for business delegates who can only make one day, with nine of the seventeen Science to Business sessions scheduled
  • ESOF’s other principal partners include: Manchester Science Parks, Manchester Airport Group, Wellcome Trust and Siemens