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Basic Sciences in the Spotlight

ICTP celebrates International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development

Basic Sciences in the Spotlight
Basic Sciences in the Spotlight


The United Nations' International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD) seems tailor-made for ICTP. The designated year puts a focus on the important--but largely underappreciated--role that basic sciences plays in nearly every aspect of our lives. It underscores the notion that basic science is crucial to the attainment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in its Agenda 2030 plan.

As a founding partner of the International Year, ICTP is planning activities in support of the IYBSSD themes. On Wednesday 18 May the Centre will launch a series of panel discussions and keynote talks to take place throughout the year. The first such event, titled "The Importance of Basic Sciences in Addressing the Global Energy Crisis", will focus on how basic science can help to bring renewable energy conversion to the forefront of the world's future energy landscape. Panelists include Richard Catlow, an expert in solid state chemistry and materials science at University College London (and co-president of the InterAcademy Partnership), and Patchanita Thamyongkit, an expert on photovoltaics from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and 2013 ICTP Prize winner. The discussion will be moderated by ICTP Postgraduate Diploma Programme alumnus Stephane Kenmoe, now a scientist at the University of Duisburg-Essen whose research focuses on computational descriptions of photocatalytic water splitting.

Future panel talks organised by ICTP will address issues including climate change, Artificial Intelligence, human ecology, ethics in machine learning, and Open Science.

"ICTP's mission is perfectly in line with the IYBSSD goals," said ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar, adding, "We believe that basic research is fundamental not only for technological advancement, but also for global sustainable development. ICTP is looking forward to celebrate basic sciences with exciting events and activities."

In declaring the IYBSSD, the United Nations General Assembly cited ‘the high value for humankind of basic sciences’, and noted that ‘enhanced global awareness of, and increased education in, the basic sciences is vital to attain sustainable development and to improve the quality of life for people all over the world’.

The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development will be officially inaugurated on 8 July 2022 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Events and activities will be organized around the world until 30 June 2023.