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BE OPEN – Science & Society Festival: 50 years of cutting edge research in Austria

Published 28 Sep

Lasting impressions of the FWF science festival: more than 30 000 enthusiastic visitors and a strong statement for science and research

To mark its 50th anniversary, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), together with partners from science, business, media and society, created the BE OPEN - Science & Society Festival. From 8 to 12 September, members of the public were invited to show curiosity, have a say and learn more about basic research. The event was also marked by intensive dialogue: the scientific community both informed and listened.

Some of Austria’s best researchers and their teams gave visitors a fascinating look at their groundbreaking work. A dialogue arena was the setting for discussions on topical future issues for science and society. A wide range of activities for children, families and school groups allowed them to investigate the world of basic research.

Over 5 days of cutting‑edge research at Maria‑Theresien‑Platz, the FWF is pleased to have welcomed more than 30 000 visitors as well as reached hundreds of thousands of readers, listeners and viewers via radio and TV programmes. Other figures include over 30 partners, more than 50 hours of discussions and four TV and radio programmes aired by the Austrian public broadcaster ORF. Together with over 150 participating researchers as well as numerous partner organisations and sponsors, the FWF promoted cutting‑edge research “Made in Austria, funded by FWF”.

The FWF and its partners hope that the science festival will give the public, and especially those who are not very familiar with the domain, increased trust in science and research and highlight the vital importance of basic research for society. The BE OPEN festival impressively managed to rouse and increase curiosity for cutting‑edge research among all sections of society, regardless of age or education. This was not least thanks to the committed scientists and their teams.

At the same time, the science festival marked the start of new partnerships between the FWF and stakeholders from business, industry and the media. The festival is the largest science event during the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU. It is organised in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research under the patronage of Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and brings European cooperation to the fore. EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas was able to see this for himself on the last day of the event.

Figures, information, facts and photos of the BE OPEN – Science & Society Festival can be found at:


More information about this event can be found on the event page.  

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Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
Head of Public Relations and Science Communication
Marc Seumenicht
+43-1 505 67 40 - 8111