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Open Science Conference at Trieste Next

25 September 2023

Technological innovation for sustainability: from data to community awareness. This is the title of the overbooked conference organised by NODC on 23 September as part of Trieste Next, Festival of Scientific Research. At its 12th edition, Trieste Next 2023 featured world-renowned scientists and professionals in the field of innovation and technology transfer.

The change of the environment is visible to all, and the only way out is to change ourselves as well, without exception. The conference, moderated by Angela Saraò, researcher at OGS, aimed to show how technology, often seen as the cause of all evil, can be of great help in managing change. Concepts such as Open Science, the digital twin of the ocean, which are the basis for technological innovation in the scientific world, were explained, as well as new tools to inform and involve citizens, public institutions and the private sector.

“Open science is science done well.” Valentina Pasquale, research data management specialist at the Italian Institute of Technology, said. “It is first of all a cultural revolution aimed at promoting dialogue between researchers rather than competition, through a new system of research evaluation that rewards prompt sharing of data while recognising researchers’ copyrights.” The researcher described science as a big conversation built on sharing data , best practises and open-source tools, rather than publications: static images of one of the many unpredictable uses of data.

“Our work is to ensure the findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability of marine data collected mainly by the Italian scientific community”, said Alessandra Giorgetti, head of NODC at OGS, who replaced Elisabeth Kubin at the conference. She added: “Data are only incomprehensible numbers if they are not well described. Where do the data come from? What is the unit of measurement? Do they speak the internationally consolidated language? This is some of the information that needs to accompany the data to ensure their integrated use by scientists.” The compilation of enriched and standardised data is essential to feed new systems like the Digital Twin of Ocean (DTO), which requires a large amount of reliable information: the Big Data.

“The DTO enable to represent a physical object, person or process contextualised in a digital version of its environment.” Antonio Novellino, Head of Research and Development Smart&Sustainable Cities at ETT, said, adding “Researchers can use the DTO to predict how climate change and human activities will affect marine ecosystems in the short and long term.” Collecting Big Data means huge scientific efforts in the field, which can be facilitated by all citizens through so-called citizen science. This is the scientific activity, such as data collection, carried out by people without specific technical knowledge to support research projects. The European Commission expects that by 2025 at least 20% of marine observation data will come from citizen science actions.

It is not enough to know the sea to save it, we also need to feel that it is an essential part of our lives. Here, then, lies the importance of new means of communication to raise awareness and reach the hearts of all, but especially the youngest. “To this end, scientists and creatives need to work together,” said Federica Raffin, Account and Senior Producer at APZmedia, “to properly shape and inform people, including through social media, which is only harmful when it is the carrier of meaningless content or, even worse, fake news.”

Watch the conference (in Italian) on YouTube !