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University of Silesia in Katowice

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Logo European City of Science 2024

9,640 scientists ready to answer the inhabitants of Katowice

17.04.2023 - 15:46 update 28.04.2023 - 14:46
Editors: wc-a
Tags: European City of Science, European City of Science

Fragment katowickiego kampusu Uniwersytetu Śląskiego/Part of the Katowice Campus of the University of Silesia

Katowice campus of the University of Silesia | Photo by Julia Agnieszka Szymala

We rarely think about how much our lives are saturated with science. The device you are using to read this message, the watch you are looking at to check the time, or even the sandwich you are having for breakfast all prove the success of science. It is the development of modern technologies, agriculture as well as many other fields that make our everyday lives easier. Actually, we all have our share in this progress!

The title of European City of Science 2024 awarded to Katowice is not only a prize for many years of endavours to transform the city into an important research centre. First of all, this is an opportunity for us as a society to unite our efforts and use science for creating a safe, attractive and inhabitant-friendly space. We want a city where problems are detected and solved based on scientific methods.

Katowice – the City of Science 

The capital of the Silesian Voivodeship hosts the headquarters of seven universities. All of them, together with the City of Katowice, form the Academic Consortium Katowice – the City of Science.

Each university in the consortium employs qualified and competent researchers, and the mutual exchange of experiences between them allow to carry out many scientific and artistic projects. One of them is the Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE created together by the consortium partners. It has been organised in Katowice for many years and significantly contributed to awarding the European City of Science title in 2024.

However, the festival is not the only initiative where consortium partners join their potential and forces. The universities also act jointly in the field of environmental protection and research on climate, health and quality of life, industries of the future, social innovations as well as industrial and cultural heritage.

Science communication, dissemination of the research results as well as promotion of education and gaining knowledge during numerous events organised by universities are the hallmarks of the City of Science. We are constantly working on new forms of reaching people interested in science – in 2024 the inhabitants of Katowice will have a chance to participate in workshops, lectures and scientific research conducted together with Silesian scientists. All of this as part of the programme of 50 thematic weeks, which is currently being developed.

Joining the social science

Obviously science happens not only in academic classrooms, laboratories and galleries – all of us create it and we do not have to be limited by any space. The inhabitants of Katowice constantly contribute to the development of socially responsible science.

Thanks to local initiatives, participatory budgeting and green budget, people from Katowice may change their surroundings, adjust them to their own needs, improve the quality of life and health. Expanding library collections, establishing lavender gardens, planting trees, building insect hotels and installing bird shelters – all initiatives of this type show how important it is for all of us to take care of biodiversity, healthy environment and education. They also prove that the civic society concept is close to us.

In recent years we have also seen that thanks to citizen science many local communities are more willing to join projects that are important significant for science development. An example is the annual global bird count, which allows to trace the migrations and behaviours of birds in a more complete manner than when only ornithologists are involved. In the same vein, during the last year’s edition of the Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE, the Gaia Vari research project was inaugurated in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA). Thanks to the project, amateurs working hand in hand with astronomy specialists have a chance for their love of space exploration to become something more than just a hobby – simple observations and analyses performed independently may contribute to increasing our knowledge about the Universe. The purpose of the activities related to the Eureopan City of Science 2024 is to include as much as possible the inhabitants of Katowice and all cities of the region in deciding about the directions for science development, indicating the activities that scientists should handle, as well as searching for answers to the questions that are significant for the local communities. Thanks to the European City of Science, the inhabitants’ impact on solving problems analysed by scientists will increase. The use of a scientific method in searching for solutions to both local and global problems will increase the opportunities to make our city healthier and more comfortable to live in.

Science is for everyone

The times when science was available only for a narrow circle of scientists closed in their workshops and laboratories have already passed. We all use scientific achievements, and knowledge about new discoveries and achievements is available for everyone. The universities forming the Academic Consortium take many efforts to share their achievements with the inhabitants. Through open lectures, exhibitions, presentations and workshops, 9,640 employees of Silesian universities regularly share their knowledge with those who are interested in it. The potential of researchers at universities contributes to developing our knowledge about the world. You can read more about the specialisations of our scientists in the information prepared on the occasion of the Polish Science Day.

Researchers popularise science, reaching out to recipients at every age. This is not only about large events such as the above-mentioned Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE, Biologists’ Night, Scientists’ Night, Pi Day, „Agrafa” competition and conference, Innovation Night, numerous international musical festivals, prestigious sports competitions and university open days. This also means regular information about particular patents, discoveries and research papers, which are published on university websites, in different communication channels, including the Facebook profile of the European City of Science. The ongoing science communication and development of Silesian Science have been awarded for several years with the annual  Silesian Scientific Award, including the special prize for specific research activities to the benefit of Katowice. These efforts have been noticed – Katowice is becoming a recognisable place for science communication in Poland and Europe.

Well-known and popular science communicators, strongly connected with the Silesian universities and region, help us reach a wider group of recipients. Individuals such as Tomasz Rożek, PhD – physicist and founder of „Nauka. To lubię!” channel, Łukasz Lamża, PhD – philosopher, journalist and author of books on science communication and Jarosław Juszkiewicz, scientific journalist and spokesperson of the Planetarium – Silesian Science Park, have been successfully popularising and explaining the secrets of different scientific disciplines for years.

Our goal is to involve non-professionals in the development of science to the same extent as scientists. The above-mentioned citizen science is only one of the methods to cement the relationship between experts and inhabitants. In the City of Science, we aim at finding a response to many problems of people in Katowice, which is why we want to make the cooperation between both parties even closer. The scientific method, based on finding objective facts that enable to indicate the most effective solutions, is to be the efficient tool in implementing these assumptions.

Make friends with science:

Katowice may already boast of dynamically operating research centres and active science communicators, as well as highly involved community of inhabitants. The awarded title of European City of Science 2024 is the encouragement to create new opportunities of contact with science for local and regional communities.

We are actively working on the establishment of Green Science Zone – the space whose centre will be the revitalised Rawa River. It will include the nearby university campuses to become ultimately an attractive location for the inhabitants of Katowice. Here we will be able to spend time, enjoying the inspiring and well-designed surroundings. Work on the project started in full swing in October 2022, when the activities related to prototyping new spaces were initiated. It was based on scientists’ work and analyses of experts in different fields, as well as direct involvement of users (students and inhabitants). We have just taken the first attempts to change the space around Rawa with the joint efforts from Silesian universities and city inhabitants. We aim to return the Rawa surroundings to the community of Katowice by creating new places for work, relax and activities. For our previous actions, together with the University of Silesia and Metropolis GZM, we have just received the MobilityAction Award from the European Commission.

We are also carrying out conceptual work on the Network Science Centre, which is being established in Katowice. The assumption is that this joint body of the university and the city should be available for all inhabitants. The main goal of the project is to create a network of infrastructure elements for Silesian universities and other scientific institutions, which are to become a place for contact with knowledge. We want to provide an involving form of experiencing science, where the borders between a researcher and a person watching the effects of their activities are blurred. We want the centre to become a platform for exchanging experiences, mutual inspiration and searching for responses to urgent issues. The experts will meet non-scientists there as equal partners in discussing and jointly solving the local problems. The Network Science Centre is supposed to enable experiencing and getting to know science in a natural and spontaneous manner. We hope that such organisation will stimulate the creativity of all urban tissue elements. Moreover, the Network Science Centre will complement the Culture Zone in Katowice.

Katowice – the European City of Science 2024

The title awarded to the city is a distinction to boast of, but this is not the most important thing. On the one hand, this is a prize for the activities carried out so far, on the other, a reminder for Katowice, its inhabitants and academic community that we are all participating in transformations important for the region. Each of us may have a real influence on their shape!

The year 2024 is ahead of us, but we are already working hard to fulfill the goals we have: building a strong relationship with the people of Katowice; strengthening the awareness that science is present in the city, as well as long-term change in the inhabitants’ way of thinking and convincing them that it is possible to introduce reforms in the urban space. Our ambition is to carry out all undertaken activities based on a scientific method – this also concerns building the European City of Science programme for 2024. We can already invite the inhabitants to take part in the planned surveys in which they will be able to say how they imagine their City of Science. Please also submit your initiatives, social challenges and ideas for events. The programme of activities in 2024 will be designed for all inhabitants, taking into consideration the needs of various age and social groups. There are plans to operate across the whole city – in each district we can make science contribute to better life. You can send any ideas and questions concerning the programme of the European City of Science to: emn@us.edu.pl

The Academic Consortium Katowice – the City of Science is formed by:

  • Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice
  • Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice
  • Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice
  • Silesian University of Technology,
  • Medical University of Silesia in Katowice,
  • University of Economics in Katowice,
  • University of Silesia in Katowice
  • City of Katowice (strategic consortium partner).

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