A group of visitors follow the explanations of a JRC scientist about research on water quality © EU, 2013
Open Day 2013 at JRC's Ispra site breaks previous record numbers
On Saturday, 4 May 2013, over 10 300 visitors followed the invitation to spend a day dedicated to science exploration and discovered how the European Commission's in-house science service helps to promote growth, jobs and innovation, a healthy and safe environment, consumer protection and secure energy supplies.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, was impressed by the way JRC scientists brought to life the motto of the JRC Open Doors Day during the "Year of the Citizen" (2013), 'La scienza per te – Science for you'. Indeed, the thousands of enthusiastic visitors of all ages appreciated the practical demonstrations, lively presentations and experiments in unique laboratories and in the open space of the JRC's biggest site in Northern Italy.
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn cut the ribbon of the JRC's brand new Visitors' Centre, which will enhance JRC's ability to accommodate the increasing requests for visits. Every year, the JRC's Ispra site hosts over one hundred groups with varied interest - from students interested in earthquake engineering to politicians who want to be briefed about JRC's role in the policy cycle. The new premises will welcome single and group visits, and give them an overview of JRC's multi-faceted activities and its role as the Commission's science service in support of Europe 2020, the EU's strategy for growth and jobs.
The JRC pays great attention to communicating science, and to providing practical examples of the added value of European policies to citizens of all ages. It has become a tradition in Ispra to open the site to visitors at the beginning of May to celebrate Europe Day. The first guided tour for 300 persons was organized back in 1992. Since then the numbers have grown steadily - the 2011 edition counted over 10 000 people - with the Open Day becoming a popular biennial occurrence, not just for the public in the immediate neighbourhood. The JRC is also actively engaged in hosting schools visits and other initiatives aiming at bringing science close to young people.
Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn follows the explanations on safety of materials that are in contact with our food after inaugurating the JRC Visitors' centre © EU, 2013