Talks & Discussions

An arena for discussion and exchange of ideas

On Saturday, the Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, minister Heinz Faßmann, the cultural studies scholar Aleida Assmann and FWF President Klement Tockner will open the festival.

Afterwards, renowned panel guests will take the microphone in several discussion rounds: under the title “What is life?” together with the moral theologian Sabine Müller, the Wittgenstein Prize winner Jan-Michael Peters will explore the relationship between science and society using examples from modern achievements in life sciences; hosted by ORF Radio Wien editor-in-chief Jasmin Dolati, pioneers such as the START Award winner Miriam Unterlass, the entrepreneur Helmut List and the physicist and innovator Markus Aspelmeyer will show how curiosity, creativity and the pioneering spirit can be cultivated; chaired by the Radio Ö1 science editor Martin Haidinger, a panel discussion with the science researcher Ulrike Felt, the lawyer Stephan Rixen, the citizen-science expert Florian Heigl and the opinion pollster Eva Zeglovits will go into the acceptance and integrity of science. In the evening, at the “Science and Entrepreneurship Slam” researchers such as the archaeologist Julia Budka, instrument designer Martin Kaltenbrunner, biologist Eva Ringler and zoologist Michael Traugott demonstrate their show talent and compete for the affections of the festival-goers.

Sunday morning is dedicated to the young audience: in the morning, Rolf-Rüdiger, ORF Wien TV’s riddling rat, broadcasts live from Maria-Theresien-Platz, followed by environmental historian Verena Winiwarter’s children’s lecture “Taming Rivers and Building Castles”.

In the afternoon, the systems scientist Keywan Riahi and environmental economist Sigrid Stagl will discuss ways of coping with the climate crisis. Under the title “50 Years of Top Research in Austria”, hosted by journalist Eva Stanzl, Chair of the Austrian Club of Education and Science Journalists, Wiener Zeitung, former Federal President Heinz Fischer, computer scientist Monika Henzinger, former President of the European Science Council Helga Nowotny and former FWF President Christoph Kratky will take an anecdotal retrospective look at the development of basic research in Austria. Chaired by career director of Die Presse Michael Köttritsch, the gender-equality officer Sylwia Bukowska, literary scholar Julia Grillmayr, Die Zeit journalist Anna-Lena Scholz, Wittgenstein Prize winner Renée Schroeder and HR expert Gundi Wentner ask why there are still too few women in senior positions in science. Immediately afterwards, the FWF will award prizes to successful women employees in its programmes to promote women in basic research.

On Monday ORF, the state broadcaster, invites you to a DialogForum special. Chaired by Klaus Unterberger, Elisabeth Hoffmann, German research spokeswoman of the year, Tom Matzek, science editor of ORF, open-science expert Kaja Mayer and the author and radio- and TV-show host discuss the relationship between science, the media and the public.

Partner programme

The Cern Research Centre is hosting a travelling exhibition at the festival site and together with experts from science, industry and politics is discussing the question “Research? What’s it to me?” A symposium organised by the Institute for Social Ecology of Vienna’s University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences will discuss future issues of interdisciplinary research. The Austrian Agency for Scientific Integrity invites you to the symposium “Promoting a Culture of Integrity”, and under the title “Inclusive Science: The Pros and Cons of Open Science and Citizen Science”, Uniko Universities Austria is for the first time organising the “University Discourse Austria”.

START and Wittgenstein Awards as the closing ceremony

The festival concludes with a very special award ceremony. Peter Strohschneider, President of the German Research Foundation, will open with a ceremonial address, EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas, science minister Heinz Faßmann and FWF President Klement Tockner will present Austria’s most highly endowed science awards. The award ceremony is by invitation only.