On 21 November in Rome, the ALLEA President participated in the Balzan Prizewinners’ Interdisciplinary Forum, which was organised by the host, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, as well as the International Balzan Prize Foundation.
Professor Günter Stock introduced the forum with a keynote lecture. In his speech, he underlined the advantages prestigious awards such as the Balzan Prize offer the science and research system. By forming a list of desiderata that include such needs as true interdisciplinarity, the preservation of the roots of innovation – namely, curiosity-driven research including that in the social sciences and humanities – and effective science education for the younger generation, Professor Stock laid the groundwork for discussing the role of academies and foundations in achieving these goals. He placed particular emphasis on the historic ability of academies and foundations to provide a safe environment for new ideas and research projects away from the mainstream and identify new challenges and needs at their earliest stages. Furthermore, he highlighted the unique position of these institutions in bringing science and the public closer together in order to promote a productive space for public deliberation. Lastly, Professor Stock lauded the cooperation between the Balzan Foundation and the Accademia dei Lincei as a glowing example of academies and foundations joining forces and emphasised the benefits of more institutions engaging in cooperative activities on behalf of the scientific community.
Opening remarks were provided by Alberto Quadrio Curzio, Vice-President of the Accademia dei Lincei, who noted ALLEA’s “fundamental role” in addressing science policy issues, and Salvatore Veca, Chairman of the Balzan General Prize Committee. The 2014 Prize recipients, introduced by members of the General Prize Committee, then spoke about their careers while emphasising the achievements that earned them the Prize. The talks were followed by comments by panellists and questions from the audience, with Enrico Decleva, the President of the International Balzan Prize Foundation, acting as moderator.
To read Professor Stock’s keynote lecture, please click here.
To view a video of the forum, please click here.
The International Balzan Prize Foundation’s aim is to promote culture, the sciences and the most meritorious initiatives in the cause of humanity, peace and fraternity among peoples throughout the world.
Currently, four annual awards are given: two in literature, moral sciences and the arts; and two in the physical mathematical and natural sciences and medicine. Prize winners must designate half of their awards for research projects preferably carried out by young humanists and scientists.
At intervals of no fewer than three years, the Balzan Foundation also awards a prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity among Peoples.