Astronauts, Composers and Dope Testers

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This week the European Innovation Conference takes place in Brussels, and it is free. The Innovation Convention is an essential part of the Innovation Union flagship initiative, the European Union strategy which aims to create an innovation-friendly environment that makes it easier for great ideas to be turned into products and services that will bring our economy growth and jobs. A pocket guide to the innovation Union can be downloaded here free. Sounds great to me, and it’s not half as boring as it sounds.

The Convention provides a platform to debate and inform policies that will contribute towards the building of a research and innovation eco-system in Europe that can support this objective. It hosts an innovation cafe, innovation showcases, science in art, fringe sessions and performance artists.

It is a broadly drawn group of guests, I can honestly say that there is something for everyone here.

There are lots of interesting looking sessions, one that tickles my fancy is on Monday. Are we alone in the Universe? Can we become Interplanetary? Is the title of a session that includes Seth Shostak (Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute, United States) Suzanne Aigrain (Lecturer in Astrophysics in Oxford, United Kingdom) and Mae Jemison (Principal, 100 Year Starship, and former astronaut, United States). I personally have never met an astronaut, and since Niel has passed on I have been pining to do so.

Who said you never get anything for free in this life? An astronaut and an alien hunter to start with.

If that doesn’t grab you, why not go and meet Serge Haroche the 2012 Nobel Prize Laureate for Physics, the world famous Belfast born composer Deirdre Gribbin or even Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission?

Have a beer at the reception with the South African Minister of Science and technology, he can tell you a few stories I’m sure, then a late night tipple in the bar with the Science Director of the World Anti-Doping Agency before stumbling off to bed for a good night’s sleep.

A bleary eyed morning awaits you, but don’t miss The Digital Revolution: Riding the next wave of Innovation, have a moment with IBM’s Chief Privacy Officer (don’t mention the war) before the awards ceremony and a fantastic light show to close.

You can be back on the train and in Utrecht in time to catch Jim on his European tour. What a trip!

Registration is available through the link above.

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Jonny Hankins

Author of the 2012 ebook "A Handbook for Responsible Innovation" (99c from Amazon), Jonny works for the Bassetti Foundation in Milan publishing articles on innovation and responsibility on their website and also blogging about his interests. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Responsible Innovation and a member of the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability.

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