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Italian Research Day at UNESCO: celebrating the 60th anniversary of ICTP Trieste


On 10 April, Italian Research Day at UNESCO was dedicated to the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). Founded in 1964 in Trieste by Nobel Physics Laureate Abdus Salam, the ICTP is the only UNESCO Category I Institute in the Natural Sciences. The centre is run jointly by UNESCO, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Italy, which is also its main funder.

The ceremony was attended by Professor Serge Haroche, 2012 Nobel Prize winner for Physics, who in his speech emphasised the indissoluble link between theoretical research motivated by pure curiosity(blue sky research) and applied research aimed at achieving technological innovations and economic results. Professor Atish Dabholkar, Director of the ICTP, moderated a round table discussion among young female researchers trained at the ICTP, exploring topics closely in tune with UNESCO’s priorities, such as the crucial role of science in overcoming gender barriers and promoting development in Africa, where the ICTP has financed more than 100 scientific cooperation initiatives in recent years.

For sixty years, the ICTP has embodied a priority in national policies to support scientific research, as well as being a UNESCO Category 1 Centre, i.e. a structure that is an integral part of the Organisation. With the event on 10 April, Italy renewed its commitment to the future of the Centre and called on all UNESCO member states to make the most of this important platform for the development of knowledge along the Organisation’s strategic guidelines, such as priority for Africa and gender equality.