April 20, 2017

Massive Support for “March for Science”

The Alliance of Austrian Science Organizations and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy call for massive support of the demonstration held on April 22, 2017 in Vienna.

The “March for Science” will be held in numerous cities all over the world on April 22, 2017. This initiative, which started in the United States and has since spread, aims to send a strong message of support for freedom and openness in science and against anti-democratic and anti-scientific tendencies.

The current political climate in the United States and Europe gives cause for concern. The falsification of facts and defamation of scientists for ideological purposes threaten not only science, but also the basis of democracy.

Science is not a matter of belief. It is grounded in facts and substantiated by arguments, and some alarming statements made by individuals and groups worldwide seem to run counter these principles. A post-truth society that bases decisions on moods, opinions or blatant lies questions the great political, social, cultural, technological, and economic achievements of the previous centuries. Only the freedom, independence, and internationalism of science and its critical, evidence-based thinking continue to guarantee the constructive development of society.

Crucial questions must be addressed: How does society cope with knowledge that is available but remains inaccessible? What can be done to promote knowledge that is urgently needed but is not sought after? This requires more openness in science and more communication with society.

“On April 22, we are taking to the streets to raise our voices against alternative facts and lies, and in support of enlightenment and freedom in science,” says Universities Austria President Oliver Vitouch on behalf of the Alliance.

“Freedom in science is the essence of our democracy. Universities and research institutes are places of critical discussion, tolerance and free thinking. This is what makes initiatives that stand up for openness and freedom in a knowledge-based society so valuable,” adds Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy Reinhold Mitterlehner.

Vienna March for Science

The Alliance of Austrian Science Organizations and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy support this important initiative and call for active participation in the “Vienna March for Science”. The Austrian counterpart of the worldwide demonstrations will take place on Saturday, April 22 starting at 1:00pm at the Sigmund Freud Park in Vienna.

Its purpose is to send a global message of support for freedom and independence in science.

Alliance of Austrian Science Organizations

The Alliance of Austrian Science Organizations is a platform for sharing and exchanging views on science policy. Its members include Thomas Henzinger (Institute of Science and Technology Austria), Helga Nowotny (ad personam), Klement Tockner (Austrian Science Fund FWF), Oliver Vitouch (Universities Austria) as well as Anton Zeilinger (Austrian Academy of Scienses). The current chairperson is Klement Tockner of the Austrian Science Fund.

Further information at http://www.sciencemarchvienna.at/