British Science Festival will create legacy in Newcastle

LASTING legacies in innovation, industry and investment could be left when Newcastle hosts the British Science Festival, organisers say.

'Ideas Take Flight' workshop to encourage interest in 'British Science Festival 2013'

LASTING legacies in innovation, industry and investment could be left when Newcastle hosts the British Science Festival, organisers say.

The six-day festival of science comes to the city in September next year but preparations are already well under way.

Today, the festival’s Call for Proposals is being launched, asking for ideas from across the nation as to what should be explored as part of the prestigious event.

Professor Ella Ritchie, deputy vice chancellor at Newcastle University, last night said the event was a “coup” for the university and the region.

She added that the festival could become a regular event in the city, further enhancing its reputation as a centre for science and innovation.

“It’s a real coup for Newcastle University to be hosting Europe’s largest and longest-running science event, and it’s testament to our world-class scientific strength that this will be the seventh visit of the festival to the city,” said Prof Ritchie.

“We hope to see a lasting legacy as a result of the festival, and see it as one of the many ways we are working to bring more innovation and more investment to the city and region.

“If the festival is a success, we are hopeful it will come back to the city on a more regular basis.”

The British Science Festival has been running since 1831 and is organised each year by The British Science Association. Europe’s largest and most high profile science event, it brings together hundreds of the UK’s top scientists and up to 80,000 members of the public.

The festival programme caters for audiences of all ages and all levels of scientific understanding, from professional scientists to families.

Events range from cutting-edge lectures and debates to hands-on activities for schools and families, live music, comedy, theatre and exhibitions.

Prof Ritchie said: “It is very much community-based.

“We want to get across that science is not just something which happens in a laboratory. We also hope to raise aspirations among young people to study science and feel confident that they can go on to work in the field.”

Anyone can submit their ideas on what they want to see at the festival by filling in one of the festival postcards on The Journal’s website,

The North East is already recognised as being at the forefront of scientific and technological advancement, and Prof Ritchie said the festival will be an opportunity for the region to showcase its credentials to the UK and the world.

“People will travel nationally and internationally to visit the event,” she said.

“It is a chance to showcase the innovation of organisations and companies around the region.

“It is also a catalyst for getting people working together.”

Newcastle University is hosting the festival, with Northumbria University and Newcastle City Council as associate partners. Lucy Winskell, pro vice-chancellor for region engagement and partnerships at Northumbria University, said: “The event is highly significant for the region and is a key opportunity for our brightest scientists to showcase and celebrate the impact their research has on people’s lives.”

For more information on the festival programme, visit

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