Newcastle success in bid to win British Science Festival

The British Science Festival – Europe’s largest and most high profile public science event – is coming to Newcastle in September 2013.

The British Science Association unveiled Newcastle as the festival location on the anniversary of the birth of William George Armstrong, one of the city’s most famous inventors and President of the British Science Association in 1863.

The British Science Festival brings over 350 of the UK’s top scientists, engineers and commentators together to discuss the latest developments in science and technology with the public. Tens of thousands of visitors regularly attend a wide variety of events: from hands-on family days to debates on current hot topics and unique opportunities to question the UK’s top scientists.

Some of the activities on offer include:

  • workshops
  • exciting hands-on exhibitions
  • a ‘miraculous science’ show
  • discussions about the latest breakthroughs and issues with renowned experts
  • fun quizzes, science comedy and drama
  • science buskers on the streets

Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, said: “We are thrilled to be returning, on our seventh visit since our formation in 1831, to Newcastle, a diverse city with thriving cultural and educational institutions. 

“This major national event, in the full gaze of the media, will draw public attention to the latest developments in science and technology, and will stimulate discussion about their implications and the place of the sciences in modern culture.”

The event proposal process will open in autumn 2012 and organisations, institutions and businesses – from Tyne and Wear and elsewhere – are invited to submit to be part of this huge public event.

Professor Ella Ritchie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, said: “It is a real coup for Newcastle to have been chosen by the British Science Association to host such a prestigious science festival.

“The opportunity for us to showcase some of the latest advances in science, technology and engineering will further enhance our reputation as a city of science and attract hundreds of businesses and visitors to the area throughout the six-day event.”

Councillor Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council added: “It is an honour that Newcastle has been chosen as the location for this prestigious festival. As a Science City, Newcastle is leading research around stem cell and regenerative medicine, ageing, health and sustainability – just the latest in a long line of ground-breaking scientific developments.

“It is important that we get more young people involved in science as this will be the future of Newcastle. I am confident that the decision by the British Science Association to come here will be a major boost to our reputation around the world.”

Almost every year since 1831, when the British Science Association was founded as the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Festival (previously known as the Annual Meeting) has taken place at a different location around the country. During that time, Newcastle has hosted the Festival six times – in 1838, 1863, 1889, 1916, 1949 and 1995.

The Festival has been the stage for many iconic moments in history, such as the first use of the word ‘scientist’ (in 1834) and the famous debate about Darwin’s controversial theory of evolution between Thomas Huxley and the Bishop of Oxford (in 1860).

The location and date (7 – 12 September 2013) was offically launched by Philip Wilson, Director of Development from the British Science Association, Professor Ella Ritchie, and Cllr Joyce McCarty on Armstrong’s famous Swing Bridge on Newcastle’s Quayside, which is maintained by the Port of Tyne. The announcement was made jointly by the British Science Association and Newcastle University.

The 2013 British Science Festival is organised by the British Science Association in partnership with Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and a number of other local partners.

Published on: 28th November 2011