The Big-ger Bang – Science Explosion Hailed as the Best Yet

From robots, trees and rockets to hair and outer space, Dundee is set to be ignited with the biggest and best Dundee Science Festival ever.

Now in its third year, the fortnight-long festival (Saturday 29 October – Sunday 13 November 2011) is set to explore the fun, excitement and relevance of science to all, with over 60 events, twice as many as last year, more partners and a diverse range of over 25 venues.

The festival was launched in a blaze of sparks and explosions last night (Thursday 29 September 2011), as David Wharton, local scientist, wowed the crowd with a taste of things to come.

As well as universities, schools and public spaces, events will be held at a coffee shop, hairdressing salon, Dundee Contemporary Arts, bars, Overgate, Botanic Garden and The McManus.

The festival will also include two free family fun days at Dundee Science Centre during the first and last Sunday of the festival. For the first time in its history, the festival will also take events outside Dundee – to Arbroath and Tayport – and involve youngsters from Perth and Kinross and Angus for the Tayside’s Got Talent competition.

The two weeks of events have been specially tailored to enthuse people of all ages as well as the local thriving business and scientific community. A vibrant programme of events aimed at adults will include dance and comedy, lectures and film.

Throughout the first week of the festival, thousands of pupils from over 30 Dundee primary schools will be investigating the smells, noises, colours and textures of science through a variety of mini experiments, workshops and talks – both inside and outside of school, including a new workshop at Claypotts Castle. Booking is now well underway and schools are encouraged to sign up before term ends on Friday 7 October.

Dundee Science Festival, coordinated by Dundee Science Centre, is supported by the Scottish Government, Dundee City Council, Research Councils UK (RCUK) and The Gannochy Trust.

Dr Kerry Leslie, Head of Public Engagement with Research at Research Councils UK said, “Research Councils UK are pleased to support Dundee Science Festival in 2011. We believe it is vitally important to engage the public with research. Events such as the Festival are valuable in highlighting the developments, achievements and impacts of research on society. It is also an excellent opportunity for RCUK researchers to share their work with the wider community and engage the public with their research”.

Commenting on the Festival, its Patron Professor Sir Philip Cohen said, “Dundee Science Festival continues to go from strength to strength and promises to be bigger and better than ever this year. This is as it should be because the Life Sciences and Biotechnology account for 17% of the local economy. Dundee is no longer the City of the “3 J's”Jute, Jam and Journalism, but the City of the “3 Bs”, Biochemistry, Biomedicine and Biotechnology with some 10,000 people employed directly or indirectly in this area.

“A similar number of people are employed in the computer games industry, which is a spin-off from  the development of computer science. If we want our children to be able to live and work in Dundee in the future they will therefore need to develop an interest and passion for science and Dundee Science Festival is a great way for Dundonians of all ages to get a feel for the fascination and fun of science.”

Professor Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland commented, “Festivals are a great way for people to have fun exploring science and find out about local research and career opportunities. They're also a focal point of support for local schools looking to strengthen their science learning and teaching through Curriculum for Excellence. It's good to see how quickly Dundee Science Festival has grown and, coming from Arbroath, I'm particularly pleased to see that the event is reaching out to towns and communities across Tayside.”

Other supporting partners are EventScotland, Skills Development Scotland, University of Dundee and University of Abertay Dundee, Dundee College, Dundee Waterfront, Medical Research Council, James Hutton Institute, as well as Dundee Science Centre.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said, “This is the first year that EventScotland are working with Dundee Science Festival through our National Funding Programme. The event is aiming to build on its success last year by attracting more visitors to the event through various PR, marketing and social media channels and our support will enhance these activities and the development of the festival as a whole. It is set to be a great event for the whole family.”

For further information, please email dundeesciencefestival@dundeesciencecentre.org.uk, visit www.dundeesciencefestival.org or telephone 01382 228800.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils. We invest annually around £3 billion in research. Our focus is on excellence with impact. We nurture the highest quality research, as judged by international peer review providing the UK with a competitive advantage. Global research requires we sustain a diversity of funding approaches, fostering international collaborations, and providing access to the best facilities and infrastructure, and locating skilled researchers in stimulating environments. Our research achieves impact – the demonstrable contribution to society and the economy made by knowledge and skilled people. To deliver impact, researchers and businesses need to engage and collaborate with the public, business, government and charitable organisations. www.rcuk.ac.uk

The seven UK Research Councils are:

Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)

Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Medical Research Council (MRC)

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

2. EventScotland, the national events agency, works to promote Scotland as the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting sporting and cultural portfolio it helps to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy through events tourism. www.EventScotland.org.

The year of Active Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative and is one of a series of focus years and a legacy from Homecoming Scotland 2009 being delivered by EventScotland and VisitScotland which aims to encourage and inspire everyone to get active. For more information on events in the year of Active Scotland go to www.eventscotland.org/activescotland.

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