Regular readers will be very aware that a theme I return to regularly is the absolutely critical need for science to engage with wider society. We work with some of the most exciting and potentially far-reaching areas of research in bioscience. Communicating this excitement, as well as being realistic about the potential of this research, to the public and other stakeholders is important to address both concerns and aspirations for the future. So I am thrilled that one of the highlights of BBSRC’s 20th anniversary year is our Great British Bioscience Festival – taking over Museum Gardens in Bethnal Green, East London from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th November.

The festival is a unique and exciting chance for BBSRC and our scientists to bring inspiring bioscience research to the public. We have a fantastic array of entertaining and engaging exhibitions, highlighting some of the best of BBSRC-funded, world-leading bioscience – and the festival is just four underground stops from Holborn tube station!

Our free festival brings together exhibits from the four corners of the UK after a summer when they have already been at public events from Belfast to Bristol. The twenty exhibits seen together provide a wide range of pioneering bioscience stories and interactive displays for everyone to enjoy. Each day of the festival, the scientists involved in BBSRC research will be on hand to explain the science behind the exhibit.

Amongst the exciting exhibits, the public will have the opportunity to:

  • explore their insides in our walk-through giant gut (lovely)
  • see new innovations like replacement body-parts and pain-free injections
  • witness the invisible electrical world of bees in our special flight arena (I am especially looking forward to that)

Engaging and involving local members of the community has been a priority during our planning.

Last month, working with scientists from Oxford Brookes University, we brought the microscopic world of bugs and germs to life for the blind and visually impaired in Tower Hamlets. This was the very first time that visitors from the Thomas Pocklington Trust were able to discover microbes and viruses thanks to 3D printing technology, and left with a new perspective on bioscience – a field highly dependent on vision.

This was a wonderful opportunity to engage with the public in a totally different way and highlights the great things to come this week at the Great British Bioscience Festival.

As part of our 20th anniversary programme, we’ve also invited members of the public to get creative with bioscience through our Images with Impact and Knit-a-bug competitions. Beautiful and inspirational pictures and knitted bugs have been received which have proven to be brilliant opportunities to showcase interesting perspectives on the range of world-leading bioscience we fund in the UK.

Shortlisted entries for both competitions will be on display to the public over the weekend at our Great British Bioscience Festival, where members of the public can vote for the winner of our Images with Impact competition.

I hope as many of you as possible (and your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and acquaintances!) will be able to join us at some point over the coming weekend. I will be going along on Saturday after returning from a visit to India – I will bring bringing two young friends who are aspiring scientists and look forward to seeing you there!

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