City festival to showcase science and engineering

The Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering 2017, organised by the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, will spark into life next month bringing world-leading research to life.


TV scientist Professor Alice Roberts delivers the festival’s launch event The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, which will explore the evolutionary history all of us have as humans, growing from a single cell into a fully formed human in just a few short months and will be held on Sunday 5 March at Sheffield Hallam.

The festival, which runs throughout March, is an opportunity for schools and colleges, families and individuals to engage with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through a series of exciting events including talks, exhibitions, tours, hands-on activities and even beer tasting. The festival coincides with British Science Week, and aims to celebrate the world-class science and engineering research at both of Sheffield's universities.

The festival will also welcome Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2016. He will give a talk at the University of Sheffield on 14 March, where he conducted some of his groundbreaking science research.

There are two strands to the festival; the schools programme with researchers from both universities and partner organisations visiting more than 100 schools across South Yorkshire to deliver over 200 free talks and activities to pupils of all ages.

The public side features a wide range of free events, open to everyone, taking place across the region in multiple venues including both Universities. In 2015 more than 6,600 people attended the public programme.

Professor Tony Ryan, from the University of Sheffield, who is one of the festival’s key organisers, said: "I'm delighted to once again be involved in this fantastic festival. It is wonderful to see so many scientists and engineers from across the region giving up their time to engage with the public and bring their work to life.

"This year there are more than 50 events in diverse locations including museums, pubs and cafes showcasing the region's achievements in science and engineering research. From hearing leading scientists discuss how they played a part in major breakthroughs like the recent detection of the Higgs boson to looking at the part robots will play in the future, there really is something for everyone."

Dr Katherine Rawlinson, from Sheffield Hallam, who is also a lead organiser, said: "This year's festival is the biggest so far and we are very excited about the range of events open to everyone in Sheffield and the region. Alice Roberts' event is one of the early highlights of the festival and we hope that by the end of the festival, people of all ages and backgrounds will have learned or discovered something that fascinates them."

Two highlight events for children and families are the University of Sheffield's Discovery Night on 10 March and Explore Science and Engineering at Sheffield Hallam on 11 March, both featuring hands-on science activities.

Other events from across the festival include the Bitesize X-Lectures in the Sheffield Tap, featuring four academics discussing their work over a beer, including topics such as fertility in young people; doping in sport; fingerprint technology; and why flies are more interesting than the birds and the bees.

There will also be a chance for the public to experience technologies of the future at the festival. Co-biotics: Our Future Shared with Robots will take place on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 March in the Adelphi Room at the Crucible Theatre demonstrating the potential of human-robot collaboration. There will also be a hands-on exhibition on Saturday 11 March where a living room comes to the Winter Garden to allow visitors to test how new technology can help people to live well and age well in the future.

The Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering is taking place throughout March, with British Science Week running 10–19 March. For details on all the festival events, tickets and details please visit

You can also follow the festival on twitter using the hashtag #SFOSE.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield Hallam University is one of the largest universities in the UK, with more than 31,500 students.
It is one of the country's largest providers of health and social care courses, teacher training, and sport and physical activity courses. It is also home to the UK’s largest modern business school.
Its courses are designed and delivered in close partnership with employers, professional associations and practice specialists to ensure that the skills our students develop are relevant. As a result, 93 per cent of its students are in employment or further training within six months of graduation.
As one of the UK's most progressive universities, providing opportunity through widening participation is at the heart of the University. 96 per cent of its young full-time undergraduate UK students are from state schools/colleges and 41 per cent are from low income backgrounds.
Sheffield Hallam’s research is characterised by a focus on real world impact - addressing the cultural, economic and social challenges facing society today. 65 per cent of its research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework.

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For further information please contact:
Clare Parkin
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 2229851