Pop-Up University returns to bring University of Sheffield research to the public

A free festival at which some of the latest pioneering research from the worlds of healthcare, science, technology and art will be presented to the public for the first time is set to be held in Sheffield this month (18-19 September 2021).

A little girl wearing a VR headset at the Pop-Up University
  • University of Sheffield to host free festival to share some of its latest pioneering research with the public
  • Pop-Up University will see academics deliver a series of activities, films and podcasts exploring some of their emerging research that is set to have an impact on people’s lives, such as how music can help people living with dementia, new technologies to improve food security and resources to help parents and teachers with children with Speech Sound Disorder
  • Festival is free and open to all with a range of online and live, in-person events in Sheffield city centre

A free festival at which some of the latest pioneering research from the worlds of healthcare, science, technology and art will be presented to the public for the first time is set to be held in Sheffield this month (18-19 September 2021).

Pop-Up University will see some of the most talented early career researchers and PhD students from the University of Sheffield head to the city’s Tudor Square and deliver a series of free in-person activities on their emerging research that is tackling a range of issues affecting people’s lives.

Alongside the live, in-person events, the festival will also include a collection of podcasts and films so people can join a journey of discovery into some of the latest research and innovations online, from anywhere in the world. 

The festival is free and open to all. Some of the highlights include:

  • Crop growth in space and urban agriculture on Earth - join scientists from the University who are developing new technologies to make growing plants in space possible. These new technologies can also provide a pathway to food security (Film, podcast, live)
  • Pipebots - can you imagine a life without roadworks? A film shows how tiny robots and other new technologies that are being developed by Sheffield engineers are set to help reduce traffic disruption (Film)
  • Assistive technologies for engaging with music in dementia - with music offering many benefits such as connecting people with past memories, building relationships and enhancing overall quality of life, a film explores how new research from the University is linking music, psychology and engineering to create musical interfaces for people living with dementia (Film)
  • Mysterious microbes - from soils and food to me and you - learn about the transformative powers of some of the smallest living creatures on Earth - microbes. Join a Sheffield scientist to learn about how microbial populations and bugs make healthy soils to help plants grow (Live)
  • How do we grow? - a biomedical scientist from the University explains the science of DNA and how, despite remaining the same size throughout our lives, DNA cells help us grow taller (Live) 
  • A sound system: helping children be heard - children with Speech Sound Disorder (SSD) have difficulties with clear pronunciation of sounds when they talk. Join Sheffield human communication scientists to learn more about children’s talking, how children with SSD can be supported and find out about the resources they have developed about SSD for parents and teachers (Live)
  • Solving Earth’s climate emergency by farming with rocks - join researchers from the University for a series of live experiments showing how speeding up rock weathering can help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (Live)

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing back our Pop-Up University this year. The festival is a brilliant opportunity for people from across the city and beyond to explore some of the very latest research that is taking place in Sheffield and the difference it can make on people’s lives. 

“Our researchers are passionate about the work they do and love to present their findings to the public. We know from previous Pop-Up University events that the festival has always been hugely enjoyed by everyone taking part and this year we’re hoping it will be better than ever. 

“We’re looking forward to working with our partners at Sheffield City Council, Maker Futures and Yellow Bus Events to bring the festival back to the city, making it easier than ever before for people to get involved with a mix of live and online events. We would also like to thank Sheffield City Council for providing funding for street activity to help animate Tudor Square during the festival.”

Pop-Up University will be held in Tudor Square, Sheffield, from 11am–3pm Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September 2021. 

For the full programme of events, visit: https://player.sheffield.ac.uk/ (website will be live from 5pm on Friday 3 September 2021).


For further information please contact: