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Newcastle wins bid for the British Science Festival 2013

Europe’s largest and most high profile public science event - coming to Newcastle in September 2013

The announcement was made jointly by the British Science Association and Newcastle University.

The British Science Association unveiled Newcastle as the Festival location today (Saturday 26th November), 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 Festival location and date (7 – 12 Sept 2013) was launched by Philip Wilson, Director of Development from the British Science Association, Professor Ella Ritchie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, and Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr. Joyce McCarty on Armstrong’s famous Swing Bridge on Newcastle’s Quayside which is maintained by the Port of Tyne.

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.

During the Festival week, which will run from 7 – 12 September 2013, families, adults and school groups come together to:

• take part in workshops

• explore exciting hands-on exhibitions

• marvel at miraculous science shows

• discuss the latest breakthroughs and issues with renowned experts

• enjoy fun quizzes, science comedy and drama

• interact with science buskers on the streets

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

Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, said ‘We are thrilled to be returning, on our seventh visit since our formation in1831, 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.’

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 Newcastle to showcase some of the latest advances in science, technology and engineering will enhance further 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 the prestigious British Science Festival in 2013.'

'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 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.


For further information please contact:
Ollie Christophers– 020 7019 4946

or Kate Hudson: 0191 222 8312

 Notes for editors

1.      About the British Science Festival
The British Science Festival is one of Europe’s largest science festivals and regularly attracts over 350 of the UK’s top scientists and speakers to discuss the latest developments in science with the public. Over 50,000 visitors regularly attend the talks, discussions and workshops. The Festival takes place at a different location each year and was last held in Newcastle in 1995. The 2013 Festival will take place from 7 - 12 September hosted by Newcastle University. For further information, visit

2.     About the British Science Association
The British Science Association is the UK's nationwide, open membership organisation which provides opportunities for people of all ages to learn about, discuss and challenge the sciences and their implications.

Established in 1831, the British Science Association organises major initiatives across the UK, including National Science & Engineering Week, the annual British Science Festival, programmes of regional and local events, and an extensive programme for young people in schools and colleges. The Association also organises specific activities for the science communication community in the UK through its Science in Society programme.

For more information, please visit
3. About Newcastle University

• Newcastle University is a  Russell Group University

• We ranked 12th in The Sunday Times 2011 Survey

• Amongst our peers in 2011 Newcastle is ranked:

o 5th in the UK for employability of its graduates

o 10th in the UK for student satisfaction

o In the UK’s top 12 for research power in Science and Engineering

• We have a world-class reputation for research excellence and are spearheading three major societal challenges that have a significant impact on global society. These themes are: Ageing and Health, Sustainability, and Social Renewal

• Newcastle University is the first UK university to establish a fully owned international branch campus for medicine at its NUMed Campus in Malaysia which opened in 2011


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