By Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive, British Science Association 

It’s 2 months to go until this year’s British Science Week kicks off and we cannot wait! This will be its 24th year, so it’s a good time to ask – do we still need a Science Week?

We know that currently, 76% of the UK population don’t see themselves as a ‘sciencey’ person (King’s College Culture Tracker survey 2015). Our aim is to change that: we want more people to see science as part of their identity. It’s not about getting more people to become professional research scientists – it’s about enabling more of us to have an everyday, cultural relationship with science.

Science is not just for scientists – many more of us should be involved in enjoying, discovering or criticising science, or even poking fun at it. To get started, we need a whole array of bitesize opportunities around the country – events that we can dip into, activities that show the relevance of science to our everyday cares, a chance to try new things in a friendly environment. This is exactly what British Science Week aims to do.

Previous British Science Week event

For example, we all know that plastic litter is damaging the life of our oceans (remember David Attenborough imploring us to do more in Blue Planet 2?). How can we help clean up the oceans? One of our fantastic partners for British Science Week is The Plastic Tide who want you to help their computers learn what litter on beaches look like by tagging images from your sofa. We’re hoping to get 250,000+ image tags during British Science Week 2018 – and we won’t get there unless thousands of people get involved. You don’t have to be ‘sciencey’ to care about the future of our oceans.

Last year we also launched Run the Solar System, an immersive running app with the solar system scaled down to a 10k virtual race. Participants didn't have to be 'sciencey' to take part in the app or live race and it attracted attention from runners, space enthusiasts and general tech fans alike. We're launching a brand-new app this year, Run to the Deep, which will follow a similar format, guiding users through the deepest ocean depths to the Mariana Trenches. More information to follow on this soon...

Runners cross the finish line at last year's live Run the Solar System race

So, you don’t have to be ‘sciencey’ to get involved in British Science Week. Come along to an event, follow us on Twitter (@ScienceWeekUK) or download one of our virtual races.

One day sometime in the future, perhaps in another 24 years, we hope all of us will see ourselves as ‘sciencey’ in some way. Then the work of British Science Week will be done.