The British Science Association and De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are pleased to announce that the British Science Festival in 2022 will take place in the city of Leicester across five days next September.

Celebrating the 191st anniversary of the Festival, and working in partnership with the University, the British Science Association will bring the flagship event to the region for the first time since 2002. The British Science Festival is one of Europe’s longest-established science festivals, which each year travels to a different part of the UK. It brings a vast array of events, performances and installations with a scientific twist, celebrating the people, stories and ideas at the heart of science.

Joining forces with DMU and other organisations across the East Midlands region and beyond, the British Science Festival will shine a light on cutting-edge science, as well as the more practical impacts research and innovation have on people’s daily lives.

The Festival will be held between Tuesday 13 and Saturday 17 September 2022, with events being held on the University’s campus, as well as at venues across the city, offering over 100 free activities for nearby residents.

The baton to host the next British Science Festival was officially handed over at the end of the 2021 event that took place in Chelmsford this week, in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University.

Professor David Mba, DMU’s Pro Vice Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, said: “DMU has a long track record of conducting research that makes a real difference to people. Only last year several of our academics were ranked amongst the most influential scientists in the world, further reinforcing the impact our researchers are having on a global scale.

“It is therefore an honour to be hosting next year’s British Science Festival, giving people across the East Midlands the opportunity to visit the DMU campus and engage with our academics and nationally renowned scientists across a broad range of disciplines”

Fi Donovan, Head of Public Engagement at DMU, added: “We are honoured to be hosting the British Science Festival 2022 and welcoming the event back to the East Midlands after 20 years away. We are excited to be working closely with British Science Association colleagues, city partners and our own expert academic staff and students to create an engaging programme for the city of Leicester.  

“Continuing to build a thought-provoking, fun and engaging programme over the coming months will be hard work but well worth the effort – next September seems a long way off but we have a lot to achieve in that time, working across the university and with the diverse range of communities across Leicester.”

Antonio Benitez, Director of the British Science Festival, said: “I am delighted that the British Science Festival will be heading to De Montfort University in 2022. The University has built a fantastic reputation for its research and scientific excellence over recent years, and it’s incredibly exciting to know that we will be working with the world-class researchers and academics based there to produce the programme.

“I am thrilled that we will be able to bring the British Science Festival back to the region after such a long time away – Leicester and the East Midlands region have made some amazing contributions to science and innovation – and it is so exciting that we will be able to showcase some of this cutting-edge work to the people and communities living in the area.”

The first British Science Festival meeting took place in York in 1831 and is one of the British Science Association’s leading engagement programmes. It has been two decades since the Festival last visited the city of Leicester and the East Midlands region, having been hosted by the University of Leicester in 2002. This is the first time in the Festival’s history that the event will be run in partnership with DMU.

The British Science Festival is aimed at an adult audience with a broad but non-specialist interest in science, and usually includes around 100 events, all of which are specially curated by the British Science Association in collaboration with partners and stakeholders. World-leading academics from DMU and other institutions and organisations across the UK will present, discuss and debate cutting-edge science from across the scientific disciplines together with its impact on wider society, at a range of different events, talks and performances. Over the next 12 months, the British Science Association and DMU will work together to refine and develop the programme of events.

The Festival has been the stage for many iconic moments in history – such as the famous debate on Darwin’s controversial theory of evolution between Thomas Huxley and the Bishop of Oxford in 1860. It also saw the first use of the word ‘scientist,’ in 1834.

The origins of the Festival, previously known as the annual meeting, can be traced back to York, in 1831. Since then it has travelled the globe, including visits to Montreal and Australia.