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Best of UK research showcased during March

04 March 2011 — 27 March 2011 Research Councils UK (RCUK)

The origins of life, social networking, space exploration and future energy supply are just some areas of research that will be showcased by the Research Councils during March and in particular during National Science and Engineering week from 10 – 20 March. A whole host of activities ranging from public debates, exhibitions, workshops, lectures and school visits have been arranged to give the public an opportunity to learn more about research and the impact it has on the world today.

Professor Alan Thorpe, Chair of RCUK said: “We in Research Councils UK (RCUK) believe that public engagement is vital to ensure the impact of research is felt and understood by society. It not only enhances researcher’s portfolios, it also develops new partnerships between the research community and the public. We work hard to ensure the researchers we fund have opportunities to engage with the public and during March this year we organised a number of activities that will encourage and stimulate this relationship.”

To inspire the next generation of researchers, encourage participation in science and generate public dialogue about the research they fund, the Research Councils are offering a number of opportunities for the public to engage with research. These activities include:

6 March: The RCUK Digital Economy Programme is holding two public debates at the Bath Literature Festival. One will discuss the impact of interaction with gaming and social networking on the future of storytelling and the other, entitled ‘Who rules the World’ will discuss the balance of global superpowers.

4 – 17 March: An exhibition of the achievements of the Medical Research Council (MRC) National Survey for Health and Development (NSHD) is being held at the Science Museum Dana Centre in London. The NSHD is the first ever British cohort study, set up before the NHS was established and has followed the health and wellbeing of 5,000 people born in one particular week in 1946. The exhibition charts the story of this pioneering research on it’s 65th birthday. Between April and June the exhibition will move to locations throughout the UK.

10 – 12 March: The Big Bang Fair at the Excel Centre in London is the biggest event in the UK that celebrates science and engineering. It is aimed at young people, their parents and teachers and this year RCUK is running a stand focused on energy ‘Powering the future: from biofuels to nuclear fusion’ which will feature the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The MRC is running a workshop and exhibition stand about ‘DNA: the stuff of life’. Human Nutrition Research and the MRC Biostatistics Unit and running interactive exhibit 'Are you really what you eat?'

And, the British Geological Survey, an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is sharing a stand with the Geological Society and the Science Council to display a school Seismology Project instrument.

11, 17 and 21 March: STFC’s ‘Talking Science series’ of talks continues with an insight into how the UK’s brightest light source is helping us read the Dead Sea Scrolls (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory 11 March) and an assessment of whether we should be worried about meteorite ‘thunderstorms’ (Daresbury Laboratory, 17 March) .  The hidden Universe will be revealed at The UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh on 21 March.

14 – 27 March: The MRC will be at the University of Cambridge Science Festival under the theme of 'Science for Life'. Nine MRC units and centres will demonstrate a wide range of important research.

15 – 17 March: Rothamsted Research, an institute of BBSRC, is holding a ‘School Science Week’ for primary and secondary school pupils at its site in North Wyke, Devon.

16 – 18 March: STFC is running a series of ‘Particle Physics Master Classes’ for ‘A’ Level students at its Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire and Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire. The students will have the opportunity to use real data from the Large Hadron Collider.

18 March: The RCUK Energy Programme is holding a public debate at the York Festival of Science and Technology about ‘Future Scenarios’ for energy supply.

19 March: The National Oceanography Centre, an institute of NERC, is running an ‘Ocean and Earth Day’ at their centre in Southampton. Visitors of all ages will learn about the influence of the oceans on the Earth’s climate. The event marks the start of the UK’s first ‘Climate Week’.

24 March: BBSRC is holding a business networking event ‘Bioscience for Growth 2011’ in London where guests from leading universities, business, industry along with investors and policy makers will discuss translating research into commercial and other impacts. An award for the ‘BBSRC Innovator of the Year’ will also be presented at the event.

These are just some highlights of activities going on throughout March. Information about the above and much more is available here.

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