British Science Week, formerly known as the National Science and Engineering Week, is underway, with events taking place across the country from the 8th to 17th March. 

It’s the nation’s largest science celebration of its kind, with a ‘feast’ of activities and events organised by the British Science Association (BSA) to celebrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — and promote and inspire teachers, students, professionals and innovations across the STEM industries.

For 10 days in a row, hundreds of events, activities and initiatives will be showcased throughout the UK, to demonstrate the vital role of STEM in building a more inclusive, innovative, and sustainable society. The theme this year is ‘Time’, inviting participants to consider how time is key to so many discoveries in all areas of science.

From the evolution of plants and animals, to the Earth’s movements, to the issue of food waste and how passing time impacts different foods, there’s a wide range of subjects being explored throughout the week to inspire learners of all ages.

The event was first held in the UK in 1994 as ‘National Science and Engineering Week’, making this year its 30th anniversary. It has since grown to be one of the largest national celebrations of science. In 2017, more than one million people participated in over 2,000 activities and events throughout the country. 

Its name was changed to reflect the inclusive nature of the event, create broader appeal, and make it more accessible to people from diverse backgrounds and communities.

British Science Week is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills, along with various other partners and supporters, who together coordinate events for the week. 

What’s happening and how to get involved

There are a range of science fairs, exhibitions, workshops, talks, demonstrations, and hands-on experiments taking place in various locations throughout the UK, all of which are designed to be interactive and educational, and allow participants to learn through exploration, discovery, and experimentation.

With many events online, anyone can take part from anywhere; be it through joining digital webinars or sharing and tagging posts on social media. For example, this year British Science Week is partnering with Nature’s Calendar to recruit more ‘recorders’ – calling on people to record and report first signs of spring, so they can compare the findings to previous and future years.

Throughout the week, thousands of schools, households, community groups and businesses across the UK are coming together to count their plastic waste, in the Big Plastic Count initiative. The investigation will reveal how much plastic we’re throwing away, and what really happens to it afterwards. The results will be presented to our politicians, to help them lead the way at the global talks that could finally phase out plastic pollution for good.

Find out more about what’s happening, here.

Promoting diversity

The event offers opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities, to engage with STEM and challenge stereotypes about who can participate and succeed in these fields.

The ‘Smashing Stereotypes‘ initiative will explore over 40 stories from individuals and teams that challenge long-standing stereotypes, with the aim of encouraging more young people, from all backgrounds, to see themselves as scientists.

Networking opportunities

The event brings together scientists, educators, industry professionals, policymakers, and the public, enabling them to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and foster collaboration. It provides a platform for networking, partnership building, and knowledge sharing, and can lead to new connections, initiatives, and opportunities for collaboration in STEM.

Young people are encouraged to join events and webinars and chat to real scientists, engineers and STEM professionals, to discuss their interest in different STEM areas, and approaches for exploring future career paths.

Explore innovations and how to be a part of the solution

British Science Week highlights the role of science and engineering in addressing pressing societal challenges, such as climate change, health, energy, sustainability, and social inequality. 

By raising awareness of these issues and showcasing the innovative solutions being developed by scientists and engineers, the event inspires people to take action and make a positive difference in their communities and the world.

Learn more about our upcoming programme 

Engineering: Today, Tomorrow & Beyond, is an upcoming ITN Business programme featuring the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). The programme will shine a light on the positive work in action across the spectrum of engineering specialties, raise awareness of the various possibilities in engineering careers and reinforce how critical the engineering profession is to achieving our sustainability goals.

Explore some of our interview with experts, thought-leaders and change-makers in the world of STEM: