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Exhibiting at the Summer Science Exhibition

The Summer Science Exhibition is a free, week-long festival celebrating the cutting edge of UK science. Over the course of the exhibition we welcome around 13,000 visitors. 

As the Royal Society's longest standing and largest public event, exhibiting is an excellent opportunity to engage a variety of audiences with your research. 

We welcome applications from academic institutions and industry who have innovative and exciting research to showcase which can form the basis of a fun, interactive and hands-on exhibition stand. 

Who can apply? 
Selection Criteria 
Application process
Audience breakdown
Preparing your exhibit
Funding your exhibit
During the event
What do our exhibitors say?

Who can apply?

Applications can be made individually or in collaboration. The lead applicant must be a senior researcher based in the UK.

Exhibitors may wish to jointly submit proposals with their collaborators and other research groups, and may also recruit undergraduates and students to build your exhibit team. 

Read additional information for industry applicants.

Selection Criteria

21 exhibits are chosen from the proposals by the Summer Science Exhibition Committee, which is made up of Fellows of the Royal Society, Research Fellows, teachers and previous exhibitors. Each year, 3 additional exhibits are also chosen as reserves. Selection is based on the following criteria:

1. Quality and cutting edge science
This is the most important component; the science of your exhibit should be novel, robust and ground breaking.

2. Interactive and hands on elements
It is important that the exhibits contain engaging hands on elements to enable visitors of all ages to better understand and interact with the key scientific concepts behind your research.

3. Interest to a broad audience
The Exhibition attracts a varied and broad range of audiences and therefore it is important that the science selected is of broad appeal. The most successful exhibits are often those that are particularly relevant to visitors or their day to day experiences. 

Application process

To apply, please complete the application form with details of your proposed exhibit, institution and any partner organisations. You will be required to briefly describe the scientific content of your exhibit, any proposed interactive activities and what you think will make the exhibit interesting for the public and secondary school students. There is also an opportunity to add details of any relevant scientific publications to support your proposal.

To view a copy of the application form and more detailed guidance for completing your application, please see the documents provided in the call for proposals resource centre. 

Whilst we hope that in 2022 the Royal Society will be able to run an in-person Summer Science Exhibition, we will be closely monitoring developments with the coronavirus pandemic over the next year and following the latest government guidelines for large scale events. We would expect to run the event entirely digitally if it is not possible to do it in person. Please keep this in mind when completing your application.

Writing your proposal

Key Dates

Opening date for proposals: June 2021
Closing date for proposals:  21 September 2021
Selections announced: October 2021
Training day: March 2022
Exhibition set up: 2 - 3 July 2022
Exhibition: 4 - 10 July 2022
Exhibition break-down: 11 July 2022

Audience breakdown

Over the course of the exhibition, we welcome around 13,000 visitors through our doors.

As a rough breakdown, this includes around 10,000 members of the public; 2,200 school students and teachers from all over the UK; and 1,500 invited guests as part of our Soiree evenings, including representatives from media, government and policy influencers. 

Preparing your exhibit

Your exhibit should be engaging for a visitor who doesn't have a scientific background, and include interactive activities. All exhibit spaces are a standard size of 3m x 3m, or 4m x 2m. 

If successful in your application to exhibit in 2022, representatives of your exhibit group will be invited to the Planning Day at the Royal Society in early December. At this event the Society provides guidance on designing exhibits and you will get a chance to tour the exhibition space. Some exhibitors from the previous year also attend to share their experiences.

During the lead-up to the exhibition in July 2022, our Public Engagement team will be on hand to support you through the stages of your exhibit development.

In addition we provide media and communication skills training for members of each exhibit, along with resources you can take back to train your whole team.

Funding your exhibit

The cost of exhibiting varies a great deal, and effective exhibits can be delivered at a range of budgets. Exhibitors in the past have spent roughly as below:

Total spend
25% spent £25k 
25% spent £20k - £25k 
32% spent £15k - £20k 
19% spend £10k - £15k
0% spend under 10k 

Rough budget breakdown (%)
40% Exhibit Design and Build 
25% Displays and interactives 
25% Accommodation, travel and subsistence 
10% Freebies, T-shirts, insurance

We do not charge you to exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition, and we supply Wi-Fi and IT support. We also provide basic equipment such as tables if required.

Exhibitors are expected to approach their own institution, industrial partners, research councils or other relevant bodies that support public engagement with science and engineering to fund the costs associated with exhibiting.

The Royal Society can give advice about funding and can provide post-exhibition evaluation data which is often required by funding bodies. A limited 'support fund' is available for exhibitors to apply for additional funds. 

During the event

At least four members of the exhibition team should be on the stand during the public opening times for the exhibition and at the three additional evening events. We recommend having at least 8 members of staff on each stand per day to allow breaks. Visitors enjoy interacting with you and asking questions about your work.
After the exhibition, we encourage exhibitors to scope other opportunities to present the exhibit elsewhere, such as local science centres or science museums, local visitor attractions or public venues, local secondary school fairs or open days at research institutions. Your exhibit is an investment opportunity for supporting future public engagement work. 

What do our exhibitors say?

It was an incredible experience for us all. Thank you for the opportunity.

Exhibitor, 2018

The whole team had a great experience, right from the planning stages to the final day of presentation.

Exhibitor, 2017

Find out how to apply or read our guide for industry exhibitors. 

Contact us

If you have any questions, email us on or call on +44 20 7451 2582

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