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About the Exhibition

The Summer Science Exhibition is a free festival of the science shaping our future. It is a celebration of the cutting edge science being done right now across the UK and the researchers making that happen. Each year 22 exhibits are selected in a competitive process to exhibit their work in July.

The exhibition aims:

  • For visitors to meet and question real researchers, engaging in a two way dialogue where both parties take something away
  • For visitors to engage with the key messages of the exhibit in a hands on, interactive way
  • To reach new audiences who may not be currently engaged with the science
  • To allow researchers to showcase their research, gaining public engagement experience and the tools to reuse their exhibit
  • To interest school and college students in science and STEM careers
  • To share the exhibition with those unable to attend in person

Exhibition Dates


 Date Time  Details 
 Friday 29 June
 2pm - 4pm
 Exhibitor deliveries ONLY - no set-up at all
 Saturday 30 June 
 10am - 6pm
 Exhibitor delivery and set-up (Last delivery 5pm)
 Sunday 1 July
 10am - 6pm
 Exhibitor delivery and set-up (Last delivery 4pm)


Please note that the timings listed below are the public opening hours for the exhibition. During the exhibition, exhibitors are allowed to be on site 1 hour before the exhibition opens and remain behind for no more than 30 minutes after the exhibition closes to the public. 

The timings during which exhibitors themselves are allowed to be on site during set up and break down are listed separately.

Date Time Details
Monday 2 July
11am - 6pm  Exhibition open to the public and registered school groups
Tuesday 3 July
10am- 4pm

6pm - 10pm
Exhibition open to the public and registered school groups

Twilight Science'/'Summer Science Lates' evening
Wednesday 4 July
10am- 4.30pm

7pm - 10pm
Exhibition open to the public and registered school groups

Thursday 5 July
10am- 4.30pm

7pm - 10pm
Exhibition open to the public and registered school groups

Friday 6 July
10am - 7pm
Exhibition open to the public and registered school groups
Saturday 7 July
10am - 6pm
Exhibition open to the public
Sunday 8 July
10am - 6pm
Exhibition open to the public


Date Time Details
Sunday 8 July
6pm - 8pm
Exhibitors can begin to pack up their exhibits
Monday 9 July
8am -12pm
Exhibitors dismantle and collect their exhibits

Note: all exhibit materials and exhibitors must be off site by 12pm on Monday 9 July. 

List of exhibits

Title  Instituition 
 Atomic LEGO: stacking sheets of atoms into quantum chips
 Heriot-Watt University
 Designing malaria vaccines
 University of Oxford
 Exploring the Universe with the James Webb Space Telescope
 University of Sussex
 Gaia: one billion stars in 3 dimensions
 University of Cambridge
 Hot Stuff: When is Radioactivity good for you?
 King’s College London
 Material Matters: Bone repair for landmine victims
 University of Glasgow
 Me and my microbiome
 John Innes Centre
 Methods in Mind: Using Quantum Technologies to Improve Mental Health
 University of Nottingham
 Mind the (nano) Gap: How nanotechnology opens up new routes for biosensing and healthcare
 University of Cambridge
 Not a dry eye in the house!
 Aston University
 Nurturing nature’s innovations: from slug slime to dragonfly wings and fly vision
 Imperial College London
 Race Against the Aging Clock
 Babraham Institute
 Resistance is Futile
 University of Oxford
 Securing Soil for our Future
 University of Reading
 Seeking signs of life on Mars
 The Open University
 The code of creation
 Imperial College London
 The measure of all things
 National Physical Laboratory
 The phantom neutrino: what mysteries remain and how to unveil them
 Queen Mary University of London
 The quest for a life-like prosthetic hand
 Keele University
 The unpredictable quantum world  Lancaster University
 Where the wild things are: using new technology to monitor the most remote habitats on earth  Zoological Society of London

Evaluation of the Exhibition

The Royal Society evaluates the exhibition in two ways, from the perspective of the public and from the perspective of the researcher. 

All Summer Science Exhibition research team volunteers will be asked to fill in a survey covering the below areas, which help us understand motivations for being involved in the exhibition and how we can better support public engagement in institutions. 

  • Career stage
  • Public Engagement experience
  • Experience at the exhibition including impact

Public visitors are asked to complete a questionnaire on leaving the exhibition. An evaluation report, based on the findings of this survey is circulated to exhibitors in the months following the exhibition. The survey questions will cover the following areas. 

  • Visitors' overall enjoyment of the Exhibition and whether they would recommend the exhibition to a friend or colleague. 
  • Have visitors’ perspectives on science been changed? If so, how? 
  • Demographic data 
  • Diversity data

A separate survey is filled in by pre-registered school groups and covers questions linked to science as a career and perception of scientists.


Visitor statistics (%) are taken from completed visitor questionnaires from the 2017 exhibition. 

Pre-registered school students 

  • 2002 students visited with 262 teachers
  • Of the schools that had registered to attend 44% had not attended previously and 22% were independent schools
  • 97% of teachers agreed that by attending the Summer Science Exhibition they had gained more scientific knowledge
  • 79% agreed that by attending the Summer Science Exhibition they had some ideas for new lesson content
  • 86% of students had been inspired to consider the importance of their science education
  • 96% of students had a greater understanding of science in the world around them

Public visitors 

  • 10,123 public visitors attended the exhibition
  • The highest proportion of visitors were 13 - 25 years old, including school visitors, though there was a good spread across all age groups.
  • There was an even gender split amongst visitors
  • 33.1% of visitors reported that they had visited before
  • 92.9% would visit again
  • 94.3% would recommend the Summer Science Exhibition to a frien

The exhibition increased the majority of visitors’ interest in science, and 94% learnt something new. Visitors were asked to what extent they agreed with the following statements:

  • The exhibition increased my interest in science: 84% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed
  • The exhibition gave me the chance to discuss research with scientists: 89% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed
  • I learnt something new from the exhibition: 94% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed
  • learnt something about scientific careers: 53% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed
  • The exhibition increased my understanding of how science impacts our daily lives: 82% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed
  • The event is well organised: 90% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed

Visitors also gave us some qualitative feedback:

“It was fantastic and wonderful exhibition and I've learnt a great deal and feel very inspired. Thank you to everyone”

“I found it very interesting and informative indeed. I am only sorry I live at such a distance I'd love to have several visits.”

“Great to experience the enthusiasm of the scientists at all stages of their careers. Make it bigger!”

“I certainly found the exhibition most interesting and was able to see virtually all the displays without queueing, which was a pleasant surprise!”

What else is going on at the Exhibition?


In addition to the exhibits, a number of talks and events are held during exhibition week, including panel discussions, Café Scientifique events and family workshops at the weekend. There will be a special programme of events for our Twilight Science preview evening on Tuesday 3 July. A full list of the events can be found on the public Summer Science Exhibition website. This will be launched end April/beginning of May. 

Royal Society exhibits

In addition to the exhibits, we will also have a History of the Royal Society and women in science exhibits.

Science Busking

During the busy weekends of the Summer Science Exhibition, we invite science buskers from various organisations and universities to help engage visitors of all ages.


The Soirees are exclusive evening openings of the Exhibition for invited guests, on Wednesday 4 July and Thursday 5 July 2018.

Who can I invite to the Soirees?

Exhibit groups are permitted to invite a maximum of two VIP guests to the Soirees. These guests may attend on either evening, details of which should be confirmed in Form B. Formal invitation cards will be sent out in mid-May, and will not reveal who invited them.

Please contact your invited guests and confirm their availability as early as possible. We will be asking you to tell us who you wish to invite as part of Form B.

Examples of who you might choose to invite include:

  • Department head 
  • Industrial Partner 
  • Funding Organisations 

Examples of people automatically invited to the Soirees: 

How many exhibitors can attend the black tie Soirees?

Six members of each exhibit team are permitted to attend each of the evening Soirees on Wednesday 5 July and Thursday 6 July. You may want to allow as many members to attend as possible over the two evenings (12 in total), but exhibitors are welcome to attend both evenings if they wish.

There must be a minimum of 3 exhibitors staffing your exhibit during the soirees. Please do take it in turns to staff the exhibit, giving all staff the chance to eat and talk to invited guests. 

What is the dress code during the Exhibition week?

Comfortable clothes. Most exhibit teams choose to wear matching T-shirts with trousers/skirts, and comfortable shoes, so that they are distinct from the general public and other exhibit groups.

What is the dress code for the Soirees?

Black tie with decorations (eg MBE etc) - black tie for gentlemen, cocktail dress for ladies. If you do not have access to black tie, please wear a formal suit and tie. 

If you need to bring in clothes for the Soirees please come to the Exhibition Reception between 9.30am and 9.45am on the mornings of Wednesday 5 and Thursday 6 July and a member of the exhibition team will store/hang them upstairs. You can collect them from the Exhibition Reception from 4.30pm on those days.

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