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About the Exhibition

The Summer Science Exhibition is a free festival showcasing the science shaping our future. It is a celebration of the cutting edge research being done right now across the UK and the researchers making that happen. Each year 21 exhibits are selected in a competitive process to exhibit their work during the exhibition in July.

The exhibition aims:

  • Provide an opportunity for the public and school groups to meet and question scientists about the cutting-edge research they are undertaking and demonstrating.
  • Inspire and enthuse visitors of all ages about the potential for science through hands-on interaction and participation. 
  • Use the Royal Society’s status as the UK’s National Academy of Science to lead by example and champion excellence in public engagement.
  • Enable UK scientists to showcase their research and gain public engagement experience in association with a leading advocator of scientific research and technology.
  • Give young people the aspiration to be scientists. 
  • Reach new audiences with science including families, young professionals and people looking for a great, free day out in London.

View a 360 video from the 2018 exhibition

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. Please note, Royal Society exhibition team wear red t-shirts during the week and we would strongly advise your team wears a different colour to avoid any confusion with visitors.

Exhibition dates


 Date Time  Details 
 Friday 3 July
 2pm - 4pm
 Exhibitor deliveries ONLY - no set-up at all
 Saturday 4 July 
 10am - 6pm
 Exhibitor delivery and set-up (Last delivery 5pm)
 Sunday 5 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. 


Date Time Details
Monday 6 July
9.30am - 11am

11am - 6pm
Press preview of the exhibition

Exhibition open to the public and registered school groups
Tuesday 7 July
10am- 4pm

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

Summer Science Lates evening
Wednesday 8 July
10am- 4.30pm

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

Thursday 9 July
10am- 4.30pm

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

Friday 10 July
10am - 6pm
Exhibition open to the public and registered school groups
Saturday 11 July
10am - 6pm
Exhibition open to the public
Sunday 12 July
10am - 6pm
Exhibition open to the public


Date Time Details
Sunday 12 July
6pm - 8pm
Exhibitors can begin to pack up their exhibits
Monday 13 July
8am -12pm
Exhibitors dismantle and collect their exhibits

Note: all exhibit materials and exhibitors must be off site by 12pm on Monday 13 July. We will be unable to store items in the building after this point.

List of exhibits

Title  Institution 
 A breath of fresh air  University of Manchester
 Beware: Flooding ahead!
 University of Reading
 Blue Carbon and Changing Seas: Responding to the Global Climate Emergency
 University of St Andrews
 Connecting to the human brain: Next generation technology
 Imperial College London
 Disease Detectives
 The Pirbright Institute
 Energy Critical Elements: the mineral cost of a sustainable future
 Natural History Museum
 Exploring the Landscape of Cancer
 Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute
 From open, to keyhole, to robotic surgery. Would you trust a robot surgeon?
 Imperial College London
 Growing New Body Parts!
 King's College London
 Happy Birthday Hubble
 University of Sussex
 Last Day of the Dinosaurs
 University of Manchester
 Our breathing Earth new views of carbon from satellites
 University of Edinburgh
 Owls and eagles inspire aeronautical advances
 Royal Veterinary College
 Personalised Printing for Pills!
 University Of Nottingham
 Sensing Danger
 University of Manchester
 The bee trail: Where have you been?
 Earlham Institute
 The ExoMars Rover and its Experimental Tools in the Search for Life on Mars
 University of Leicester
 The good, the bad and the methanogenic: understanding the microbes that manage our  waste for us
 University of York
 The Science Behind Body Odour
 University of Oxford
 The Third Thumb: How can our brains and bodies adapt to augmentation?  UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
 Your place in the Universe  Durham University

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 the lead exhibitors from the Summer Science Exhibition 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 2019 exhibition. 

Pre-registered school students 

  • 1,518 students visited with 187 teachers
  • 54% of schools came from outside of London
  • 98% of teachers agreed that by attending the exhibition their students had gained a greater understanding of the relevance of science to the world around them
  • 98% of students agreed that by attending the exhibition they learnt new scientific knowledge

Public visitors 

  • 9,783 public visitors attended the exhibition
  • The highest proportion of visitors were 13 - 17 years old, including school visitors, though there was a good spread across all age groups
  • 48% of visitors were female compared to 41% male
  • 93.1% rated the exhibition 'Excellent' or 'Good'
  • 90% of visitors agreed or strongly agreed that they had 'learnt something new from the exhibition', and 81% said the exhibition gave them chance to discuss research with scientists. 

Visitors also gave us some qualitative feedback:

“Excellent afternoon. Everyone explained their work clearly, enthusiastically, and kept me totally fascinated - brilliant communicators”

“It is particularly good that you can approach every exhibit with no previous knowledge of that topic and be drawn in so that you move on with some understanding and ever greater curiosity. Thank you for providing a free event. This is an investment in our future”

“Thank you so much! The exhibitors were all friendly, knowledgeable and able to describe their projects so my 6 year old could understand complex concepts”

“I think the exhibition was incredible and such a great event for all ages. The details and effort put into every exhibit did not go unappreciated and all those running the exhibits were approachable, interesting and informative. Would definitely recommend to friends!”


What else is going on at the Exhibition?

Talks and activities programme

During the exhibition, a number of events are held during exhibition week, including talks, tours, hands-on drop-in activities and interactive family shows at the weekend. There will be a special programme of events for our Summer Science Exhibition Lates evening on Tuesday 7 July. A full list of the events can be found on the public Summer Science Exhibition website. The 2020 website will be launched at the beginning of April.   


Royal Society exhibits

In addition to the exhibits, we will also have a history of the Royal Society display and history of science exhibit in the basement featuring objects from our archive collections.

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.