The Academy had a bumper time at this year’s Cheltenham Science Festival (June 9 to 13), which attracted over 28,000 visitors, surpassing all previous attendance figures. The appetite for public engagement with science and engineering shows no signs of diminishing.

The Academy has been working with Cheltenham Science Festival for four years to help build its engineering profile, which was reflected in this year’s programming. Over 1,500 people attended public debates, discussions and interactive demonstration sessions featuring Academy Fellows and awardees from the Academy’s public engagement grant scheme, Ingenious.

Three of the Academy’s major events are now available to watch on video or listen again on  RAEng TV

Electric Dreams: Roger Kemp FREng discusses the findings from the Academy’s latest report on electric cars and debates the pros and cons of running battery-powered vehicles.

Water, water everywhere?: Roger Falconer FREng raises public awareness of the need to reduce the imprint of our own ‘water footprints’ alongside our carbon ones.

Fastest man on no legs: Academy Fellow in Public Engagement David James debates whether allowing disabled athletes to compete against non-disabled athletes will hinder the potential of engineered-enhanced Paralympians to excel in the future.

A unique Ingenious-funded five-day masterclass also took place at the Festival to provide intensive public engagement training for 12 early-career engineers. The Academy funds such activities to seed and foster the growing community of engineers with enhanced communication skills who value public engagement and are proactive in taking part in activities.

One of the participants, said: “It really opened my eyes to the possibilities for building engagement activities into my career in the future and reinforced how important it is to get people talking. Some of us from the course have already been in touch with ideas for future events and are hoping to get our own show into the programme for the Cheltenham Science Festival next year.”

Notes for editors

  1. The Times Cheltenham Science Festival 9-13 June 2010

    'Unquestionably the leading Science Festival in the country' - Professor Sir Robert Winston

    The Times Cheltenham Science Festival is a five-day celebration of science, engineering and the arts and is produced by Cheltenham Festivals. A rare opportunity for the public to come face-to-face with around 300 of the world's leading scientists and thinkers. The five day festival promises a mix of serious debate, live experiments and surprising discoveries all based at Cheltenham Town Hall.
  2. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK's most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain's engineering community.
  3. The Academy's Ingenious public engagement grants programme provides support for creative public engagement with engineering projects and aims to:

    - inspire creative public engagement with engineering projects

    - stimulate engineers to share their stories, passion and expertise in innovative ways to wider audiences

    - develop engineers' communication and engagement skills

    - create debate between engineers and people of all ages to raise awareness of the diversity, nature and impact of engineering.

For more information please contact

Lesley Paterson at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0684; email:  Lesley Paterson