The media buzz around the British Science Festival 2010 has already begun, thanks to a successful press reception which we held at the University of Surrey on 9 September.
We were keen to use the Surrey event to generate some press interest in the Festival, which will be held at Aston on 14-19 September 2010, given that it was one of the few times in the year when the top science journalists in the country can be found in one place at the same time!
As we were competing against the combined and frankly more alluring charms of a Q&A with Bill Bryson and the England football match, we were delighted to greet around fifty journalists from a diverse range of printed and online publications. There was an excellent atmosphere at the reception and the press were interested in having a good chat about Birmingham and what the city has to offer.
Stewart Comfort, Director of Marketing, formally welcomed the journalists and set the scene for the Festival. He said, ‘This is a very exciting opportunity for Birmingham and for the wider West Midlands region. We very much look forward to having the chance to show you, and the rest of the world the world class scientific research, innovation and development that is happening in Birmingham and in the West Midlands region.’
The theme for the 2010 Festival will be ‘Better Lives Through Science’, as chosen by incoming President of the British Science Association, Lord David Sainsbury. This is of course very appropriate for Aston, with our commitment to research which is applicable as well as rigorous, and ties in with the region-wide approach to science and technology, through Birmingham Science City and other initiatives.
On the following morning, Professor Mike Tisdale, from the School of Life & Health Sciences, was invited to give a press conference about his work on combating cachexia in cancer patients. The research has already received substantial national press coverage, and Professor Tisdale has received calls from organisations interested in collaborating with him in the next stage of trials. We believe that the Festival at Aston will result in many more doors being opened in this way, and would encourage as many people as possible to participate.
How to get involved
As you can imagine, we are very keen to ensure that we showcase as much of our leading research as possible at the Festival. The call for event proposals is currently open until 1 October 2009. Events can be on any subject and can be pitched at any level you wish.
Guidance on developing an event idea.
The central contact for advice on preparing an application is Claire Hopkins, Events Officer (British Science Festival).
Each School also has ‘Champions’ who are there to help you with subject specific aspects of your bid. These are:
Aston Business School – Naomi Brookes, John Rudd and Pat Tissington
Engineering & Applied Science – David Lowe and Kate Sugden
Languages & Social Sciences – Reiner Grundmann and Tim Grant
Life & Health Sciences – Anthony Hilton and James Wolffsohn
Words by Chris Harrison