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British Science Festival 2009: SEEDA supports regional science

29 January 2009

As Science Minister Lord Drayson launches a fresh drive to boost public engagement in science, Europe’s largest Festival of Science is preparing for a spectacular arrival in the South East.

Some 88,000 visitors are expected to attend the Festival, which is part funded by SEEDA in its role as a national lead on innovation and skills. The Festival runs in Surrey from 5-10 September and is hosted by the University of Surrey. Organised by the British Science Association, the programme will feature debates, workshops, talks, plays, films and field trips.

With something for everyone from families and schoolchildren to practising scientists and local businesses, hundreds of events are set to take place at the University of Surrey in Guildford and other venues in the surrounding area, from libraries and museums to shopping centres and bars.

"We are delighted that the Festival is coming to Surrey in 2009 as it provides an ideal opportunity for regional businesses to showcase their innovative science and technology on a national and international stage," said Colin Baldwin, SEEDA’s Knowledge Transfer Manager.

"These businesses will rely on well qualified staff in the future. The Festival is an ideal opportunity to highlight to young people how exciting a career in science can be."

Nigel Horton Baker, SEEDA’s area director for Surrey and Berkshire, added: "Lord Drayson has got it right when he says science is going to be an important tool for getting us out of this downturn. This event will help raise the profile of our hi-tech successes."

As well as investing £250,000 into the Festival, SEEDA is involved in stimulating activities and engaging schools and employers during the event.

The first of these will be a new film to be launched at the UK’s largest planetarium at Winchester’s INTECH Science Centre. SEEDA injected £650,000 into converting the auditorium in response to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Government initiative geared towards creating a pool of scientists, engineers and technologists for the future.

In less than 10 months, more than 84,000 students, teachers and members of the public have been inspired by the latest technological digital presentations – the upgrade has boosted school visitor numbers by 70 per cent.

Local partners for the event include Guildford Borough Council, Surrey County Council and the University of Surrey.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Tanya Reed, Media Relations Manager, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 470 155

For further information about the Festival visit the Festival website or contact:

Alison Burt, British Science Festival Project Co-ordinator
Tel: 01483 689102

For more information please contact our press office

Tel: 01483 470155