On Thursday the 21st of August the Edinburgh University Business School’s eClub as part of the Fringe Festival arranged for Dr Simon Gage, director of the Edinburgh Science Festival (EdSciFest) to speak about his organisation. The mission of the Edinburgh Science Festival is reported to: Educate, Entertain and Inspire; with the goal of improving the accessibility and engagement of all ages in science, technology and innovation. Dr Gage highlighted that EdSciFest does this by bringing science to the people, blowing powerpoint presentations apart to deliver immersive experiences and creating hands-on experiments. Examples of these were: laboratory simulations, comedy standup, meeting the Honda Robot ASIMO and several purpose built dedicated environments open to the public. A great example is Fuselab which asks 16-20 year olds to plan the future of an uninhabited world through creative thinking and problem solving. Fuselab makes use of: workshops, skills sessions, talks and games. During which participants collaborate to design, prototype and test ideas.
[pullquote align=”left” type=”simple”]Edinburgh first to combine science with a festival.[/pullquote]
Dr Gage continued to explain how EdSciFest has grown its international involvement and currently works in South Africa, Australia, Europe, Abu Dhabi, India, China and Saudi Arabia. EdSciFest is often approached to deliver their science engagement and festival expertise outside of the UK which is represented in the proportionality of their income. The UK provides £1.7 million with £3.5 million internationally, which helps the not for profit organisation to continue. A major aspect of EdSciFest activities is its schools programme which run from January to June providing 18 activities engaging with 60,000 student and is the biggest outreach programme in the UK. And as most people know engaging young people to generate interest in the STEM subjects is as important as ever.
Dr Gage encapsulated this need in a key infographic that reported: as countries get more wealthy the interest of young people in becoming a scientist decreases. Due to this, the science, technology, engineering and medical sectors should take notice so as to maintain native interest in entering these industries for the future.
The future of EdSciFest looks bright as it goes from strength to strength with plans to grow and deliver more engaging exhibitions around the world. The organisation that was originally created to fill a time of year near Easter with a festival has become far more than expected. As the organisation will continue to increase social value, improve the public impact and participation of STEM subjects and raise the quality and professionalism of science festivals everywhere.
Don’t forget to take a look at Creatifik’s photoblog of EdSciFest’s Neurological Images Exhibition