UCL News


Graduate student bursaries for Cheltenham Science Festival

20 March 2007

The UCL Graduate School is offering ten bursaries, each worth £500, for UCL taught and research graduate students to attend the Cheltenham Science Festival, to be held on 6-10 June 2007.


Cheltenham Science Festival was established in 2002 and has since earned a reputation as one of the best science festivals in the world, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.

The theme for the 2007 festival is 'extremes' and will examine the limits and boundaries of science and culture, now and in the future.  It will delve into the very depths of what it is to be human and look at how we push ourselves in every field from exploring hidden corners of the earth to living in a world without sleep.

UCL has a strong presence at the festival this year, under the co-direction of Dr Mark Lythgoe (UCL Medicine and Institute of Child Health) with Professor Kathy Sykes (University of Bristol).

Geneticist Professor Steve Jones (UCL Biology) will discuss why intelligent design is stupid, Dr Beau Lotto (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology) will unravel how we perceive the world around us using light, illusions and music, Dr Chris Mason (UCL Biochemical Engineering) is part of a panel discussion on stem cell research, Dr Maggie Aderin (UCL Physics and Astronomy) will explain how far we've come in the 50 years since the first man-made object orbited the Earth and Dr Peter Bentley (UCL Computer Science) will discuss artificial intelligence and developments likely to shape the future.

Dr Lythgoe said: "Our mission is to make science accessible to the public by providing a face for science with which the public can connect and thus appreciate and understand. To this end we encourage scientists to voice current scientific issues in a stimulating and engaging environment focused on quality, accessibility and fun. The festival involves scientists, policy makers, artists, researchers, the media, the corporate sector and most importantly the general public in a vast range of exciting events that engage audiences of all ages. With its diverse programme, internationally renowned speakers, interactive Discover Zone and NESTA FameLab  - a national competition to find the best science communicators in the country - it has the potential to make a real difference to the public's awareness of science."

The bursary includes £150 of vouchers for talks at the festival, allowing students to choose their preferred topics. The remaining £350 covers transport, accommodation and living costs during the five-day festival. Students must arrange their own transport and accommodation, and register on the first morning of the meeting.

To apply, students need to write no more than 250 words on what they think about public engagement in science and whether it is important. Applications for bursaries must be sent to Departmental Graduate Tutors by 13 April 2007, and award recipients will be announced on 25 April 2007.

To find out more, use the links at the top of this article.

Image 1: Cheltenham Science Festival 2007
Image 2: Festival co-director Dr Mark Lythgoe