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Young people to encourage scientists to consider their responsibilities
For Immediate Release
2 April

Young people across the UK are being asked their opinions on the direction that science takes in the future and how they believe scientists should act. The BA is canvassing their opinions as part of a competition launched to win an expenses-paid trip to the BA Festival of Science in Exeter this September. The theme of this year’s Festival is the responsibility of being a scientist.

“Young people are the future of our nation,” said Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the BA. “It is vital not just that we encourage them to tell scientists their hopes and concerns about the direction of science, but that we encourage scientists to listen to and consider their views.

“At this year’s BA Festival of Science, scientists and the public will be reflecting on the responsibility of being a scientist – you could say of ‘doing the right thing and doing the thing right’. The BA will be working to ensure that there is genuine dialogue between scientists and the public, and we very much hope that young people will take the opportunity to make their voices heard.”

Winning students will receive the opportunity to attend the BA Festival of Science, which takes place at the University of Exeter from 6-10 September. There, they will meet over three hundred of the UK’s top scientists and researchers, joining in discussions on topics as diverse as the future of wind energy, the responsible use of animals in research, the ethics of military science and technology and the challenges of using hypnosis.

There are two categories for the competition:

11-16 year old students will be asked to design an A4 poster aimed at scientists, to let them know what they think scientists ought to be doing in the future. For example, what kind of developments would they like to see in medicine, technology, the environment or other areas of science.

16-19 year old students will be asked to write an article discussing what kinds of research they think scientists should do in the next 50 years and why.

“The BA has a long history of engaging young people with science activities,” said Sharmila Banerjee, Manager of the Young People’s Programme at the BA. “We have recently launched a Science Communicators Award aimed at secondary school students which aims to bring science into all aspects of the curriculum, whether it is developing a radio play with a scientific theme, writing a beautiful piece of poetry reflecting aspects of science, or activities such as in this competition.”

The closing date for all entries will be 24 June and winners will be contacted after 1 July.


For further information please contact:
Craig Brierley, Press Officer, the BA            

Note for editors

1. The BA is the UK's nationwide, open membership organisation dedicated to connecting science with people, so that science and its applications become accessible to all. The BA aims to promote openness about science in society and to engage and inspire people directly with science and technology and their implications.
Established in 1831, the BA organises major initiatives across the UK, including the annual BA Festival of Science, National Science Week, programmes of regional and local events, and an extensive programme for young people in schools and colleges.
For more information about the BA, please visit the-ba.net.

2. The BA Festival of Science will be held at the University of Exeter from 6-10 September and in the city of Exeter from 4-11 September.

3. The BA Festival of Science is the UK’s foremost annual public science event. Over 300 world-class scientists, engineers and social scientists present their work to an audience of academics, journalists, national and local government officials, industrial scientists and interested members of the general public.  Parallel debates, talks, workshops and science entertainment events target young people from Key Stage 2 and up, including university students. 
Thousands more people are likely to attend the Festival programme in the city. These events will spread out across the city and will be organized by all sorts of groups, many of them local, potentially attracting a diverse mix of people. Events range from lighter, popular science shows, talks and other encounters to more sustained programmes involving public dialogue and consultation in areas of public concern or controversy. Nowhere do you get such an eclectic mix of people engaging with science.