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The University of Southampton
Public Engagement with Research

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival (SOTSEF)

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival (SOTSEF) is one of the annual flagship events of the Public Engagement with Research unit, with thousands of visitors joining researchers, staff and students at the University of Southampton for ten days of scientific discovery and celebration.

Visit the Southampton Science and Engineering Festival official website

The Southampton Science and Engineering Festival was first launched in 2002 and runs every year to coincide with British Science Week.

The festival's acronym, SOTSEF, stands for:

In the years, SOTSEF has developed into a STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Maths/Medicine) festival that thrives through collaboration, creativity and interdisciplinarity.  

The ten-day celebration usually concludes with our award-winning Science and Engineering Day, a free family-friendly event taking place across Highfield Campus and Boldrewood Innovation Campus, packed with hundreds of interactive hands-on activities, workshops, live shows, art performances and laboratory tours from across all our Faculties. 

Science and Engineering Day has previously received awards from the British Science Association for Best Engineering Event in 2009 and Best STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) Institution Event in 2014.

Over the last few years, we have opened participation to external exhibitors including local bookstores, schools, community groups, trusts, public engagement professionals, artists, cultural venues and other research institutions. 

SOTSEF has a dedicated Steering Group led by Professor Rachel Mills, Dean of the Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Southampton.   

Over recent years, SOTSEF has grown to become one of the most popular science festivals in the South of England, with attendees coming as far as Devon, Kent, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester for Science and Engineering Day. 

Since 2020, we have also developed a digital presence online that allows us to engage with new national and international audiences.

We are full member of the UK Science Festivals Network.

SAVE THE DATE | Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 2022

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival will be back next spring, from Friday 11th to Sunday 20th March 2022

If you are interested in submitting an activity as a contributor to be included in the Festival programme, you can start familiarising with the registration process by visiting the 'How to get involved' page above the image gallery at the bottom of this page.

A call for exhibitors will be announced closer to the end of the year.

SOTSEF Goes Digital 2021 summary

SOTSEF Goes Digital 2021

SOTSEF Goes Digital 2021, the online edition of the Southampton Science and Engineering Festival, took place from Friday 5th to Sunday 14th March 2021. 

​Thousands of people joined us from across the world, with 250,000+ website views from 5 different continents.  

All digital content was made available on the official website at www.sotsef.co.uk. Resources and recordings of some of the Festival events are still available for you to enjoy from the safety from your home, wherever you are in the world. 

SOTSEF Goes Digital 2020 poster

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 2020 

In 2020, Science and Engineering Week was planned for March 6th - 15th. On March 9th the University regretted to announce that it was postponing the remaining events for SOTSEF, including Science and Engineering Day originally scheduled for Saturday 14th March. 

Due to many requests from researchers and the public, Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 2020 was then re-developed and launched as 'SOTSEF Goes Digital' in May.

SOTSEF Goes Digital ran from Friday 22nd May until Saturday 25th July with a variety of different activities, from downloadable resources, virtual tours, talks and podcasts to live talks, workshops and Q&A sessions, with more than 22,000 people across 6 continents visiting the website. 

Science and Engineering Day 

Science and Engineering Day, our free family-friendly event taking place across Highfield Campus and Boldrewood Innovation Campus, was postponed in 2020 and did not take place in 2021.

We really hope we will be able to safely open once again our campuses for Science and Engineering Day at Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 2022.

In the meantime, if you have never exhibited or attended, watch the following video from Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 2019 to find out what Science and Engineering Day is all about. 

Past events

Discover some of the previous events that have characterised SOTSEF over the last seventeen years, including videos of past Science and Engineering Days

SOTSEF Awards

Our SOTSEF awards recognise the creativity, talent and resourcefulness of those who have really gone above and beyond in delivering an outstanding festival

How to get involved

Find out how to get involved in SOTSEF next March as exhibitor, host, performer, volunteer or to open the doors of your lab. External exhibitors included.

Microscope
Stand
Touching Science
Public Lecture
Cancer Science Stand
Acoustic Levitation
ISVR
Archeological village
Stand
Archeological village

For queries, please contact festival@southampton.ac.uk

Follow #SOTSEF and the UoS Engagement accounts on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Watch videos and recordings of previous events on the UoS Festival YouTube channel.  

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