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The University of Southampton
Public Engagement with Research

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival (SOTSEF)

The 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 Science & 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 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 & Greater Manchester.

We are full member of the UK Science Festivals Network.

SAVE THE DATES: SOTSEF 2021 is on its way!

The 2021 edition of the Southampton Science and Engineering Festival will be taking place online, so that you will be able to enjoy some of the best and most engaging activities that SOTSEF has to offer directly from the safety and comfort of your home.

All digital content will be available on the official website at, with most live digital events available for booking by mid February.

Save the dates: Friday 5th - Sunday 14th March 2021

The website will be accessible everywhere in the world, feature special events and host dedicated areas for teachers and learners.  

If you are interested in submitting an activity as a contributor to be included in the Festival programme, please visit the 'How to get involved' page by clicking on the blue text box above the image gallery at the bottom of this page.

Visit SOTSEF Goes Digital

SOTSEF 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, SOTSEF 2020 was then re-developed and launched as 'SOTSEF Goes Digital' in May.

SOTSEF Goes Digital run 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 was postponed in 2020 and will 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 SOTSEF 2022. If you have never attended, watch the following video from SOTSEF 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


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.

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

For queries, please contact

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