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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 official Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 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, Science and Engineering Festival has developed into a STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Mathematics and 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 more than a hundred interactive hands-on activities, workshops, live shows, talks, art performances and laboratory tours from across all our Faculties and local community groups, schools and cultural venues. 

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. 

Science and Engineering Festival has a dedicated Steering Group led by Professor Mark Spearing, Vice-President Research and Enterprise at the University of Southampton.   

Over recent years, Science and Engineering Festival 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 2023

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival will be back next spring, from Friday 10th to Sunday 19th March 2023

Science and Engineering Day will take place with date TBC, 10:30 - 16:30, at Highfield Campus and Boldrewood Innovation Campus.

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 by the end of the autumn.

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 2022

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival ran from Friday 11th to Sunday 20th March 2022. 

​The wider festival programme included a selection of online activities and events taking place across ten days, with the return of some in-person events too. 

All digital content was made available on the official website at www.sotsef.co.uk/wider-festival. 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, on the festival website and on the UoS Festival YouTube channel dedicated playlist

Science and Engineering Day | Saturday 7th May 2022

After a break in the previous two years, Science and Engineering Day returned on Saturday 7th May alongside the last Offer Holder Visit Day at the University of Southampton.

Highfield Campus and Boldrewood Innovation Campus hosted 570 exhibitors that delivered a total of 93 activities, across 9 thematic areas, including interactive exhibits, workshops, laboratory tours, live shows, exhibitions and talks. Approx. 2,000 visitors joined us on the day from the centre and south of England. Visit the Science and Engineering Day web page to re-discover the programme of this nationally renown, family-friendly, fun-filled event.

If you have never exhibited or attended Science and Engineering Day, you can also watch the following video from Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 2019 to find out what the day is all about - the 2022 video is also on its way and will be release later in summer.      

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. Students and 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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