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Southampton Science and Engineering Festival (SOTSEF) is the University of Southampton's annual research festival that allows everyone to explore and discover what the world of science and engineering has to offer.

The festival began in 2002 as a one-day free event, the Science and Engineering Day, at Highfield Campus, where around 200 people attended.

Every successive year it has grown bigger and better, winning best Engineering Event in 2009 and best STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Institution Event in 2014 awarded by the British Science Association. In 2015, Southampton Science and Engineering Festival was officially launched, moving away from a one-day event to a larger programme, which originally included Ocean and Earth Day at the National Oceanographic Centre (NOCs).

The Festival has continued to expand with new activities and many returning favourites at local venues as well as Highfield Campus and Boldrewood Innovation Campus (including Lloyds Register). Thousands of people now attend Southampton Science and Engineering Festival each year, in particular Science and Engineering Day, coming as far as Dorset, Kent and Greater Manchester.

Since May 2020, the Festival programme also includes a digital presence online to engage with national and international audiences.

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival is part of the UK Science Festival Network and currently runs every year in parallel with British Science Week, a 10-day programme of thousands of events running throughout the whole of the UK, with the aim of celebrating science, engineering, technology and maths. The Festival has continued to expand with new activities and many returning favourites at local venues, as well as Highfield Campus and Boldrewood Innovation Campus (including Lloyds Register).

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

Southampton Science and Engineering Festival is organised by the UoS Festival team - part of the Public Engagement with Research unit (PERu) at the University of Southampton - who curate all sides of the event from planning to evaluation, and take pride in delivering the best possible experience to everyone involved, from volunteers to visitors.

Silvia Lanati
Public Engagement Manager

UoS website profile

Emma Davies
Festival Admin

Bethany Rutland
Digital Events Support Intern

Connie Seamer
Accessibility Support Intern

Louise Pirie
PERu Admin

UoS website profile

Jo James
Head of PERu

UoS website profile

We are part of the Public Engagement with Research unit (PERu), which exists to inspire and support high quality public engagement with research across all disciplines at the University of Southampton.

As a signatory to the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE)'s Manifesto for Public Engagement, the University is committed to sharing knowledge, resources and skills with the public, and to listening to and learning from the expertise and insight of the different communities with which we engage.

Alongside Southampton Science and Engineering Festival, the UoS Festival team organises other family-friendly events across the year.

Our annual Southampton Arts and Humanities Festival is held every November, in parallel with Being Human festival, and the programme usually includes Hands-on Humanities Day, a free family-friendly event usually taking place at Avenue Campus, with interactive hands-on activities, workshops, exhibits and talks.

For Southampton Science and Engineering Festival we also contribute towards related special events including Black History Month (October), UK Disability History Month(November-December) and LGBT+ History Month (February).

The wider PERu team is responsible for a spectrum of other activities for research engagement, including the University of Southampton Bringing Research to Life Roadshow, the Research Café, and the Public Engagement Hubs.