Public engagement in research

Taking our science & engineering stories to where you are

Our public engagement campaigns are designed to demonstrate how our research outcomes are relevant to everyday lives. We work with the media to attract global attention to polar research and work in partnership with museums, science centres and other leading organisations who share our commitment to enthusing young people in science.

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The British Antarctic Survey’s Tom Jordan talks ‘science from aircraft’ during a public exhibition

If you have a public engagement proposal and would like to partner with us please contact the Head of Communications in the first instance.

Enthusing business leaders in climate science

Parliamentarians in the Ice core freezer rooms, during a climate science briefing at BAS Cambridge
Parliamentarians in the Ice core freezer rooms, during a climate science briefing at BAS Cambridge

Our aim: is to provide adult learning opportunities for executives whose companies seek informed dialogue about climate change.

What we do: We work in collaboration with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) to host over 30 business events per year – each with an average of 25-30 participants from blue-chip companies including Shell, World Bank and Jaguar Land Rover. Climate scientists present their work in formal lectures and through onsite tours.

Communicating our science and engineering stories

Our aims: to promote and explain polar science to many different sectors of society through print, broadcast and digital media; and to boost engagement and dialogue through social media channels

What we do: We issue around 13-18  proactive media releases per year featuring a diverse range of science including underwater robots mapping Antarctic sea ice, a major field campaign on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the use of remote sensing to spot whales from space.  News coverage in newspapers, radio, TV and online generated from media campaigns and our annual media visits programme help us reach a global audience.  Our social media followers keep up to date with what’s happening in Antarctica and the Arctic.

Inspiring young people in science and engineering

Huw Griffiths talks 'polar marine beasties' to children at a public exhibition
British Antarctic Survey’s Huw Griffiths and Hilary Blagborough talks to ”marine polar beasties’ to enthusiastic children at a the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival.

Our aim: to enhance scientific literacy through formal and informal classroom learning.

What we do: Many of our science and operational staff are STEM Ambassadors (a national scheme to put scientists and engineers into the classroom). Around 50 classroom sessions each year reach over 2400 young people. Our award-winning education collaborations Discovering Antarctica and Discovering the Arctic created in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society and the Foreign & Commonwealth Polar Regions Department, inspire young people in polar research and add value to teachers’ lesson plans.

Enthusing families in polar science

A school visit to the RRS Shackleton during a visit to Orskov in Norway
A school visit to the RRS Shackleton during a visit to Orskov in Norway

Our aim: to engage family audiences by collaborating with leading UK museums and science centres.

What we do: partnerships with over 10 museums and science centres create informal learning opportunities for over 5 million visitors in the UK and overseas per year. These include: Penguin Ice Adventure at London Aquarium (reaching 1 million visitors annually); BAS ice core in the Atmosphere Exhibition at The Science Museum London (3 million visitors annually); the Gilbert White Museum in Dorset; exhibition at the penguin enclosure at London Zoo (over 1 million visitors); Ice Lab – exhibition in collaboration with British Council showcasing Halley VI model in Christchurch and Dunedin, Otago, NZ; Family events at Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge reaching an average of 1000 visitors per session. Over 60 events and talks to community groups, universities, career days and at festivals reached up to 10,000 visitors.  Our geoscientists are regular exhibitors at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival which attracts thousands of families…. 8000 people visited the BAS display stand last time!