NI Science Festival: focus on sustainability for 2020

  • The NI Science Festival yesterday unveiled its sixth annual programme of 270 events across 90 venues throughout Northern Ireland.

    It will kick off from 13 – 23 February and will “be focusing more than ever on the climate crisis,” said director Chris McCreery.

    There will be workshops, talks and forums for people of all ages, addressing the planet’s biggest challenges and issues in 2020 from ecology, neuroscience, and the concept of time to air pollution and genetics.

    This year’s programme will see a debut from naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham at the Whitla Hall, Belfast in his one man show; ‘Pictures from the Edge of the World' on the 23 February. He will be sharing his perspectives of life on earth through photography, stories and his ideas about where beauty is found, what good photography is and what it’s for.

    22 February marks the festival’s first ‘Sustainability Fair’ held at Ulster University, Belfast. It will demonstrate a variety of practical ways that everyone can make a real difference for the planet through their everyday lives, with international experts discussing carbon footprints, community lead initiatives and transportation.

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    Biologist, anthropologist and broadcaster Alice Roberts returns to the festival as she presents ‘The Incredible Human Journey’ on 16 February. She will be revealing the insights into how humans have colonised the world’s most inhabitable places over the past 5,000 years and how we have overcome environmental challenges to be where we are today.

    Physicist Jim Al-Khalili will shine a light on the most profound insights revealed by modern physics on 16 February. Broadcaster Claudia Hammond will discuss the Art of Rest on 23 February and offer a prescription for what you should do to make sure you’re getting the rest you need.

    Dr Adam Rutherford will discuss stereotypes and myths about race in society in his ‘How to Argue With a Racist’ talk on 16 February and Gina Rippon challenges the ideas of a male and female brain in 'The Gendered Brain' on 13 February.

    Children’s events have expanded for all the family with more shows than ever before to entertain over half term. The new ‘Create, Make, Play’ section in the festival programme features a range of hands on workshops.

    This includes Dr Chris and Xand van Tulleken’s live stage show at The MAC on 22 February; ‘Brains, Bugs and Body Parts’. There’ll also be ‘Hands on Science’ with Science Starz in libraries throughout Belfast on 17 and 19 February, children’s broadcaster Maddie Moate will be attending on 15 and 16 February and you can see the circus skills of StrongWomen Science at The MAC on 18 February.

    Chris McCreery added: “The Northern Ireland Science Festival provides an unparalleled opportunity to engage young people and their families on a huge range of STEM related topics. This is really important as the demand for people with STEM skills continues to grow higher every year. The refresh of the Skills Barometer in 2019 reinforced this – its evidence shows that industries where a scientific or technical background - including ICT - is needed are amongst those expected to have the most employment growth in Northern Ireland over the next ten years.”

    RELATED: NI Science Festival launches out of this world programme for 2019

    For more information about NI Science Festival events and bookings, visit and keep up to date with the festival on social media via Facebook and Twitter.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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