Since 2009 students from the EPSRC funded centres PSIBS and Sci-phy-4-health have been undertaking an annual public engagement activity at the Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum for families to ‘meet the scientist’ during the February half term break.

Under the guidance of Sci-Phy staff Drs. Hamid Dehghani and Rob Neely, the students work in teams each year to develop new activities related to our research and from across a broad range of physical sciences disciplines. They then pitch their ideas to a panel of CDT staff, Thinktank staff and senior students. This gives the students a chance to reflect on the value of their proposals and determine where improvements can be made.


Enthusiastic young scientists from across the region are invited to visit Thinktank for fun and hands-on activities with our PhD students. Highlighting the exciting research that takes place in our CDT at the University of Birmingham, this is a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about what it is like to work in a lab and get involved in the types of experiments run in scientific laboratories.

Our PhD students and our experts from across our CDT introduce visitors to the real world of research investigating a wide range of science including aspects such as the properties of fluids,the magic of light, the wonders of cells and the exciting world of 3D printing. Annually, around 40 CDT students take part over two days, to engage young minds in a wide range of scientific studies, one of the single biggest University collaborations in Thinktank’s history. Each year, around 4000 visitors visit the museum during this event, with activities including the chance to build a microscope and look at cells, learning more about the properties of light and looking at some exciting aspects of liquids and fluids.


“It simply brings in a new element of engagement that I cannot possibly do without the help of local researchers like yourselves”, says Dr Kenny Webster (Thinktank Learning and Operations manager). “The events that the team put together are truly wonderful and make a massive difference to our visitors. I still stand by my belief … that the very best advocates and role models for the next generation of scientists, engineers and technologists are the young people who are doing it at the moment and the sheer diversity and enthusiasm that you have within your CDT shows that cutting edge research is accessible to everyone.”