University talks science at local events

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Paper plans aren’t just about origami! The University STEM team in action at this year’s Belladrum Festival


The University of the Highlands and Islands will be Talking Science with communities throughout the region over the next year. Its Science on your Doorstep programme, recently awarded £25,000 Scottish Government funding, hopes to grab the attention of local people and help them develop their own schemes.

“We want to work directly with communities to provide them practical assistance in exploring and sharing home-grown science, “ said Derek Gorrie, the university’s STEM Engagement Officer . “Rather than flying in the experts from outside, we want to develop a sense of science at a local level, empowering people to share their own knowledge and expertise.”

The project will help groups create resources which can be used in their area and developed over the longer term. In addition, the university hopes to build on its existing efforts at local shows, gala days, festivals and music events.

“We had a great time in August designing and testing paper planes at the Belladrum Festival,” added Derek. “But it’s not just origami; we were firing them at 80mph. That’s how to catch the attention of both young and old and engage them with science before they even notice!”

Over the last two years, the University has developed a distinctive approach to STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) activities based on the cultural and geographical characteristics of the region it serves. This has included creating a robot challenge that has been used in schools across the area and events including science festivals in Orkney and Caithness.

Any community groups interested in working with the university on creating rural science based events should contact the STEM team at or 01463 27936.

The Scottish Government Talking Science funding initiative aims to take science out to a range of hard to reach audiences, including some of our more remote rural communities, and help ensure that Scotland remains a ‘science nation’.

Media contact:
Alison Lochhead
Communications manager
Tel: 01463 279222