Glasgow Science Festival returns with outdoor events and green focus

The Glasgow Science Festival is returning to the city in September, offering a programme of events with a distinctly green tinge inspired by the international COP26 climate conference.

The festival will offer a range of in-person and online activities under the banner of ’Glasgow Connects’, showcasing themes including sustainability, health and wellbeing and the environment. There will also be a focus on city scientists’ contributions to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s festival, which runs for the whole of the month of September, marks a return to physical events after last year’s programme was delivered entirely online.

Socially-distanced live activities for small groups will be held at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens and community spaces including gardens and libraries.

But the online Science on the Sofa programme will also return, with a suite of pre-recorded activities, talks and events available on the festival website.

’GSF in a Bag packs, which includes a number of fun and educational activities provided by festival partners, will also be on offer to selected community groups.

Dr Deborah McNeill, organiser of the Glasgow Science Festival, said: "We’re thrilled to be back this year with a really exciting programme ahead of COP26 in November.

"Science on the Sofa was a big hit last year, so we’re taking everything we learned from our first online festival and offering content that is even more fun and engaging, which website visitors can engage with at their own pace throughout the month. There’s also our GSF in a Bag packs, which are designed to empower people to do some fun science experiments in their own homes.

"We’ve also worked really hard to develop in-person events which can be safely delivered outdoors. We’ve missed the excitement of face-to-face interactions during workshops and activities and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to our outdoor and indoor spaces to really bring the Glasgow Connects theme to life."

The highlights of this year’s live programme of events at the Botanics will include:

  • The Seed Race: Visitors will get the chance to investigate germination, the first stage of the lifecycle of plants, with hands-on opportunities to plant seeds and to take some away to experiment at home.
  • Bee & Bug Masks: Children can learn about the importance of insects while designing their own bee or beetle masks and buzzing around the Botanics.
  • What Makes Viruses Tick? Staff from the University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research will discuss how analysing the spread of tick populations and the diseases which follow will help us understand the impact of climate change in Scotland, the emergence of new diseases and how to treat them.
  • Spot-A-Bee: Sign up to be part of an online survey of bee habitats to help scientists develop a better understanding of these critically-important insects, whose numbers are in drastic decline.


Some of the highlights of the Science on the Sofa programme include:

  • International Green Academy : The International Green Academy, a project which aims to plant the seeds of climate awareness and action through gardening, is branching out across Glasgow high schools. Learn more about how local schoolkids are doing their part to connect with climate change.
  • Glasgow’s COVID-19 response: Learn about how scientists from across the city have led research into the pandemic, including cardiovascular and pulmonary imaging, the evolutionary origins of the virus, and the effects of long COVID.
  • Glasgow Science Festival in Action: Engage with climate action at home with advice from these videos which aim to help viewers make planters with plastic bottles, repair their own bikes, learn about food miles through exercise and give kitchen scraps a second life.


This year’s Glasgow Science Festival runs from Wednesday 1st September to Thursday 30th September.

For more information on the events and to access the digital content, , where the full programme will be available from 1st September.


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