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FUTURES: European Researchers' Night

A Festival of Discovery that showcases and engages people across the South West of England with the region's research and innovation.



Project status

In progress


1 May 2018 to 31 Jan 2021

A scientist demonstrating an experiment standing in front of their equipment
Researchers from the University of Bath taking part in Science Showoff, part of the FUTURES programme.

Since 2018, for two days in the autumn, FUTURES has been an opportunity for people to discover more about the research that is shaping our future with researchers from the region’s universities funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions.

Our approach

FUTURES is a unique public engagement collaboration between the University of Bath, Bath Spa University, University of Bristol, University of Exeter and University of Plymouth. Working together each partner in the consortium work with organisations such as museums, libraries, sports centres and cultural venues to develop opportunities for researchers to engage people in their city and region.

FUTURES aims to create links between researchers and society, enhancing public recognition of researchers and their work and to engage people with research in an inclusive, entertaining and inspiring way. Through our project, we also aim to:

  • build on the rich legacy of innovation and cultural heritage in the South West region to showcase current research and the advances brought about by the universities;

  • engage public audiences with the positive impact research has on their daily lives

  • showcase Europe’s leading Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSC) Fellows working in the South West of England alongside other research also funded by the European Commission;

  • facilitate greater interaction amongst disparate areas of research, breaking down disciplinary barriers;

  • help researchers develop confidence, communication and engagement skills

Highlights from FUTURES: European Researchers' Night

Researchers have been heading out into shopping centres, botanic gardens, museums, cathedrals, naval vessels, science centres, and the streets to share their work since 2018.

What we did

FUTURES takes research directly to the people. Researchers have been heading out across five counties of the South West into shopping centres, botanic gardens, museums, cathedrals, naval vessels, and the streets to share their work.

Programme of events

Using digital activities, hands-on experiments, theatre performance, science shows, games, quizzes, competitions, and exhibitions, FUTURES has been using experimental and innovative formats that push the boundaries of public engagement with research.

Since 2018, 11,000 people have participated in FUTURES activities meeting 490 researchers exploring diverse research topics including medieval manuscripts, artificial intelligence, microplastics, climate change, and microbial resistance.

In 2020 FUTURES will be bigger than ever before working across five participating cities and towns, involving over 300 researchers across 23 events, 17 venues and 2 large-scale online activities.

Training programme for researchers

Working with researchers we created a programme of training and professional development opportunities to build their skills and expertise in public engagement with research. This involved:

  • co-produced and delivered workshops and masterclasses on science comedy, storytelling, science busking, presentation skills and social media with professional trainers

  • paired researchers with experience cultural programme producers and creative professionals to develop engagement activities


Discover some of our thinking and learning from the FUTURES project

FUTURES partners

FUTURES2020 received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 955253

Find out more about FUTURES 2020



If you are interested in finding out more about FUTURES: European Researchers' Night, drop us a line.