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Lancashire Science Festival strikes gold at national award ceremony

10 July 2015

Lyndsey Boardman

UCLan wins prize for community and business engagement

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has triumphed in a national higher education awards ceremony by winning the Best Community or Business Engagement Campaign prize for its prestigious Lancashire Science Festival.

UCLan beat off competition from four other shortlisted universities to win the Gold Award at the Heist Awards for Education Marketing for its annual interactive three-day festival that judges described as “an imaginative event with wide participation across a diverse audience.”

The Lancashire Science Festival, now in its fourth year, has consistently grown since the inaugural event in 2012 and draws visitors from across the North West, with more than 11,000 attendees over three days this year. It remains a free interactive event; bringing science practitioners together, enabling school children, their families, and the wider community to see first-hand the breadth of science-related expertise and its real-world applications.

Dr Jo Heaton-Marriott, Director of the Festival, said: “The whole Lancashire Science Festival team is delighted to win this award. Community engagement is at the heart of what the event is all about; visitors of all ages enjoy the wide variety of events and activities on offer and all are designed to enthuse people about science and technology in an entertaining and interactive way.

It’s essentially about breaking down the barriers to science; letting people see that through the stereotypes and realising that science is something that touches our everyday lives and can actually be fun.

UCLan Science Festival Dinosaur

The popularity of the Lancashire Science Festival has increased each year with the number of visitors in 2015 up by 60% on the first event three years ago. This year, around 53 schools visited the event over two days with the schools’ programme being booked up within 48 hours of going live online.

Joel Arber, Director of Marketing at UCLan, commented: “The Lancashire Science Festival brings out the best in people and really captures the ethos of UCLan – that of unlocking potential and offering opportunity. The strength of the Festival is that it is a free event for our regional community, with no hidden agenda; meaning there is genuine buy-in from staff, students and visitors.

“I want to thank the staff that do such a great job of organising this event year on year to create a Festival that has a positive impact on the community and is something that people genuinely look forward to attending.”

2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Heist Awards which is open to all UK higher education institutions and exists to recognise excellence, innovation and professionalism throughout the sector. Prizes are awarded across 16 categories and UCLan was also shortlisted for the Best Corporate Campaign or Initiative and Best Student recruitment Campaign Awards.

This year’s celebration was held at the Palace Hotel in Manchester on Thursday 9 July.