Southampton Science and Engineering Festival 2021

This year, the University of Southampton’s award-winning science festival has gone online, allowing everyone to explore and discover the world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics).

ICER students are hosting three exciting outreach events at SOTSEF 2021. To find out more and to access the activities, use the links below.

A journey down a river…

Enjoy a virtual journey down the river Test. Sounds very relaxing…

On your journey we will see that humans have changed the river to suit their needs and sometimes at the expense of the wildlife!   Can you identify the impacts of these changes? And can you spot some more positive changes, too?

Join us in understanding how we can tell the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy river, and what we can do to keep our rivers brimming with life. Find the activity here.

What’s that fish?

We put an underwater camera in a local river and filmed some great footage of the species we have here in Southampton. Now its up to you to identify the species. Don’t worry we will help!

This activity will inform you about the amazing and interesting species we have in rivers not far from our homes. As well as learning about river-dwelling species you will get to experience life underwater from the perspective of a fish. Find the activity here.

Cray-zy Invaders – Can you stop the spread?

Our rivers are under invasion! Species are being transported around the world by human activity, and a small number of them can have devastating impacts wherever they are released. These species are referred to as “invasive”, and stopping them from spreading throughout our rivers is a top priority. In this game, you will have the chance to try and protect your river from the American signal crayfish, one of the worst invasive species in the UK.

Using a combination of movement barriers (structures such as dams and weirs) and traps, you will try to protect your friendly local fish for as long as possible. However, you will only have $150 to spend, so make sure you use it wisely. Once you have completed the game, make sure to add your score to the leaderboard and to read about the science behind the game (who knows, it might even help you to beat your high score…) Find the activity here.

All Years Meeting Feb 2019

The School of Engineering Graduate School hosted a PGR meal and Outreach exhibition on Thursday 7th February 2019 from 11.45am to 2pm in the Hartley Suite and Garden Court.

This event included displays of PGR work and Outreach demonstrations from CDT programmes in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems, Energy Storage and its Applications and Next Generation Computational Modelling. This was the first time that these cohorts had displayed their research together in an event organised by the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Graduate School.

Around 80 PGR students attended the event where they were able to engage with the Outreach demonstrations including the Vehicle to Grid display made by ESA that is currently on display at the Winchester Science Centre.

The aim of this event was to encourage PGRs to think about how they could engage with the public with their own work and inspire them with the range of projects that were being demonstrated. Whether the audience is academics, policy makers, funders, Industry partners, school children or the general public the PGRs should consider how they talk about their research clearly and with enthusiasm.

The event included a talk by Lisa Hanley from the Public Engagement with Research unit (PERu) about the current training pilot that the PGRs could sign up to be involved with. A chemistry PGR student told the engineers about the benefits of the course from a student perspective including how to breakdown the PhD project into parts that could be clearly explained to their chosen audience and how to apply for funding to create their own demonstration for the Southampton Science and Engineering Festival.

Green Man Festival 2018

International Centre for Eco-hydraulics Research (ICER) and CDT SIS researchers for the first time went to Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons in Wales as part of the University of Southampton Public Engagement team Roadshow. The researchers were working in the Einstein Gardens Science tent to exhibit the research that ICER and the CDT conduct to the festival goers.

Being exhibited were the CDT-SIS and ICER Marble Run, fish passage research, the reintroduction of the Eurasian Beaver and fish migration and the effects of man made infrastructure. A new addition to the CDT SIS and ICER outreach exhibits was the introduction of the Migration Map game (#fishyfun) the aim of this game is to map the migratory fish to the correct path on the world map. The game was a huge hit with kids and adults alike!

BBC Countryfile Live 2018

CDT-SIS and ICER researchers returned to BBC Countryfile Live for the third year in a row on the 2nd August – 5th August 2018. This year we had some fantastic new volunteers in our first years who started in September 2017 as well as some brilliant familiar faces from other CDT outreach events. All of the volunteers did an incredible job in showcasing the CDT’s and ICER’s research to the public on four boiling hot days.

This year on display at the festival we had the CDT-SIS/ICER marble run showcasing fish passage through a river ecosystem, we had our research into the reintroduction of the Eurasian Beaver, our work on fish migration, the CDT’s work on plastic pollution and microplastics and finally a fantastic addition in the CDT’s work on ports of the future which is being researched by Toby Roberts, supervised by Prof Ian Williams and Prof John Preston.

Festival Of Doctoral Research Showcase 2018

On the 16th May 2018 the University of Southampton as part of the Festival of Doctoral Research held a showcase in Garden Court at the University to highlight the research and innovation that the University conducts. On display were posters, outreach exhibits, experiments and many more interactive exhibits.

The CDT and ICER were requested to present the Fish Passage Marble Run at the event. The Marble Run has proven extremely popular and engaging at previous outreach events and the Showcase team wanted the Marble Run to be part of the exhibits on display because of this. The Marble Run was presented by CDT SIS and ICER researchers James Miles, Nick Wilding and Toby Roberts.

South Downs Green Fair 2018

ICER researchers returned on May 13th 2018 to the South Downs Green Fair at the Sustainability Centre near Petersfield with the University of Southampton Public Engagement team. In May 2017 the South Downs Green Fair was the first University Roadshow event that the Fish Passage Marble Run was exhibited and this year the South Downs Green Fair was the first Roadshow event that all three stages of the Marble Run were tested. The Marble Run proved to be a huge success with kids and adults alike, who all attempted to see how many fish they could save from the barriers and natural predators in the river.

ICER was also exhibiting the reintroduction of the Eurasian Beaver to the UK and its effect on river ecosystems. We also had Freya Radford who is a CDT SIS postgraduate researcher who is looking into the effects of micro-plastics in wastewater systems.

World Fish Migration Day 2018 – Mottisfont House and Gardens

Fisheries scientists from the University of Southampton ran a day long interactive stall to promote World Fish Migration Day and the launch of the AMBER Citizen Science portal at the Mottisfont House and Gardens National Trust site, UK on the 21st April 2018. The stall had interactive activities including a fish migration themed marble run, engaging activities for children and educational materials. Visitors were able to visit river barriers at the site and log them on their newly downloaded barrier tracker app and learn some fun facts about fish migration along the way. We had well over 350 visitors to the stall during the day from various age groups and backgrounds who had a great time interacting with the staff and our activities.

The National Trust staff at Mottisfont were extremely helpful in also notifying each attendee that it was World Fish Migration Day and in setting up displays and exhibits related to the Water and Environment theme in the cafe and in the bookshop. This meant that 1410 people were notified about World Fish Migration Day.


BBC Countryfile Live 2017

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems attended BBC Countryfile Live 2017 as part of the University of Southampton’s Roadshow team, continuing our presence at the event from the beginning (BBC Countryfile live is only in its second year). The event this year was held from the 3rd August to the 6th August 2017.

The BBC Countryfile Live event is set in the splendidly beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. Whilst being quaint and lovely the grounds are also extremely spacious and provide a fantastic backdrop and setting to BBC Countryfile Live.

At the event the CDT exhibited its extremely varied research to event goers, fellow exhibitors, excited parents and children alike! The CDT was demonstrating its work on Fish passage, Eel migration, reintroduction of the Beaver to the UK, Hydroelectric power and driver awareness research work carried out by the Transport Research Group who work with the CDT.

Over the four days just the CDT exhibits alone had around 600 visitors! With the whole tent reaching into the 1000’s. The University of Southampton Roadshow tent we believe as a hands on science tent, provides a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the CDT’s and University’s research to the public and helps to inspire child and parent alike, by getting them stuck into some hands on science.

BBC Countryfile Live also marked a special moment in CDT outreach history as it was the first appearance of the second stage of our CDTSIS/ICER Marble Run which demonstrates fish passage through a river ecosystem. The second stage was designed by Dr Toru Tsuzaki.

Whilst the CDT had these fantastic exhibits on show, the rest of the University Roadshow team also had some amazing exhibits on show to the public as well! We had fluid dynamics represented by glitter suspended in water, the Centre for Population Control, the Biodiversity Hub with their fantastic interactive games and quizzes, the bioenergy and waste management teams and their anaerobic digester, acoustics with Chinese singing dragon bowls and singing sticks. We even had the Southampton Archaeology team crafting a Canoe from a Lime log. This was done using Flint and Bronze adzes and axes. The whole crafting was a live streamed experimental archaeological project which each day was recorded and chippings bagged for analysis. The crowning glory was that the team even got permission to get the log boat afloat on the River Glyme which runs through Blenheim Palace’s grounds and paddle it along the river with the modern Kayaks and Canoes!


Professor Paul Kemp keynote speech at the 10th Anniversary Peixe Vivo (Fish for Life) programme annual meeting at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Professor Paul Kemp provided a keynote speech at the 10th Anniversary Peixe Vivo (Fish for Life) programme annual meeting at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, focusing on the topic of dam decommissioning. The research programme is funded by CEMIG, one of Brazil’s largest generator and distributor of hydroelectricity, and the University of Southampton is the only UK partner. The meeting also provided an opportunity for the University of Southampton to create a South American network involving researchers from Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Paraguay and Peru who are focusing on developing research projects through opportunities provided by the Global Challenge Research Fund.

The South Downs Green Fair 2017 at The Sustainability Centre

On 7th May 2017, ICER took part in the South Downs Green Fair, at the Sustainability Centre in Petersfield.

The South Downs Green Fair showcases sustainable living and alternative solutions to manufacturing and industrial processes. A big part of the festival is promoting environmentally friendly existence. ICER felt very much at home during this event!

At the Fair ICER was promoting our research on Water and the Environment, showcasing our varied research on the reintroduction of the Beaver in the UK, fish pass systems, fish migration and the effects of hydroelectric power on river ecosystems.

We had many interested and thoughtful visitors to our exhibit who were fascinated by the students presenting their research and the positive impact our research is having on Infrastructure and the Environment.

The Fair was also the first outreach event the ICER has attended where our newly built Marble Run has made an appearance. In its first stage currently, the Run was a massive hit with kids and adults and promoted our research and educated in exactly the way intended. Look out for the two further stages to the Marble Run at science fairs and events near you soon!


The University of Southampton Science and Engineering Day

The 2017 Science and Engineering Day attracted over seven thousand visitors across the University of Southampton Campuses.  Members of the public came to explore science and engineering through a wide-range of hands on activities, shows, demonstrations and tours of the research facilities.  This year was the fifteenth anniversary of the event but the first for ICER displaying its research.  On show ICER had fish passage and beaver reintroduction.  It may have been the first but it certainly won’t be the last.



The Brighton Science Festival

The Brighton Science Festival aims to bring the best science in the world to Brighton with a month of events throughout February. On the weekend of the 11/12th February over 3000 people visited Hove Park School for the Bright Sparks event and ICER was there to greet them with the largest science display on show.  As soon as children and adults were through the door ICER caught their attention with our Eel Tile display and explained how it works as an innovative solution to the worldwide problem of migrating large eels and very small elvers.  We also covered Beaver reintroduction with audiences loving the skull, pelt and gnawed twigs on display.   With advanced science through to colouring Beavers there was something for all ages.  We hope that many of the children we engaged with over the weekend – and who came up with such interesting questions for our researchers – will keep on questioning and go on to carry out their own research in the years to come.

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Countryfile Live

CDT-SIS joined up with the University of Southampton Roadshow to host a science tent at the inagural BBC countryfile live.  With an estimated 25’000 visitors per day this was outreach on a grand scale.  Interactive dispalys included the ARC boat, fish passage, special reintroduction and bio energy to get the public engaged with science, research and sustainability.  A video roundup of the four days can be found HERE.

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ICER at the Science and Engineering Festival (University of Southampton)

The Science and Engineering Festival at the University of Southampton attracts thousands of visitors with the aim of engaging and inspiring people of all ages. Researchers at ICER displayed a number of fish passage mitigation technologies that had been the focus of recent research efforts, provided snippets of video demonstrating how fish react to engineering structures, and provided fun facts on some of our important freshwater fish. However, nothing attracts the crowds quite like fish in an aquarium, and our tanks containing either salmon parr (Salmo salar) or river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis) enabled us to really engage with the public, outline the research we do and the importance of freshwater fisheries conservation.

Science and engineering festival 2013

Bright Club

Bright club is: Impact – Public Engagement – Reaching a Wider Audience – Communication – Presentation Skills and Self-Confidence all rolled into one the relaxed atmosphere of a local pub or bar with a few drinks and a good laugh!  It a comedy night briging post graduate research to a wider audience through the medium of standup comedy.  You can view Nick Flores Martin’s routine from the CDT HERE.

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Environmental Rock

Environmental Rock is Southampton’s annual family- friendlyEco Festival and in 2016 the CDT students presented their research on sustainability.  The festival is dedicated to promoting environmental awareness and sustainability which fits with the themes of the CDT.  The CDT raised money for the Game and Wildlife trust who publisesed the event HERE.

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ICER and Kingsclere Primary School

Research to investigate the influence of beaver dams on fish movements and habitats in Scotland was taken into the classroom as pupils at Kingsclere Primary School, Hampshire, were given a presentation by Noah Kemp, supported by the head, Mr Wells. Noah gained an opportunity to work with ICER researcher Rob Needham at the study site near Inverness and got first hand experience of scientific techniques through observations of electric fishing, PIT telemetry, and fish surveys. He supported the project by carrying buckets and his favourite moment was when he spotted a beaver kit, evidence of a growing population. The outreach proved popular as several pupils (and teachers) indicated an interest in future opportunities for field work experience to study beavers and fish in Scotland.

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World Fish Migration Day

World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) is a one day global celebration to create awareness on the importance of open rivers and migratory fish.  To engage and inform the public in this important issue some of the CDT students who’s research relates to this issue set up an information centre at Riverside Park in Southampton.  With a wide variety of information on global and local fish migration the student engaged with the public and ran interactive games for children. Bitterne Info about WFMD.

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Bringing Research to Life

The students on the CDT in Sustinable Infrastructure Systems also take part in numerous events as part of the wider University of Southampton Programme.  These events have included the Winchester Science Festival and bringing research to life for school children in the local area through the Science Roadshow.

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