Outreach and Engagement


CDT-SIS is part of the University of Southampton Roadshow team, the ‘Bringing Research to Life’ roadshow team showcase a selection of research from the University across the UK. The CDT is very lucky to be among these select teams showcasing our research to the general public around the UK. The roadshow is a fantastic platform to showcase the CDT’s research and typically the Roadshow meets more than 20,000 visitors to events each year touring regional and national events between February and September. Further information on the Roadshow can be found here: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/per/university/roadshow.page

Helen Currie featured in Nature International Journal of Science, August 2019

One of our CDT SIS students Helen Currie has been featured in Nature International Journal of Science for her work on outreach with the UOS Public Engagement team.

Take a look at the article here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02423-9

Glastonbury Festival, June 2019

In June 2019, two CDT-SIS students attended Glastonbury Festival to promote their current research into microplastics. They engaged with the public in the Green Futures Tent, part of the Green Fields area, about the underrepresented problem of microplastics in soil. Microplastics can enter soils through sewage sludge from wastewater treatment which may contain plastic fibres from clothing and particles from cosmetics. The research at Southampton is quantifying this problem through soil sampling in the Hampshire area. This year the festival banned sales of plastic bottles and focused heavily on the plastic waste problem and 99.3% of tents were taken home. Make sure you look out for us at future events!

All Years Engineering 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, August 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, August 2018

CDT-SIS 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 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, our work on plastic pollution and microplastics and finally a fantastic addition in our 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, May 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, April 2018

The CDT returned on May 13th 2018 to the South Downs Green Fair at the Sustainability Centre near Petersfield, Hampshire 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.

The CDT 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.

Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 2018

The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival takes place every year in Lyme Regis, Dorset which is situated on the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. This year the CDT attended as part of the University of Southampton Roadshow team. The CDT exhibits included the Fish Passage Marble Run, Beaver reintroduction, fish passage and Eel migration.

World Fish Migration Day 2018 at 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.

Thomas Hardye School 2018

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems this year as part of the Roadshow visited the Thomas Hardye School in Poole, Dorset. The event was to bring science into the school and pupils. The pupils were brought into the main hall where the Roadshow was exhibiting by their class groups and the researchers and students on the Roadshow presented their research to them. Representing CDT SIS was Toshan Rampat, Maria Ramos Suarez and Ali Shahbaz Khan. At the event they were exhibiting Maria’s research on Anaerobic Digestion to the pupils of the school.

Maria’s research aim is to produce biochemicals called volatile fatty acids from food and other organic wastes in an environmentally friendly manner using biological tools; bacteria and enzymes. The main challenge will be to overcome technical problems to make this option economically attractive for companies

Bright Club Women in Research Special 2018

On Friday 9th March 2018, the University of Southampton’s Bright Club held a Women in Research Special. Bright Club enables researchers to bring their research to the general public through the medium of stand up comedy. At this event Maria Ramos Suarez one of our iPhD students on the CDT decided to take to the mic to make us laugh at her comedy related to her research. Check out Maria by following the link and watching the video below!


Bournemouth Airshow 2017

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems this year attended the Bournemouth Airshow on the 31st August-1st September 2017. Two of our iPhD researchers attended the event to showcase the CDT’s research into fish passage, fish migration, hydroelectric power and the reintroduction of the European or Eurasian Beaver into the UK ecosystem.

The CDT were situated in the Science tent run by Bournemouth University and were with other researchers from the University of Southampton Roadshow team and other local University’s.

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!


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Glastonbury Festival 2017

In June 2017 two CDT SIS students were part of the University of Southampton Roadshow team to attend Glastonbury Festival and to work promoting Fish migration and hydro power to Festival goers in the Green Futures tent.

The South Downs Green Fair 2017 at The Sustainability Centre

On 7th May 2017, the Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems 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. The CDT felt very much at home during this event!

At the Fair the CDT 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 CDT 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!


South Downs Engagement Day 2017

On the 20th, March 2017 CDT-SIS invited non-academic partners from the South Downs National Park Authority, Southern Water, Forest Research, Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Environment Agency and CPRE Hampshire to take part in an Engagement Day at the University. The aim of the event was to bring together a variety of non-academic partners (e.g. NGOs, regulators, industry) and academics who have an interest in areas within the CDT-SIS remit of developing the environmental sustainability of water, energy and transport infrastructure in the South Downs National Park Region. We aimed to better understand and define the non-academic stakeholder perspectives and identify collaborative research priorities in this area.

The event featured many engaging networking activities in an aim to get the perspective of the non-academic partners present research priorities across to the academics taking part in the event. These events included soapbox style mini presentations and q and a sessions, as well as project creation drafting and presentations from current students on the CDT programme.

The event was a success with many academics gaining useful contacts from the organisations represented at the event, and it created the start of potential projects and collaborations between the CDT and the organisations present at the event.


Science and Engineering Festival 2017

The Science and Engineering Festival is an annual event held by the University of Southampton to display the outstanding research and work which the University is involved in. The event takes place across the whole University, stretching from Avenue Campus, Highfield Campus up to Boldrewood Campus. Faculties, research groups, academics and students alike all participate displaying their work to the public. It has been estimated that this year over 9000 people visited the festival.

This year the festival was held on the 18th March 2017 and CDT-SIS were proud to be a part of it! The CDT exhibit was based up at Boldrewood Campus in the state of the art building 175, which during the working week houses Lloyd’s Register’s Global Technology Centre. The CDT exhibit highlighted the effect on river ecosystems of the reintroduction of the Eurasian Beaver to the UK, the use of composite materials in the construction of Wind Turbines and fish pass and fish migration systems in use in rivers.

The CDT had a fantastic turn out to its exhibit with many fascinated adults and children alike meeting and talking to the students and discussing the work on display. We also had the reappearance of the fabulous colour in your own beaver! Which always goes down a storm with the younger audience visiting the exhibits.

The Science and Engineering Festival was a fantastic success for the CDT, not only did it highlight the importance of our research to over 9000 members of the public, it also was a fantastic opportunity for the students to practice presenting their research to a wider audience and to gain confidence in talking to large groups of people. These are all skills that will come in handy during the course of their PhD studies with the CDT.



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 the CDT was there to greet them with the largest science display on show.  As soon as children and adults were through the door the CDT 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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BBC Countryfile Live 2016

In August 2016 CDT-SIS joined the University of Southampton Roadshow to host a science tent at the inaugural BBC Countryfile Live.  Over four days the event attracted in excess of 100’000 visitors and was televised on the BBC’s prime time Countryfile programme.  The University of Southampton was the only science tent invited and the CDT had the largest exhibition space. Its interactive exhibits included sustainable infrastructure management of rivers and hydropower along with various research tools such as our remote control river surveying boat.  With a range of staff and students on hand to explain the CDT and its research we found that engagement was extremely high with a long linger time, return visits and original visits due to word of mouth. A roundup of the event can be seen HERE.  This was an extremely successful event for the CDT which is using the experience to now enhance and expand its outreach programme for next year.

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Engaging Future Students

CDT-SIS students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and subject specialisms. Richard Deacon who is studying ‘Mitigating Range Anxiety and Reducing Energy Consumption by Drivers in Electric Vehicles’ completed his BSc in Phycology prior to starting on the CDT-SIS iPhD course.  Alongside his PhD studies Richard has been regularly busy with public engagement showing potential new students and members of the public the Transport Research Groups driving simulator at various open days.  He has also been back to Bournemouth and Poole College where he previously studies in order give talks and presentations on his journey from the college to studying for his PhD.

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Bright Club

Bright club is: Impact – Public Engagement – Reaching a Wider Audience – Communication – Presentation Skills and developing Self-Confidence. All that rolled into one in the relaxed atmosphere of a local pub or bar with a few drinks and a good laugh!  Bright Club brings post graduate research to a wider audience through the medium of stand-up comedy.  Getting up in front of a group of strangers with the goal of making them laugh is no easy task, especially when the topic is PhD research.  We are therefore proud that one of our own CDT students – Nick Flores Martin – took up the challenge and joined other PhD students to entertain, inform and crack jokes.  A video of his first stand-up will be coming shortly and we are pleased to hear Nick is already preparing material for his next routine.

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Environmental Rock

Environmental Rock is Southampton’s annual family- friendly Eco Festival and in 2016 the CDT students were there presenting work on various issues of sustainability. The festival is dedicated to promoting environmental awareness and sustainability which fits with the themes of the CDT.  Our students engaged members of the public with talks and information about the full range of projects we currently have running.  Students from all major themes of Water, Energy and Transport were there illustrating how important it is to take a holistic approach to sustainable infrastructure.  In addition to engaging the public with CDT research it also provided our students an excellent opportunity to work on their science communication skills.  These are a central to the CDT’s mission of training the next generation of engineers and policy leaders.  As part of the day the CDT raised money for the Game and Wildlife trust who publicised the event HERE.

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The University of Southampton Festival of Doctoral Research

The Festival of Doctoral Research was an inaugural event for the University of Southampton’s Doctoral College and ran from 12 – 27 May, 2016.  The festival was designed to celebrate and showcase the world class doctoral research being conducted across the University.  The event was aimed at students and staff from across the university, from undergraduates to post-doctoral researchers and academic supervisors.  More than 35 events made up the jam-packed itinerary and the CDT in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems was involved in presenting its research at presentations and posters sessions during the festival.  The festival was well received with in excess of several thousand visitors to events across the week.

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World Fish Migration Day

World Fish Migration Day is a one day global celebration to create awareness of the importance of migratory fish and the challenges they face.  Our CDT students joined this global effort with the goal of promoting their work on the development of environmental impact mitigation technology such as fish passes which are being developed to ensure that infrastructure becomes more sustainable.  In order to engage the public in the need for more environmentally adaptive and sustainable infrastructure our students set up an information centre at Riverside Park in Southampton.  This popular location is next to the River Itchen and is a favourite with families and anglers alike so the students had an engaged audience.  There was a wide variety of information on global and local fish migration and infrastructure challenges being overcome to help future sustainability.  Interactive games and competitions helped engage adults and children alike. Even the local paper were keen to help advertise the event.

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Bringing Research to Life

The University of Southampton roadshow tours the country every year between February and September with the goal of ‘Bringing Research to Life’.  With over fifteen event across England the roadshow has managed to engage tens of thousands of members of public in the research currently being conducted at the University of Southampton and its importance in shaping the future.  One of the central aims of the CDT is in creating the infrastructure of tomorrow to address global sustainability challenges.  The CDT also aims to train the leaders of tomorrow, both in academia and industry and a key skill we aim to develop is a strong ability to communicate complex scientific ideas and research and the importance of that research to the general public.  The roadshow allows our CDT students to get engaged with outreach and develop their abilities in science communication and so we have formed close links with the roadshow.  The first events of the year for the CDT have been the Winchester Science Festival and bringing research to life for children in the local area through numerous school visits.

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