Students Staff

07 March 2013

Celebrating science that could change the world

The University's research aquarium

The University's research aquarium, the only one of its kind in the UK

To mark National Science and Engineering Week (15-24 March), the University of Essex is opening up its laboratories to showcase inventions and discoveries that tackle some of the key global challenges of the twenty-first century.

Staff, students, local school pupils and members of the community are invited on to the Colchester Campus for a series of events including tours of Wivenhoe Park’s ecological treasures, an insight into how intelligent computers might change our lives, and a look at Essex’s tropical research aquarium, the only one of its kind in the UK.

Dr David Pevalin, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Science and Engineering) said: “Scientists at Essex are leading the way in addressing some of the most serious challenges currently faced by the global community. We have researchers helping the world to understand the diseases of ageing and the effect of modern lifestyles on children’s health, while our robotics research group, the largest of its kind in the UK, has demonstrated how intelligent robotic fish can identify pollution in sea ports. Our plant biologists too are exploring ways in which we can harvest the sun’s energy to help increase crop yields and meet world population growth.

“These are just a few examples of our scientific peaks of excellence, all of which are backed up by investment in state-of-the-art research facilities and opportunities for our students to work with leading scientists thus developing their research skills and setting them up as tomorrow’s pioneers of scientific discovery.”

For your chance to find out why the University of Essex is such a great place to study science and how Essex’s cutting-edge research could change the world, the University is hosting a series of interactive events all open to staff, students, applicants and members of the public:

Wednesday 13 March
Annual Burrows Lecture (Essex Book Festival event)
Nature writer Richard Mabey talks about the concept of ‘edgeland’, the zone between inhabited and wild land, in Essex.
Lakeside Theatre, 7.00pm

Saturday 16 March
Talking on Water (Essex Book Festival event)
Artists, writers and scientists present a day of talks and readings on the theme of water.
Lakeside Theatre, 10.30am-5.00pm
Tickets £5 (£4 concessions), book your place, telephone: 01206 873261

Monday 18 March
Room evacuation game (running throughout the week)
Help our researchers explore how individuals and groups can safely evacuate buildings by taking part in a novel computer game.
Square 3 gazebo, 10.00am-3.00pm

Crowd behaviour research
Take part in real research through a crowd decision-making game.
Robot Arena - departs from gazebo every 10 minutes between 12.30pm and 3.30pm

School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering final year project open day
Find out more and see demonstrations of final year projects from multimedia to electronics.
2.00-5.00pm, multiple locations - for further details contact Claire Harvey, telephone: 01206 874379

Tuesday 19 March
Coral reef research and bioimaging presentation
30-minute tour of the Coral Reef Research Unit and Bioimaging Lab
Departs from Square 3 gazebo, 12.10pm, 12.40pm and 1.15pm
Book your place, e-mail:

Elaine Fox: Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain (Essex Book Festival event)
Psychologist and neuroscientist Professor Elaine Fox on how to retrain your brain.
Lakeside Theatre, 6.30pm
Tickets £5 (£4 concessions), book your place, telephone: 01206 873261

Wednesday 20 March
Introduction to computing and robotics
50-minute presentation on how to develop a mobile app and intelligent robotics.
Room 1N.4.1 (Network Centre), 3pm
Book your place, e-mail:

Thursday 21 March
Discover the Colchester Campus’ hidden wildlife
Two one-hour tours exploring the natural treasures of Wivenhoe Park and the Colne Estuary.
Departs from main reception at 12noon (Around the lake and beyond) and 1pm (Woodland, reed beds and the Colne Estuary)
Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing
Book your place, e-mail: or telephone: 01206 874377

Friday 22 March
Zombie Horde on tour
Take part in real research into crowd behaviour by impersonating a zombie.
Square 2, 2-3pm

The University is also hosting a series of events for local school children including conferences for year 12 students and Easter lectures for children between nine and 12 years old.

All events take place at the University’s Colchester Campus, are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated.


Notes to editors
1. For further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone: 01206 873529 or e-mail:

2. National Science and Engineering Week shines the spotlight each March on how the sciences, technology, engineering and maths relate to our everyday lives, and helps to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers with fun and participative events and activities. The theme of the 2013 week is Invention and Discovery. For further information see:

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