This summer, on Saturday 22nd June 2024, between 12-3pm, Exeter Quayside will welcome nine female inspiring scientists to the famous Piazza Terracina for a free family-friendly science day.

Now in its eighth edition, Soapbox Science Exeter opens a space for scientific debates and dynamic conversations which brings science to the public in an accessible manner using homemade scientific props. Soapbox Science showcases women’s ground-breaking research, challenging gender stereotypes in science careers. Each hour, women academics will stand on a soapbox and discuss their research with members of the public, inspiring the next generation that science is for everyone. There are no PowerPoint slides, microphones or megaphones and so they must use the power of their voices and their science communication skills to draw in the crowds. It is a family friendly event and free to attend.

The talks feature a range of diverse speakers from the University of Exeter, University of Bath and the Marine Biological Association.

Speaking on the importance of Soapbox science in Exeter, Dr Ievgeniia Kovalska, Lecturer in Advanced 2D Energy Materials at the University of Exeter, said: “What attracted me to Soapbox Science in the first place was the opportunity to share my passion for science with a broader audience. As an event that breaks down barriers and inspires others, especially women and young girls, to pursue careers in science, Soapbox Science offers a unique platform and friendly atmosphere for direct engagement with families and kids.

Through my personal story and passion for what I am doing, I aim to serve as a role model and advocate for underrepresented groups in STEM, making science more accessible and impactful for all.”

Dr Sylvia Dimitriadou, one of the speakers at this year’s soapbox science and Biosciences postdoctoral researcher at Exeter, said: “My main motivation to participate in Soapbox science is the fact that I can often see female colleagues, even in our own workspaces, not being heard and/or afforded the same opportunities to speak up and contribute as men do.

I’m the first woman in my family to receive any kind of postgraduate degree, and I feel like I owe it to the women that come after me to challenge the idea of what a scientist looks like, and help make room for them at the table.”

Dr Safi Darden, co-organiser of Soapbox Science Exeter, said: “Our aim is clear; we want to eliminate gender inequality in science and each year we’re taking a step in the right direction as we bring a diverse range of scientific research to the public. We’re very encouraged by the reception received in time past, particularly from the younger generation and we need to keep inspiring future generations by challenging gender stereotypes in science.”

The speakers are:

  • Dr Ulrike Bauer (University of Exeter) – The tricks and traps of insect-eating pitcher
  • Dr Maria Eugenia Correa Cano (University of Exeter) – The Extraordinary Life Cycle Stages of a Water Bottle
  • Dr Sylvia Dimitriadou (University of Exeter) – What is this fish thinking?
  • Dr Katherine Helliwell (University of Exeter and Marine Biological Association in Plymouth) – Tiny algae with big impacts: from blooms to biotech!
  • Ridi Hossain (University of Exeter) – Slow the Flow: Nature-Based Flood Control
  • Dr Ievgeniia Kovalska (University of Exeter) – Exploring Water’s Dance on Surfaces
  • Miss Caitlin Naylor (University of Bath) – Manipulating the senses: when what you see no longer matches what you feel
  • Dr Iveren Winifred Nyinoh (University of Exeter) – Healthy gut, good health: how diet impacts gut microbes, health, and disease
  • Elitsa Penkova (University of Exeter) – Is antimicrobial resistance in rivers a public health risk?

For more information on Soapbox Science Exeter and full details of the speakers, please visit the website or follow the event on Twitter / X page @SoapboxExeter