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Between October 7th – 15th the Royal Society of Biology celebrated its sixth annual Biology Week. Over 100 events were held week across the UK and worldwide with countries such as Italy, Nigeria and Malaysia also hosting events as part of the week.

Over 1200 people took part in various events and activities organised by the Royal Society of Biology and its branches throughout the week, with thousands more taking part in events organised by members and member organisations.

There was a huge range of events on offer for the public to get involved in, from debates and lectures to pub quizzes and hands-on practical activities.


The Royal Institution packed out for the annual Biology Week debate (photo credit: RSB)


Monday 9th October saw a packed out lecture hall at the Royal Institution in London, where over 400 guests gathered to learn more about genome editing.

The event, held in partnership with the Biochemical Society, featured a panel of experts, who discussed the science and ethics of genome editing, and where we should draw the line.

On Tuesday 10th October the RSB, in partnership with the British Ecological Society and the Biochemical Society, held a Policy Lates discussion on mental health and wellbeing.

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FLTR: Dr Valerie Gladwell, Professor Barbara Sahakian FRSB, Dr Karen Mifsud, Professor Jeremy Pritchard FRSB and Professor Clare Stanford FRSB (Photo credit: RSB)


The event, which took place on World Mental Health Day, featured a panel of scientists who discussed the biology of mental health and wellbeing, and The discussion was followed by audience questions, sparking discussions about the effects of increasing mobile phone use on mental health, how to reach those most in need of mental health services, and the possible effects of diet on mental health.

Wednesday 11th October was the annual Biology Week Parliamentary Reception. Hosted by Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP, Carol Monaghan MP and Chi Onwurah MP, the event brought together over 130 RSB members and Fellows, MPs, Member Organisations and other members of the biosciences community to celebrate the study and impact of biology in the UK.


Chi Onwurah MP. Stephen Metcalfe MP, Dr Stephen Benn and Professor Dame Jean Thomas voting in the tree poll (photo credit: RSB)


The winners of the Science Communication Awards and Photography Competition were announced on Thursday 12th October at the RSB Annual Awards Ceremony.

The evening highlighted the science communication achievements of biosciences researchers, and celebrated the wonders of the natural world and the interface between science and art.

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Welcome to my humble abode by Duncan McNaught, taken in Galloway, South Scotland


Professor Sophie Scott concluded the evening with a keynote entitled 'A short history of laughter,' ahead of her appearance at the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture.


FLTR: Professor Dame Jean Thomas, Mahmoud Maina, winner of the Young Researcher Science Communicator of the Year, Aimee Eckert, Science Communication Award judge, Dr Steve Cross, Science Communication Award judge President of the RSB, Dr Mark Downs, chief executive of the RSB (Photo credit: RSB)


Friday 13th of October saw us launch our first ever social media campaign. We encouraged biologists to tweet a photo of themselves in action using the hashtag #iamabiologist, to showcase the exciting and diverse world of biology to the public.

The campaign was highly successful, with 2089 uses of the hashtag and 540 biologists taking part. You can check out some of our favourite submissions on our Twitter page.

On Saturday 14th October, more than 400 guests attended the Bioscience Careers Day at King’s College London, which featured exhibitions, mock interviews and careers talks.

Exhbition hall

The exhibition hall at the Bioscience Careers Day (photo credit: RSB)


Attendees had the chance to network with professionals, develop their employability skills and learn more about the careers open to them following a bioscience degree.

Across the UK and worldwide, the public got into the spirit of Biology Week by organising exciting and engaging events celebrating the biosciences.

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Talking to attendees at the Bioscience Careers Day (Photo credit: RSB)


School students in Wolverhampton had the chance to learn about the importance of female role models in STEM subjects, whilst families explored “Disgusting Digestion” in Wrexham. Big Biology Day’s took place in Cambridge, Staffordshire and Moulton, offering the public a day of hands-on activities, including the chance to hold reptiles, learn about owls and even eat biology-themed cakes from the Great Biology Bake off.

Throughout Biology Week, the public were encouraged to vote for their favourite UK tree in the annual Biology Week poll. 15 trees were in the running and over 2500 votes were cast, but the Horse Chestnut tree came out top with 26% of the votes, crowning it the UK’s Favourite Tree.

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The conker tree received hundreds of votes in our online poll (Photo credit: RSB)


More than 70 entries were also submitted for the BioArtAttack competition, and the poll is now open for the public to vote for their favourite entry.

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Some of the shortlisted entries for this year's BioArtAttack competition


The Physiological Society's BioBakes competition also received 75 entries, with the public vote attracting 2740 votes to determine the winner.

Several schools also entered into the Biology Week spirit. The British School of Milan held fun biology-themed events and competitions throughout the week, whilst Blenheim High School, Epsom, took part in fancy dress and combined art and science by running their own internal BioArtAttack competition.

The RSB branches organised an array of exciting events for members, including a discussion on the control of mosquitoes using genetics in Wessex, and a lecture on rainforests in Armagh, Northern Ireland.

It was an exciting and stimulating week full of biology fun, and we hope you enjoyed it. A full list of Biology Week 2017 events can be found on our calendar.  

Feeling inspired? Find out more about our outreach and engagement activities on our website. Want to get involved in Biology Week 2018? Stay up to date with our Biology Week news on our website.