The science table with researchers and audience

Explorathon is Scotland’s event for EU Researchers’ Night. Researchers’ Night takes place on the last Friday in September each year. It is a public celebration of research that takes place in more than 300 cities across Europe. Universities in Scotland first ran Explorathon in 2014. This year, events will take place in the cities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews. The Beltane Public Engagement Network coordinates the events in Edinburgh. The Scottish event as a whole is led by the University of Aberdeen.

Further information can be found on the Explorathon website.

Take part in Explorathon ‘19

This September, do you want to share your research in a pan-European event? Explorathon 2019 takes place on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 September 2019. 

You don’t need to be funded by the European Commission to take part in Researchers’ Night, and you can be working on any area of research – the arts, humanities and social sciences are welcome.  Last year, around 3,000 members of the public turned out across the city to see events in venues including Ocean Terminal, WHALE Arts, Royal Botanic Gardens, the Lyell Centre, and many more.  This year, we hope to see many more people!

If you would like to be involved, we are looking for both researchers and volunteers for the following venues:

  • The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh – daytime drop-in session for families
  • Various schools across Edinburgh – school-age focused activities
  • Café Scientifique – informal talks for an adult audience
  • New Scots Ceilidh – workshops with the New Scots community, possibly from August and certainly September, leading to a celebration "ceilidh"
  • WHALE Arts – daytime interactive activities around a number of themes – daytime drop-in interactive activities around a number of themes – buildings and place; social media and digital technologies; climate emergency; cycling; 50 year anniversary (if your research is linked to a 50 year anniversary); Wester Hailes
  • The Lyell Centre @ Heriot-Watt – daytime drop in activities and talks, themed around marine and earth science
  • Leith Labs @ Ocean Terminal – table-top drop-in experiments, "science busking", informal talks and discussions
  • Kings Buildings, University of Edinburgh – daytime drop in activities, themed around science and engineering

Training will also be available in the months prior to the event.

Please register your interest – note that this doesn’t commit you to anything! The deadline for expressions of interest is 17:00 14 June 2019.

If you have any questions check out this and/or contact us on

Previous Explorathons


On 30 September 2016, academics and researchers from across the Scottish Universities shared their research with the public in a diverse range of locations. In Edinburgh, we linked with Leith Labs for a of a two-day extravaganza of science demonstrations, roaming scientists and scienceart workshops.

With the City of Methodist Church, the Curiosity Forest returned, with art and research-inspired activities in a beautiful indoor woodland! And finally, we hosted fun, interactive, creative sessions for 7-10 year olds from the community-led arts charity and social enterprise, WHALE Arts. A video of the night can be found on the Beltane website.


Explorathon '15 European Researchers' Night EdinburghIn 2015, the Explorathon took place across Scotland on 25 September, with RZSS Edinburgh Zoo as the flagship venue in Edinburgh, showcasing Heriot-Watt research to the public through interactive activities, talks and discovery trails.

This mini science festival offered the public a zoo-perb opportunity to learn from roar-inspiring scientists, educators and researchers. We showcased the ground-breaking scientific research being undertaken at Edinburgh’s universities, asking "what do researchers really do and why does it matter to me?"

There was a trail around the zoo, taking the public to different science related activities. Plus we offered 500 tickets, sponsored by Heriot-Watt, to communities across the city.

See some amazing photos from the day on our Flickr channel.

2014 - ONE Night, UNLIMITED Discovery

This extravaganza of discovery, debate and entertainment takes place annually in 300 cities across the EU, to bring the world of research to the general public. In Edinburgh, a myriad of activities were hosted at Our Dynamic Earth, The National Museum of Scotland, the Botanic gardens and at various cafes across the city, bringing together academics from across the Edinburgh Universities.

A Dynamic afternoon

At Our Dynamic Earth, Heriot-Watt’s scientists from the Schools of Life Sciences and Engineering and Physical Sciences amazed and inspired around 800 adults and children. From deep sea robots and the coral reefs they help protect, to arctic exploration and glowing jellyfish that let us see inside the tiny world of living cells, the afternoon was a chance for the public to see what researchers really do and why it matters.