Scottish festivals

Doors Open Day

Scotland is a hub for a range of festivals, with Heriot-Watt staff and students involved in many of them throughout the year.

Edinburgh Science Festival (ESF)

The University has been involved in the ESF for many years as a funding partner. The Science Festival has run since 1989 and is one of Europe's largest celebrations of science and technology.

Family Fun Day

In 2018 and 2019, we were delighted to welcome ESF back to our Edinburgh campus for the second year running, as we transformed Oriam, Scotland's Sports Performance Centre, into an Olympics of discovery!  Visitors could get hands on with cutting-edge research spanning robots and virtual reality to bacteria and body parts. The day was packed with workshops and interactive activities exploring healthy homes, bodies and minds.

Talks, debates and hands-on activities

Every year, our researchers take to the stage to discuss and debate ground-breaking research, from the fate of our oceans, to new technologies that are changing the world. 

At venues across Edinburgh, including Dynamic Earth and the National Museum of Scotland, families can interact with our research - from seeing a robot's ability to estimate a person's emotion from their face and body posture, to virtual reality experience of offshore windfarms, and hands-on experiences with sea creatures. 

Bang Goes the Borders

Bang Goes The Borders is a free science festival co-funded by Heriot-Watt, which takes place every September at St Mary's School, Melrose. The one-day festival features more than 30 different hands-on activities and workshops aimed at youngsters from 5 to 13 years.

Each year, more than 1000 youngsters from across the region get to grips with all things scientific and environmental. It's a great opportunity for our researchers to share some of their research with future scientists and entrepeneurs.

Midlothian Science Festival

Over two weeks each October, the Midlothian Science Festival runs enjoyable science activities across the region appealing to a large, diverse audience of all ages and backgrounds, from professionals to novices, from science enthusiasts to the merely curious. 

The festival aims to reach and inspire audiences of all ages in science. Its bold, engaging and exciting events take place in libraries, mills, churches, centres of learning and even a superstore, and 90% of events are FREE!

You can find out more on the Festival’s website at 

Orkney Science Festival

Run in September every year, the vibrant and exhilarating Orkney International Science Festival brings visitors from near and far to its exhibitions, talks and workshops. 

The first Orkney Science Festival took place in 1991, opened by Professor Heinz Wolff. It was the world’s second science festival, after Edinburgh. Over the years since then, the programme has included speakers such as primatologist Jane Goodall, astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, physicist Prof. Peter Higgs, American astronaut John Young, cognitive psychologist Prof. Richard Gregory, educator Bunker Roy, Nobel laureate Brian Josephson, mathematician John Barrow, and television presenters Heather Couper, Tim Hunkin and Kathy Sykes.

Each year, researchers from both our International Centre for Island Technology in Orkney, and our Edinburgh campus get involved in the festival, sharing their marine and environmental research. Further information can be found on the OISF website. 

For information about upcoming events and activities featuring Heriot-Watt research, check out the HW Engage Facebook page.

Key information