Introducing IF Oxford: The New Science & Ideas Festival

Sep 27 2018

A new festival, IF Oxford, will take over Oxford city-centre for eleven days in October (12-22 October 2018), building on the legacy of the Oxfordshire Science Festival, with more than 120 events and activities at 20 venues around the city and beyond.

Venues include Oxford Town Hall, The Bodleian Library, The Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford Playhouse and a few good pubs.

Designed for inquisitive minds of all ages and taking a broad approach to science and society, the festival includes both cutting-edge research and investigation from world-leading academics and business alongside a refreshing new approach to ideas about humanity and the world at large, knitting the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines. Expect comedy, art, theatre and dance as well as dozens of hands-on events for families across the city at which children and adults can have a go at keyhole surgery, take away tips for becoming a forensic super-sleuth or get lost in a logic labyrinth. Topics range from augmented humanity with Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt to the status of food with Professor Susan Jebb, or the big data phenomenon in medical research in neurology, quantum technologies and cybersecurity. Music buffs can consider the accuracy of re-recordings and the changing sounds of tracks over time whilst the aspiring astronauts can design and build their very own rocket and defy the laws of gravity.

There are surprising science ideas and innovative insights for everyone whatever their interest, from the maths behind the perfect penalty kick, and the relationship between protein and sporting performance, to the science of distilling from grain to glass. How can we use science to make better tasting wine? Be entertained by science in the cemetery, a geological treasure trove, or enjoy an alchemy of acts in a science cabaret; hear real stories of life in the field and the challenges it poses and considers how engineering failure serves as an inspiration for fresh innovation. Discover the hidden super-powers of bacteria and whether diamonds can save the world!

Festival Director Dane Comerford said ‘We are delighted to bring together ideas derived from many different disciplines, to spark curiosity and ignite new interests in adults whatever their background. Science is just one part of society and culture, and concepts and advances are most interesting when they pull new ideas into the every-day or take the everyday into new places. This city is known around the world for academic excellence and scientific breakthroughs and so it is wonderful to be able to open the door to the people who live here, and give everyone a chance to share the magic of discovery.’

The majority of events are free to enter; donations will be requested using a Pay What You Decide model.

For more information about IF Festival, please visit

For media enquiries, please contact: Festival Director Dane Comerford 01865 810 027 or 07720705312
Or PR support, Esther Lafferty 01367 242498 or 07715 640228


Notes for editors
The IF Festival (Oxford Science and Ideas Festival) is an annual science and ideas festival organised by the charity
Oxfordshire Science Festival, (Charity number 1151361). We are working toward a world where the complexity,
wonder and opportunities of scientific research are explored, challenged, celebrated and enjoyed across society.
Through a range of events and activity, from the discussion of cutting-edge research to hands-on activities for
families, we aim to inspire and support people of all ages and backgrounds to access ideas from research and
innovation for the encouragement and exploration of individual and global potential. IF Oxford has been developed
from the Oxfordshire Science Festival which ran from 1994–2017 and was attended by up to 10,000 people each
The festival is produced in association with Science Oxford with the support of the University of Oxford, Oxford
Brookes University, local business and cultural organisations, BBC Oxford, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire
County Council.