Curiosity Carnival logo
Curiosity Carnival logo

About the Curiosity Carnival

Research is all about lab coats and test tubes, right? Actually, research is about much, much more – in fact many researchers have never worn a lab coat in their lives! Research is feeding curiosity and answering questions - like whether you can turn orange into grapefruit!

The Curiosity Carnival on Friday 29 September was a chance to find out what research is really all about, meet researchers, ask questions and discover how research affects and changes all our lives.

The night was a huge festival of curiosity – a city-wide programme of activities across the University of Oxford’s museums, libraries, gardens and woods. There was a wide range of activities for all ages and interests – live experiments, games, stalls, busking, debates, music, dance and a pub-style quiz.

Oxford’s Curiosity Carnival 2017 joined hundreds of other European cities in celebrating European Researchers’ Night.

Find out more about what happened on the night

What is European Researchers’ Night?

EU FlagEuropean Researchers’ Night is a Europe-wide event dedicated to explaining research through fun, interactive learning – and this is the first one ever to be held in Oxford. It is a unique opportunity to meet researchers, ask questions and find out more about what they research and why.

All the events took place on Friday 29 September, in over 300 cities across Europe and in neighbouring countries. The Curiosity Carnival European Researchers' Night project is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, which is an EU funding programme to support research careers.

Who was involved?

University of Oxford logoThe Curiosity Carnival was brought to you by the University of Oxforda world-leading centre of research and teaching and is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Oxford’s far-reaching research activity involves more than 70 departments, 38 colleges and 6 permanent private halls, and over 1,800 academic staff, 5,300 research and research support staff, and 5,900 postgraduate research students. Researchers are confronting some of the major challenges that face the 21st-century world, including:

  • the causes and consequences of poverty,
  • the development of vaccines for major diseases,
  • globalisation,
  • climate change,
  • migration, and
  • the problems posed by factors such as ageing populations and increasing pressures on natural resources. 

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment in 2014 (REF 2014), Oxford had the country's largest volume of world-leading research and ranked first in 12 subjects for their volume of world-leading research.

MRC Harwell Institute logoWe are working with:

The MRC Harwell Institute is at the international forefront of the use of mouse genetics to study the relationship between genes and disease. Despite outwardly looking very different to mice, we share around 98% of our genes with them. By investigating genes in mice we gain insights into what is happening in humans. Our research includes looking at the genes and pathways underlying diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, deafness, sexual development, neurodegenerative disorders, and age-related diseases. Researchers at MRC Harwell take part in many outreach events throughout the year to communicate their work to the public in a fun and interactive way.

Oxford Brookes University logoOxford Brookes is one of the UK's leading universities and enjoys an international reputation for teaching excellence and innovation. It has strong links with business and industry, and high graduate employability. Through its research the University is making a tangible difference to communities locally, nationally and internationally, tackling some of the world’s biggest problems. Oxford Brookes’ growing research strength was recognised in REF 2014 with 94 per cent internationally recognised and almost 60 per cent rated world-leading.

Free transport to Curiosity Carnival ticket holders was provided on selected routes by the Oxford Bus Company and the event was supported by Oxford City Council.