Community Initiative Awards – a thank you to our sponsors!

Today’s the day that some of the BGTB team head to London for the prestigious Times Education Supplement awards as we’ve been shortlisted in the Community Initiative category. The event doesn’t include thank you speeches, (particularly if we don’t win!) so here is what we’d like to say to everyone who is part of our success.

BGTB success comes from a hard working team, dozens of volunteers, hundreds of scientists, thousands of visitors and a group of sponsors who have trusted us to deliver the event. Rathbones Investment Management have been with us from the first event and Christopher Godfrey-Faucett has come to every event and lifted our spirits with his infectious enthusiasm and the legendary Rathbones mints and pens.

We were also supported in the first year by the Institute of Physics in Scotland and the Society for Applied Microbiology. Along with Christopher, Alison McLure at IOP and Clare Taylor of SfAM showed huge faith in us and supported us without any evidence that we could pull off a science festival in a day. Thank you both and everyone at IOP Scotland and SfAM for that initial investment and their on-going support in the form of goodies for our famous bags.

Since the second year we’ve developed a partnership with Heriot-Watt University who became our second major sponsor and have stuck with us since. A particular thank you goes to Steve Chapman, former Principal of HWU who responded to a tentative request to cover the expenses of his researchers with a big smile and a promise of sponsorship which enabled us to instantly expand the ambition and impact of the event. Steve has now moved onto pastures new, but we’re really grateful to the new Principal at Heriot-Watt for his on-going support.

We’re so proud of what has been achieved since 2011 because of the hard work of the organising committee current and past; the volunteers who help us to run the day; St Mary’s School Melrose who host the event and whose staff give up huge amounts of free time to make the day a success and of course all the scientists who come along to a Saturday in September each year and inspire and educate.


As the only Scottish school/event on the shortlist wish us luck – whatever happens it’s going to be a great night celebrating what’s possible when a community forms around an idea, pulls together and shows that just because something hasn’t happened before, doesn’t mean it can’t with style and huge success!

Full Programme!

Thank you all for your patience – we now have a programme for the day following a wonderful late flurry of new additions at the end of last week.

As always, you’ll need to check exact timings and locations on the day as we may need to move things around, but hopefully you can start to plan the when, where and what to make the most of your day.

There are lots of new events this year so even if you are a regular there are plenty of fresh attractions.

As always, any questions, just get in touch – via Facebook or contact Sara, BGTB Director and she’ll get back to you as soon as she can.

Download the programme here: BGTB – all events for 2016 – website programme


New attractions!

We try to balance new workshops with established favourites at BGTB so there’s always a reason to come back year after year. This year’s new attractions include:

Build (and launch!) a rocket car with Borders College

Learn about the UK’s only pandas with Edinburgh Zoo

Meet one of the engineers for the new Queensferry Crossing

Fool your senses with the University of Edinburgh

Get to know Scotland’s wildlife on board Edinburgh Zoo’s Wild About Scotland bus

Meet the bad bugs resisting antibiotics with NovoScience

Take the BGTB Step Challenge with the University of Aberdeen

Overload on technology with Borders College

More details of all our workshops will follow soon!

In the meantime, keep in touch on the latest news through our Facebook page.

Volunteering at BGTB? What you need to know…

Thank you for helping to support this great event – with your help we can make it a really special day for our presenters and visitors.




A volunteer rota with details of your role will come from Rebecca as soon as the logistics of the day are sorted (copies will be available on the day). Please try and make yourself familiar with the workshops and shows. Late changes may happen because of illness or additional jobs, so if in doubt, please ask! If you find yourself surplus to requirements at your post, just report to the Information Desk (outside Pre-Prep building – the YELLOW zone) and we WILL find you a job!

Parking will be a real challenge this year because of the loss of spaces for the Reception portacabin. This means that again there will be no parking on site for anyone except presenters and visitors with disabilities. At the moment the weather forecast suggests that the Orchard will be open for parking – please look out for updates on Friday as we’ll update you by email if this changes.

On the day:

The school is zoned to help visitors.


BLUE zone                  Hamilton Building

GREEN zone               Sanderson Building

RED                             Kindergarten and Pre-Prep Gym

YELLOW                     Information Desk and Forms 1 and 2 classrooms

ORANGE                     Morrison Hall, Verandah classrooms and entrance gate

PURPLE                      marquees and Zoo bus (these will be on/near the site of the prize-giving marquee)


As a volunteer, your most important attribute is your initiative! If you see something that you can help to smooth out or fix, please do whatever sensible thing needs doing – then let us know at the Information Desk as soon as is convenient so we can keep track of events.


If you are greeting on the gates, please direct visitors to the Information Desk to receive a goodie bag, before going into workshops, as it is first come, first served.


If your workshop is quiet, let the Information Desk know so we can direct people from over-subscribed events and busy areas.


Some of you will be supporting our presenters in their workshops – there should be someone in or near each room all day. You are there to help manage the flow of visitors, deal with any queries and make the presenters’ lives as easy as possible. We have lots of new visitors this year so we’d like to make sure they feel welcome and keen to return!


You will have a full programme with workshop descriptions to help you point people to the right places. This only gives the “zones” as destinations but your volunteer rota gives exact room details. Remember to refer to locations by colour not building name for non-St Mary’s visitors. If you can’t answer a visitor’s question, just send them to the information desk outside in the YELLOW Zone. If they can’t help, come and find Sara, Rebecca, Kirsty or Mwara.


Lunch is provided for presenters in the “green room” (aka the STAFF ROOM near the DINING HALL – don’t confuse the green room with the GREEN Zone…) from 12 noon. Please ensure your presenter takes a break, but not all at the same time!!


Those volunteering for a whole day can join the presenters in the green room for lunch and enjoy scintillating science chat. For others we’ll provide snacks in the Hamilton kitchen (by the Headmaster’s office) to keep you going during your shift! We have around 70 presenters with us for the day, so space will be limited in the staff room.


Tea and coffee is an essential for our presenters and needs to be available all day and taken to them (from the tea/coffee point in the Hamilton building). There will be a designated coffee/tea server/roving helper all day, but again use your initiative if your presenter has been missed. Make sure you get a cup for yourself when you get the chance!


Children MUST not be left unattended. If you think there is an unattended child in your show, take them to the INFORMATION DESK in the YELLOW ZONE.


Please wear your lanyard whilst you are on duty and PLEASE return these to the Information Desk when you are finished – we have limited stocks!


Volunteers are asked NOT to go into the School Office.


First Aid is being provided by Dr Rachel Mollart who will have a station near the heart of the event, near the Information Desk.


Fire Alarm muster point is on the front rugby pitch.


At the end of the day there will be a lot of clearing up. Any help will be very much appreciated. Feel free to enlist additional volunteers, particularly those with upper body strength, to help return chairs and tables to the Morrison Hall!



And a final thank you – your role today is critical and we are hugely grateful to you for giving up a Saturday and missing out on a lot of today’s fun by helping us.

Here we are again…

With the final preparations for BGTB 2016 now coming together, this page is to remind or inform you of the key features of our festival-in-a-day!

It’s free. Yes, completely free. Thanks to our fantastic sponsors, Rathbone Investment Management and Heriot Watt University, and our brilliant venue, St Mary’s School all the costs of our presenters and publicity are covered, so we can bring an incredible day of science learning and fun to you, for nothing! Everyone who works on bringing the festival together is a volunteer, which keeps the cost of running the day as low as it’s possible to be.

It’s aimed at families. We want the things you see and do to be the start of weird and wonderful conversations, so the day is aimed at families all coming together. This means no unattended children 😉

It’s interactive. Get stuck in. Make a scab. Build a car. Touch a snake. Blow a bubble. Blow up something else!

You get a goodie bag. Our bags are a huge part of the day – pick up science themed goodies as you go around and have a great souvenir of the day for the rest of the year.

It’s in Melrose. Right here in the heart of the Scottish Borders. We love the train, but we love our doorstep even more. Come and join in the fun!

Saturday, September 17th 2016, from 10am – 4pm. St Mary’s School Melrose (next to the Rugby Club).