Public Engagement

Public engagement is a core part of the Institute’s mission. Staff from across the Institute take part in a wide range of activities throughout the year to engage and enthuse the public in our work.

A key aspect of our outreach is to inform people about our animal research and create an open platform to talk about the care and welfare of animals. We also work closely with organisations such as Understanding Animal Research.

Visits to MRC Harwell 

Throughout the year we have visits from different groups such as schools, the University of the Third Age, and children’s clubs such as scouts and brownies.

Our activities cater for a wide range of ages. We have a range of bespoke activities relating to the research taking place at Harwell including genetics and inheritance, the brain, and hearing.  

We have a fully equipped teaching laboratory dedicated to engagement. This gives children and young adults the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a scientist conducting experiments and interpreting their results. The younger children always enjoy extracting DNA as a white goo from strawberries, whereas the older children get to try their hand at more challenging experiments such as gel electrophoresis to separate out DNA fragments, a technique commonly used in forensics and genetic research. 

Visits for adults often include lab tours, talks from our scientists and a tour of the Mary Lyon Centre. 

If you would like to arrange a visit, please contact and we can talk to you in more detail to organise an itinerary. 

Please be aware that we put a lot of prior planning and preparation into our activities, and require advanced warning should you wish to cancel or rearrange your visit.

MRC Harwell Festival 

Each year in June as part of the MRC Festival of Medical Research events are hosted at MRC Centres across the UK. Previously events at MRC Harwell have included a Patient Open Day, a Year 12 Open Day and a ‘Your genes and you’ open day targeted more widely to those interested in genetics research. 

These events provide an opportunity for visitors to find out about our research and meet scientists first hand. Our events usually include interactive activities, lab tours, and tours of the Mary Lyon Centre. 

Events in Oxfordshire

We regularly take part in events locally and nationally. Previous events we have participated in include the Oxfordshire and Abingdon Science Festivals, Café Scientifique, careers events at schools, Pint of Science, and the Harwell Campus Family Fun Day. 

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