2 May 2024

London’s iconic Southbank is gearing up to host a celebration of pioneering women and non-binary people in science, as some of the UK’s leading scientists gather to share their work through our award-winning Soapbox Science event.  

On Saturday 25 May 2024, from 1:00pm-4:00pm, Queen’s Stone on the Southbank will transform into a hub of scientific sharing, as world-leading researchers once again take to their soapboxes to present their ground-breaking research at this free, live event.  

During the afternoon members of the public can engage with an inspirational line-up of esteemed scientists. Dr Heidi Ma from our Institute of Zoology will dig into work to protect the world’s largest amphibians while King’s College London’s Dr Anjali Chander will discuss the surprising connection between bacteria and mouth cancer. Meanwhile, Dr Anna Olerinyova will delve into harnessing our bodies’ ‘garbage disposal’ system to save lives, and Max Fisher from ViaNautis Bio will share insights on how their disabilities have strengthened their work growing millions of cells at a time to help develop life-changing medicines.  

From exploring how nature continues to inspire scientists at the forefront of creating new materials to unravelling the mysteries of the minuscule particles that make up the universe, the afternoon is set to inspire, captivate and amaze audiences from the banks of the Thames.  

Scientist interacts with crowd at public event
Scientist speaks to crowd at public event

Paving the way for gender equality in science

Established in 2011 by Institute of Zoology’s Professor Nathalie Pettorelli and UCL’s Professor Seirian Sumner, Soapbox Science strives to dismantle barriers to science by shining a spotlight on the vital contributions of women and non-binary people. The popular London event celebrates experts across the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).  

While only 33% of scientists globally are women – and only 26% in the UK - many reports still fail to consider non-binary people when monitoring diversity in STEM. Through its work spotlighting women and non-binary researchers, Soapbox Science is working to tackle this imbalance by challenging stereotypes and inspiring future scientists.

Although starting its journey paving the way for gender equality within science in London 14 years ago, the programme has expanded to 16 countries worldwide with 43 events taking place globally in 2024.  

Co-founder Professor Nathalie Pettorelli said: “Despite the progress being made globally, we still see a huge gender gap in the scientific community. How many people are being dissuaded from being scientists because they don’t feel like it’s a space for them? Science is for everyone who is curious about the world around them, and it’s key we continue highlighting the work of women and non-binary scientists and keep challenging limiting stereotypes about what a scientist looks like.

“It’s exciting to see Soapbox Science has continued to grow over the past 14 years and with events now running in 16 different countries, this is our biggest year yet!” 

Scientist speaks to crowd at public event
Scientist speaks to crowd at public event