CHRISTMAS LECTURES competition for schools

Thanks to generous donations, the Royal Institution is able to offer an exciting opportunity for one child and their parent to come to the 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES.

  • Audience from the 2015 CHRISTMAS LECTURES

    Audience from the 2015 CHRISTMAS LECTURES

    Credit: Paul Wilkinson

The competition

This year, thanks to generous funding from the Summerfield Charitable Trust, teachers are being offered the opportunity to enter disadvantaged students from their school into a competition to attend the CHRISTMAS LECTURES on 10 December 2016

The CHRISTMAS LECTURES are a series of televised science lectures for young people, broadcast between Christmas day and the New Year. Started in 1825, they have become an annual hallmark in the festive calendar. This year is especially exciting as it marks the 80th anniversary of the Lectures first appearing on television. 

This year’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES ‘Supercharged: fuelling the future’, hosted by Saiful Islam, Professor of Material Chemistry at the University of Bath, will describe that invisible force that drives everything around us, from our bodies to mobile phones, to all the stars in the universe… ENERGY. The winner of this years competition, along with an accompanying adult, will be whisked off to London for an expenses paid trip, including transport, accommodation, meals and of course audience tickets for the filming of one of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES.

The Royal Institution is thrilled to be able to provide the delights and excitement of attending the CHRISTMAS LECTURES to children passionate about science but who lack the means to support their curiosity. This promises to be an exciting opportunity for a young science enthusiast to be a part of one of the country’s longest-running and most popular science engagement events for young people.

How to apply

Applications are open between 24 October and 18 November 2016 for teachers from Gloucestershire who believe a disadvantaged pupil aged 11-17 at their school would benefit from this fantastic opportunity. To apply, please email with a short paragraph (no more than 200 words) explaining why that student would benefit from attending the CHRISTMAS LECTURES. Teachers will need to include their student's name, address and contact details. A representative of the school, for example the child’s science teacher, must be the one to write the application. Please note – applications will not be accepted from parents and should be sent from a school email address. 

 The child and a parent or guardian must be available 10 – 11 December to travel to London to attend.  The winner will also be asked to write a short blog post on their experience after the event.

About this year's Lectures

The 2016 CHRISTMAS LECTURES will describe something invisible that drives everything around us, from our bodies to mobile phones, from aeroplanes to all the stars in the universe… ENERGY.

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it just transforms from one form to another – the challenge is whether we can harness and use it for our own purposes when it changes from one form to another. In each lecture, Professor Saiful Islam will face a big question – what is energy and where does it come from, how can we best make use of it, and how can we store energy to use later on? 

While Saiful will have access to amazing cutting-edge technology, it will quickly become clear that we are a long way from meeting the energy demands of the future. The real solutions and great breakthroughs will come from tomorrow’s researchers, quite possibly the young people watching the Lectures.

Terms and conditions

  1. For the purposes of the Summerfield Charitable Trust, Gloucestershire is defined as the six district councils of Gloucestershire (i.e. Cheltenham, Gloucester, Stroud, Tewkesbury, Cotswolds or Forest of Dean).

  2. Applications will be open from 9:00am Monday 24 October 2016 to 5:00pm Friday 18 November 2016. Applications made outside of these dates will not be considered.

  3. Successful applicants will be notified by Wednesday 23 November 2016 and will have until Sunday 27 November to confirm if they wish to accept the award. If successful applicants do not confirm their acceptance via email within this period, an alternative applicant will be selected.

  4. The two CHRISTMAS LECTURES tickets provided will be for one junior (young person aged 11-17 years) and an accompanying parent or guardian for the lecture to be filmed on Saturday 10 December 2016. Guardians must be at least 18 years of age. Please be advised that the junior and parent/guardian will not be sat together during filming of the Lectures.

  5. Ticket holders must consent to filming and sound recording as members of the audience. Please ensure that appropriate parental permission is obtained before attendance.

  6. Reasonable expenses will be covered for transport (travelling to/from and within London), overnight accommodation, and an evening meal for the length of stay.

  7. The awards are non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for the cash equivalent.

  8. The IDACI index will be used to determine child deprivation by school postcode.