Royal Institution Youth Summit

Join us on Friday 16 October 2020 for a free virtual event bringing sixth-form and college students from across the country together online to discuss and debate the topics of this year's Christmas Lectures.

  • Credit: Andrew Youngson

What is the Youth Summit?

The Youth Summit is a free online one-day event bringing together sixth-form and college students, aged 16-18, from around the country to discuss and debate the topics of the Christmas Lectures.

This year's Youth Summit will take place on Friday 16 October 2020 using the I'm a Scientist online platform.

The event will cover themes of sustainability, science, society and empowerment across the topics of planet Earth and our oceans, atmosphere and the geology.

Who is the event for?

This event is ideal for any student with interests across the sciences, social sciences and humanities, giving them a fun and educationally enriching opportunity as they engage in text only peer-to-peer debates with other young people.

Teachers should consider prioritising students who are currently studying STEM subjects who would benefit from an online peer-to-peer debating experience.

We encourage schools to prioritise Pupil Premium students where possible

How to register your interest

To register your interest, visit the Youth Summit page on the I'm a Scientist website as soon as possible, giving us an idea of how many delegates you would like to enrol.

Please note that: 

  • Registrations of interest must be made by teachers
  • Teachers can sign up to a maximum of 15 students per school
  • The event will be held virtually, using the I'm a Scientist platform
  • The event will run from 10.00am to about 15.00pm on Friday 16 October
  • Teachers must arrange for students to step away from normal school timetable for the day of the event
  • A member of staff must be available for the whole day to supervise their students attending the event
  • Students must each have access to an online devise so they can interact in chat rooms. Schools could arrange for students to access the event from home if they cannot provide this for each student in school

Online registration process

On 7 October, teachers who have successfully registered an interest in the 2020 Youth Summit will receive an email providing access to the I'm a Scientist platform.

Providing student access to the platform

  • Log in to the site and visit your platform
  • Create a class and download login cards for your students, or send them the unique URL to register themselves
  • You''ll be sent a follow up email with instructions to share about the day

We recommend the online registration is undertaken by the teacher who will be supervising on the day of the event, so they gain familiarity with the platform.

What will happen during the 2020 Youth Summit

During the summit, we will host a discussion on the topics raised by projections of our shared futures, bringing in themes of sustainability, science, society and empowerment. All while understanding a bit more about the topics of the Christmas Lectures; Planet Earth and our oceans, atmosphere and the geology.

The day will begin with students logging onto the virtual Youth Summit platform.

We want to explore the impact and future of humans on our planet and will use a series of ‘provocation’ videos for our delegates to discuss questions, such as:

  • How do you view your future and the future of our planet?
  • What are the critical elements we need to safeguard planet Earth?
  • And what messages would you like to pass on to our three Christmas Lecturers as they develop their lectures for a TV audience?

Videos from experts will stimulate debate, provoking discussions around our shared future. Delegates will react and respond to these, discussing certain elements in greater depth. They will then go on to vote for their favourite topics to debate for the remainder of the day.


Schools can set up their students to take part in this event in whatever way suits them best.

Ideally, we would suggest booking a computer suite for the day and have a supervising staff member present from the start at 10am until the finish just before 3pm. This will allow the students to also have face-to-face discussions with their counterparts as the online debates progress.

Any school who cannot provide this but still wants to take part can arrange for students to take part from home. However, please make provisions for anyone who cannot access the internet to undertake this in school so that no-one is left out.


Students attending the summit will only interact via text-based chatrooms. There will be no video or audio interaction. All chatrooms will be moderated by DBS-checked supervisors.

Lunch and breaks

We will require the students to break from screens for at least 5 minute per hour during the course of the day, which is built into the schedule.

Lunch will be a 30-minute break at midday – packed lunches are advisable since this is quite a short time.

Student preparation

Before the day, students will need to:

  • Click on the link you send them in the email to register and create their profile page
  • Read and consent to our code of conduct
  • Review any materials we send to ensure they are familiar with the Christmas Lectures and the subjects we’ll be discussing

Supported by:

Lloyd's Register Foundation
UK Research and Innovation

In collaboration with: