Royal Institution reports operating surplus and record annual attendance

The number of people engaging with science through Royal Institution programmes rose significantly last year, according to its 2017 Annual Review.

Just some of the school children inspired by our Science in Schools show, 'explosive food.' 
Katherine Leedale

The number of people engaging with science through the programmes and activities of the Royal Institution (Ri) rose significantly last year, according to its 2017 Annual Review published today.

Record attendance at the Ri’s L’Oreal Young Scientist Centre, an increased number of public events, the global reach of its YouTube channel, and the expansion of its outreach through Butlin’s, saw thousands of people being inspired to think more deeply about science.  

The audiences reached through the Ri’s Science in Schools programme during its first two years nearly doubled in a single year, to 35,000 children in over 100 schools; while subscribers to the Ri’s YouTube channel increased by over a third, rising by 101,000, to 330,000.

The Ri also welcomed the 90,000th student to its long-running Masterclasses programme; while an estimated 80,000 visitors enjoyed the Ri’s Faraday Museum in central London.

In addition, during the 2016/17 financial year, the Ri made considerable progress in consolidating its long-term financial sustainability, remaining debt free and posting an operating surplus, of £0.28m, for the second year in succession.

Chair of Trustees, Sir Richard Sykes FRS, said: “I am pleased to report another year of growth and success for the Royal Institution.

“Throughout the year we have increased opportunities for people of all ages to discover, discuss and critically examine science and the way in which it shapes the world around us.

“I am confident that somewhere among the many people we have reached, there will be some who will one day make their own ground-breaking discoveries. When they do, they will be able to say that their lifelong journey with science began at the Ri.

“Our thanks must go to our small team of staff, our volunteers and all of our many supporters, such as The Lloyd’s Register Foundation, L’Oréal, Causeway Technologies and The Clothworkers’ Foundation.”

Also during the year, the Ri partnered with Bayer to open a new lab at their HQ in Reading, where children will benefit from workshops derived from the original Baylabs in Germany and from the Ri’s own L’Oréal Young Scientist centre.

A further 9000 children and their families attended a family learning event in the Ri’s historic building, including nearly 2000 Summer Schools attendees. The Family programme re-branded in October, to more clearly link the Ri’s activities for young people, sign-posting them to further opportunities to engage with science. The Ri’s new Family Programme brand has been shortlisted for an award at this evening’s Transform Awards, recognising the year’s best brand transformations. 

And in December, over a million people continued the Christmas family tradition of watching the world famous CHRISTMAS LECTURES, on BBC Four and online, with the Ri’s #xmaslectures trending on twitter during broadcast night.