Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

IF Oxford, the annual city-wide science and ideas festival, returned this month and the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) were thrilled to take part again.

A collage of six photos showing staff members and young visitors to the NDS stall participating in the various outreach activities.

Organised by Oxfordshire Science Festival and trustees, IF Oxford Science + Ideas Festival creates an opportunity to bring together hundreds of researchers with thousands of people every year – with science, ideas and creative activities for everyone to explore.

This year's NDS outreach team for IF Oxford were excited to offer the following activities:


On Wednesday 11 October, three Medical Sciences researchers, including NDS DPhil student Jack Flower, spoke about what it's like to undertake research today and how they started their medical journey. This webinar is part of an on-going series, which aims to highlight the wide range of different careers available in medical research and some of the surprising ways that people have got there. 


On Saturday 14 October, a group of NDS scientists, surgeons and research support staff presented a fun, interactive stall for the whole family at the festival's 'Tech Works' exhibition in Oxford Works at ARC Oxford (formerly Oxford Business Park). It was an opportunity for visitors to discover more about the department's exciting work and for the outreach team to share their passion for science and medicine. 

Stepping into the shoes of a trainee surgeon, participants prepared for surgery by completing the Glo Germ activity, which demonstrated the sticking power of germs and the necessity of good hand washing techniques before surgery - and in general. Once in the operating theatre, the trainee surgeons learnt how to tie surgical sutures and close surgical wounds with a banana as a patient.

Visitors to the NDS stall were also invited to learn about deep brain stimulation (DBS). Using two raspberry jelly brains, pick and mix sweets and a fibre optic light set, Jessica Scaife brought DBS to life and the power to neuromodulate into the hands of trainee surgeons. Both young and old discussed neural networks, brain imaging and how we test medical devices in clinical trials. The future of brain stimulation will increasingly be non-surgical, eg. High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. These could rival drug treatments for common conditions and provide hope for many for whom there is no effective treatment. As devices evolve, there are emerging debates around data ownership, the role of AI and what counts as a ‘disorder’, and these were hot topics for discussion with visitors.  

And finally, participants enjoyed a 3D learning experience to explore the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems with fully immersive 360 videos using augmented reality t-shirts and iPads.




The NDS outreach team