The Ri unconference, run by the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre, is a national event where 300 young people aged 14-18 from around the UK have the opportunity to shape the future of science policy and decision making and help solve some of the major scientific challenges facing the UK.

The ethos behind the Ri unconference is completely aligned with the aims of the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre; to encourage creative thinking in science and curiosity-driven learning outside the classroom.

First launched in 2011, the three unconferences to date have explored the issues around science and the environment, education and the media in 2011, the future possibilities and effects of science on the economy in 2012,  and most recently the impact of future technologies and their ethical implications in 2013.

Each Ri unconference begins with experts and key influencers in the science industry introducing four key topics centred around the day’s theme. The aim of these presentations is to encourage students to think creatively about the social, political and ethical dilemmas surrounding these topics and how they might be resolved to the benefit of science and society.

Students then set the agenda for their afternoon breakout sessions and through open, organic discussion, identify recommendations on the issues raised. Throughout the day, the young people share their ideas on Twitter, and email, using social media as a way to communicate their ideas and debate with a wider audience about the key issues under discussion. The day culminates with the students presenting their ideas and recommendations to a panel of experts and thought leaders representing the government, education, science, business and media.

This unique structure and approach of the Ri unconference gives young people a rare opportunity to engage with professionals as peers and demonstrate their capacity and desire to tackle some of the most complex and serious scientific issues facing their generation.

This Ri Channel Collection showcases the video highlights of each of the three unconferences to date. 

Media Gallery

  • Students giving a presentation at the 2013 Unconference

    Image: Charlotte Medlicott

  • Students discussing food security at the 2013 Ri Unconference

    Image: Charlotte Medlicott

  • Dr Adam Rutherford giving a keynote presentation on Bioscience at the 2013 Unconference

    Image: Charlotte Medlicott

  • Professor Sir David King giving a keynote presentation on Energy and the Environment at the 2013 Unconference

    Image: Charlotte Medlicott

  • The L'Oréal Ri Unconference 2011

    Image: Royal Institution

  • L'Oréal Young Scientist Centre Manager, David Porter

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Pupils prepare what to say in their speeches.

    Image: Royal Institution

  • Tweeting about matters on the Ri Unconference agenda in the Writing Room.

    Image: Royal Institution

  • The young participants give their views on science journalism.

    Image: Royal Institution

  • The Ri Unconference speakers. From L-R: Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Sallie Robins, Hugh Montgomery, and Alom Shaha.

    Image: Royal Institution

The Ri L'Oréal Young Scientist Centre Unconference

Highlights and key note speeches from the Ri's annual Unconference.

Students in the audience at the 2013 Ri Unconference

Image: The Royal Institution