Public Activities

Public events

IFR takes part in a variety of public events throughout the year which are advertised locally and via this website. These events provide an opportunity for people with to meet our scientists and to talk about our research as well as wider issues affecting food and health.

One such event took place in March when IFR’s researchers met with hundreds of people of all ages during Norwich Cathedral’s Science Festival.

Cathedral Science Festival, March 2016

If you are interested in receiving information about these events then please sign up here.

Community talks and site visits

IFR staff routinely present talks to local and national community groups and associations on a range of food related topics relevant to our research programme.

If you would like a member of staff to give a talk on a particular issue or in general about our work please email giving details of when and where your group meet and how long the presentation should be. We are also happy to discuss the possibility of visits and tours of the IFR.


IFR scientists regularly visit schools, through the Teacher Scientist Network or STEMNET.please email if you are interested in arranging a visit. IFR also participates in a number of other activities as part of its mission to Inspire Young Scientists. We also have collected a number of resources that we have used to engage schoolchildren and the public in issues surrounding food and health.

Previous IFR events include ...

University of the Third Age Healthy Ageing talks

In 2015, the Institute of Food Research connected with the Norwich chapter of the University of the Third Age, an organisation for retired people offering educational, leisure and social opportunities. Following consultation with the U3A organiser, IFR offered to run a regular series of monthly talks, based around a general theme of “Healthy Ageing.” The topic was of interest to this group, and is also one of the challenges that IFR’s research is aiming to address. A series of six talks was arranged. Each session was held at IFR on the first Wednesday of the month, and followed a similar format; one talk introduces a general topic, and the second talk covers more IFR-specific research in that area. Each talk is about 20 minutes long, with similar time left for questions afterwards. More informal conversation was then encouraged over refreshments. The talks were advertised to the group as a set, but each session stood alone, allowing extra attendees to join the series during its run.

The aim was to provide a series of educational talks on relevant subjects, matching the U3A’s aims to further lifelong learning, as well as to communicate the cutting edge science IFR is carrying out. In addition, it was recognised that the series of talks provided a good opportunity for IFR’s scientists to gather opinions from this group of older, retired people. Much of IFR’s research is aimed at understanding how people can maintain health in old age, so the opinions of this group of people were seen as being potentially useful in understanding how to translate research into therapies, treatments or diets, in shaping future study design and how study results are communicated.

IFR would like to acknowlege the help of Gene Rowe in preparing and analysing the questionnaires used to understand the opinions of the talk attendees. The full write-ups can be accessed below.


7th Oct 2015

What causes Infl­ammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)? (388.5 KB)


Prof. Simon Carding &
Dr Jo Brooks

4th Nov 2015

Getting to the bottom of botulism

Dr Gary Barker &
Dr Adaoha Ihekwaba

2nd Dec 2015

Healthy ageing: is the secret in the gut (185.9 KB)

Prof. Claudio Nicoletti and
Dr Kamal Ivory

3rd Feb 2016

A healthy colour: fruit & veg and cardiovascular disease (264.8 KB)

Dr Paul Kroon &
Sebastian Achterfeldt

6th Jan 2016

Broccoli health and prostate cancer

Prof. Richard Mithen

2nd Mar 2016

The human gut microbiota and diet: Trust your gut (165.5 KB)

Dr Lee Kellingray &
Fatma Cebeci


Would you like food poisoning with that?

It’s not a side order most of us would choose, yet over a million people in the UK suffer from some form of food poisoning each year.

Arnoud van Vliet from IFR’s Food Safety Centre, gave the latest IFR Public Lecture last month. His talk covered the bacteria that cause food poisoning, why they are so good at making us ill, and why the problems are increasing.


Gut bacteria and mind control

Prof. Simon Carding, Leader of the Gut Health and Food Safety Research Programme, Institute of Food Research and Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, describes our current understanding of the human gut and its relationship with its human host and introduce the provocative proposal that gut microbes influence when, what and how often we eat and whether we stay healthy or succumb to disease.

This recording of Simon's talk has been viewed over 90,000 times.

Heroes of Food Research

The Heroes of Food Research event took place the Forum in Norwich on Tuesday 10th February. It's aim was to highlight the crucial role that volunteers play in food research.

The very best evidence for the beneficial effects of certain foods or diets can only be obtained through working with volunteers. We provide volunteers with foods to include in their diet over a period of weeks or months, and then measure what effects this might have had. These studies are carried out by specially trained staff using purpose built facilities on the Norwich Research Park.

Heroes of food research

The event showcased some of the current studies at IFR that rely on volunteers. How might broccoli be able to keep us healthy? Can orange juice combat your heart disease? Can an apple a day really keep the doctor away?

IFR and Social Networking

You can keep up to date and join in the conversation with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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