Science in Store is a pilot project in partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to experiment with holding pop up research engagement events in BHF furniture and electrical shops.

Science in store logo with test tube and microscope

We began the project in May 2016 by holding a focus group with shop staff and volunteers in the BHF furniture and electrical shop in Ealing, West London. We asked them what they thought about the idea of scientists coming into the shop to discuss their research with visitors and we asked them what they thought we should be prioritising when designing the events. They told us that they would like to have conversations with scientists, that they would like to hear about real research funded by BHF and that they would like to engage with the scientific topics in a visual way to make them more easily accessible. 

Science in Store

We held the first Science in Store event in September 2016. Three cardiac researchers discussed stem cells, 3D printing and regenerative medicine with shop visitors over tea and biscuits. The researchers also wrote a blog post on Medium for the BHF to accompany the event.

researchers & public sit round table in BHF shop

Visitors decorated their own anatomical heart biscuits while chatting to scientists.

Heart shaped biscuits

The second Science in Store event was held in November 2016. Vascular researchers delivered a ‘build a blood vessel’ lego activity and biscuits were decorated as veins, arteries and capillaries.

Biscuits shaped like blood vessels

Researchers wrote a blog post about their work to accompany the event on the BHF blog on Medium.

Researcher with lego bricks

We also created some voting installations using the furniture in the shop to find out what visitors thought about different topics relating to science and medicine.

Voting installation

The third Science in Store event happened in January 2017 and was the final event of the pilot project. Eight cardiac and vascular researchers chatted to visitors over tea and biscuits and delivered various activities including DIY Heart Cells, building blood vessels from lego and voting installations.

Researchers and public learn with lego

We also created ‘Heart Hunt’, a treasure hunt and quiz inspired activity in which visitors explored the different areas of the shop to solve clues and find out the answers to questions about heart anatomy and cardiovascular research.

Posters from heart hunt

NHLI is now working with the British Heart Foundation to evaluate the learning from the Science in Store pilot project and to create a toolkit to help other BHF funded researchers across the UK to work with their local BHF furniture and electrical shops to deliver pop up research engagement events with local community audiences. 

Researcher with lego blood vessel

Science in Store events were delivered on 29th September 2016, 24th November 2016 and 28th January 2017. 


Marta Abreu Paiva (NHLI Research Associate), Joseph Boyle (Clinical Reader in Vascular Molecular Pathology), Neil Dufton (NHLI Research Associate), Jennifer Furnam (NHLI Research Associate), Sian Harding (Professor of Cardiac Pharmacology), Nicola Hellen (NHLI Research Associate), Viktoria Kalna (NHLI Research Assistant), Michela Noseda (NHLI Research Fellow), Michael Schneider (Chair in Cardiology), Koval Smith (NHLI Research Assistant) and Matthew Turley (NHLI Research Associate).

Creative Producer:

Ellen Dowell