GOVERNMENT Minister David Willetts was guest of honour when Bournemouth University launched its exciting Festival of Learning.

The Minister for Universities and Science toured the Talbot campus, stopping to try out some of the 150 events and activities taking place between now and Sunday, June 15.

He joined pupils from Winton School in a VeggiEAT session, to explore why people do or don’t like vegetables and to find out whether they are super-tasters.

His memory skills were also put to the test in a super-recogniser experiment and he toured a graduate exhibition organised by BA Interactive Media Production students.

Mr Willetts met students and senior staff before listening to speeches from Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns and the university’s Chancellor, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers.

Mr Willetts then performed an opening speech in which he praised Bournemouth University’s research and the range of festival themes.

He said: “I am delighted to be here at the start of Bournemouth University’s Festival of Learning, a celebration of the huge variety of research going on at this university. This year we are focusing on university research and how it shapes the world around us.

“Many of your events offer the chance to be personally involved in an experiment or to debate controversial issues. Perhaps the ultimate opportunity to get one’s hands dirty comes on Sunday with the bio-blitz on Studland Bay, in which anyone can contribute to a mass survey of wildlife. This is a great example of what we call citizen science.”

Mr Burns told the audience: “Bournemouth University is a priceless asset to our town, our conurbation and our region. We are at the cutting edge in important things such as the creative industries.”

He said Bournemouth is leading the university sector in community engagement and added: “I am delighted that the minister’s visit is shining a spotlight on how fortunate we are to have our two universities deeply embedded in the life of our town.”