MORE than 2,000 people flocked to this year’s Malvern Festival of Innovation to discover the ideas, designs and new technology that will be shaping the future.

Highlights of this year’s week-long event included renowned mathematician and author Marcus du Sautoy discussing his new book What We Cannot Know, as he expanded the horizons of a 150-strong audience at Malvern College.

A new StartUp Stories event at the Coach House Theatre saw celebrity entrepreneurs Nick Holzherr, a finalist in the Apprentice, and Dragons’ Den winner Neil Westwood, join forces with local entrepreneur Alastair Shortland of TextLocal to tell an attentive auditorium about the trials and tribulations of being your own boss.

The packed programme also included the Next Generation Innovators Day at the Three Counties Showground. More than 750 students and teachers from schools across Herefordshire and Worcestershire attended the event which brought the world of science, technology and engineering alive through a series of interactive exhibits.

There was more fun for all ages at the Family Day held at Malvern Theatres, with Dr Emily Grossman talking about cloning and stem cells, and Rock Doctor Mark Lewney explaining Superstring Theory with his custom Ibanez electric guitar. An array of exhibitors provided hands-on demonstrations of chemistry, physics, electronics, and design technology.

A series of themed business days held at Malvern Theatres focused on Cyber Security, the Internet of Things and the Business of Innovating, featuring keynote speakers from GCHQ and Innovate UK.

The programme kicked off with more than 130 people braving the October chill to watch an open -ir screening of cult film The Matrix in Priory Park.

Now in its fifth year, the festival is organised by the social enterprise Innovate Malvern CIC, supported by Malvern Hills District Council and with additional support from numerous sponsors including Palladium Sponsor Wynne Jones IP, and gold sponsors QinetiQ and the Three Counties Showground.

Dr Adrian Burden, founder and curator of the festival, said: “We had another fantastic week of fascinating insights and cutting-edge ideas from people who travelled to Great Malvern from around the UK. Of particular note was the cyber security symposium with a record-breaking attendance to the extent that we had to close registration early.”

Cllr Phil Grove, leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: “We will continue to support the Malvern Festival of Innovation as it focuses on the future opportunities for businesses and our young people. We want next year’s festival to be even bigger and better, and welcome any proposals from local businesses or the community to run fringe events to bring the benefits of the festival out into the town and continue Malvern’s legacy as the home of innovation.”