Engaging with schools and young people
All the institutes that receive BBSRC strategic funding support scientist-schools links, enabling teachers and school students to meet scientists and complement classroom science with experiences of cutting edge research. Many of the institutes offer site visits so that students can experience the research laboratory environment for themselves but many also take hands-on activities into schools, helping to relate classroom science to real life.
The Babraham Institute
Each year, the Babraham Institute welcomes A-level and GCSE students for a day during National Science Week and in 2007, launched the successful Bioscience Boot Camp for sixth formers. Babraham also hosts a sixth form symposium that includes discussion sessions on the use of animals in research. For more information about Babraham Institute's activities for schools visit: The Babraham Institute: Science & Society.
“The visit to Babraham Institute was a wonderful opportunity for our students to broaden their educational experience and deepen their scientific knowledge.”
Mr Andy Price, Assistant Head Teacher, Manor Community College
The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)
IBERS offers a range of opportunities to young people through Aberystwyth University programmes, the Schools' Swap Shop, organised by the BBSRC School Regional Champions and Organic Centre Wales. Further details about the swap shop are available at IBERS: Information for schools and colleges where you can swap teaching ideas with IBERS' scientists, organise classes to visit IBERS or have IBERS visits in school and find out about other opportunities to engage and inspire young people in bioscience. For more information about IBERS' activities for schools visit the Organic Centre Wales and IBERS: Widening participation at Aberystwyth.
Institute of Food Research (IFR)
IFR offers a wide range of opportunities for schools, to find out more about what they do and how to get involved in dialogue with staff. The institute provides free educational visits through the Inside Science workshop for gifted and talented students and science camp for year 10 pupils. Each year the institute holds the Tallest Jelly competition at Norwich Forum and throughout the year staff go to schools and public events to talk with young people. In order to support teachers and careers staff the institute hosts a day of talks and tours to introduce the research conducted at the Norwich BioScience Institutes and the opportunities available to young people. For more information visit: IFR: Inspiring young science.
John Innes Centre (JIC)
JIC offers a wide range of opportunities for schools, to find out more about what they do and how to get involved in dialogue with staff. The institute provides free educational visits through their Insight day programme, Inside Science workshop for gifted and talented students and science camp for year 10 pupils. During the summer many labs host sixth formers through the Nuffield Foundation Science Bursaries and throughout the year staff go to schools and public events to talk with young people. For more information visit: JIC: Opportunities for schools.
The Pirbright Institute
The Pirbright Institute has a Farm Science Visitor Centre within its dairy at Compton, Berkshire. As well as the technology of milk production the primary activities are relevant to several Key Stage 2 topics, including Keeping Healthy, Life Cycles, and Micro-organisms. Secondary school activities include workshops on basic molecular biological techniques, and advice on A-level projects that involve critical analysis of scientific publications. Demonstrations are also taken to agricultural shows and science festivals to engage young people, farmers and the public. The Pirbright Institute: Engaging with school students and the public.
The Roslin Institute
The Roslin Institute aims to engage young people in their research and goals. Each year they provide around 15 school work experience placements that offer the opportunity to pupils to work alongside Institute scientists and gain experience of the laboratory environment, life science research and discover its applications in the global market. The institute also hosts a number of group visits for school students, provided as workshops designed to mirror and provide substance to curriculum based activities. The groups spend time engaging with institute scientists in discussions, debates and hands on activities all of which complement their particular area of interest. For more information visit: Roslin Institute: Outreach activities.
Rothamsted Research supports school science with both web-based resources and activities involving local schools. Visits to Rothamsted include activities such as a ‘Mini-beast Safari’ or ‘Fungus Foray’ in the Rothamsted manor house gardens and wood. Rothamsted also runs the Rothamsted Primary Science group. For more information about Rothamsted Research's activities for schools visit: Rothamsted: Schools.
North Wyke Research
North Wyke Research, part of Rothamsted Research, has held an annual Science Fair for primary school children since 1997. In 2011 Rothamsted Research at North Wyke was awarded first place for the National Science & Engineering Week Outstanding Contribution Award from the British Science Association. With a cash prize of £800 to put towards the next event along with BBSRC funding, the 2012 science fair had over 230 children attend over 3 days from 10 local Devon primary schools.
The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC)
TGAC has number of interactions with schools and sixth forms and engages young people through public events. The institute provides tours of the laboratories and half-day enhanced learning programmes which offer hands-on laboratory experience. Staff from the institute attend careers events at schools and sixth form colleges as well as forming partnerships with local schools through TSN and engaging young people as STEM ambassadors. For more information visit: TGAC: Public engagement.
The Teacher Scientist Network (TSN)
The TSN is a scheme that partners scientists from the Norwich Research Park (NRP), home of the John Innes Centre (JIC) and the Institute of Food Research (IFR), with science teachers in Norfolk. These long-term one-to-one partnerships enhance school science and help dispel the negative image of science and scientists.
“The scientist working in ‘partnership’ with a teacher, becomes a normal person, someone willing to talk to the pupils, work with them and help design their investigations and make the science ‘real’. For the teacher too, there are tremendous professional development opportunities.”
Dr Phil Smith, TSN