Schools and young people:

SRC: Current Champions

Background information and contact details for our current Champions working around the UK can be found below:

East England
East Scotland
North West
South West
Wales
West Midlands
East Midlands
Yorkshire and the Humber
Greater London


East England

Dr Adélia de Paula adelia.depaula@rothamsted.ac.uk
Rothamsted Research – Agriculture and food security/bioscience for health

Dr Adelia de Paula - Rothamsted Research

Adélia runs the Rothamsted Research programme of school activities in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. The work involves primary to post-16 students and aims to support the school's curriculum as well inspiring students to understand and appreciate science.

Rothamsted Research has a strong commitment to young people through Open weekends, National exhibitions including the Royal Society Summer exhibition, hosting students with Nuffield Science Bursaries and delivering activities in schools.

Students will be able to find out about the research to tackle global challenges, such as; food security, bioenergy, carbon sequestration and sustainable agriculture.

Mr Michael Hinton michael.hinton@babraham.ac.uk
The Babraham Institute – Basic bioscience underpinning health

Mr Michael Hinton - Babraham Institute

Mike runs the Babraham Institute schools programme.

"We aim to inspire the next generation to consider science careers and stimulate an interest in the relevance of science to everyday life."

Events include an annual Schools' Day, Animals in Research workshops, an Applied Science Conference and after-school science clubs.

The annual Schools' Day enables around 100 GCSE and sixth form students to spend the day in Institute laboratories experiencing bioscience research underpinning health alongside 'real scientists'.

Animals in Research workshops for groups of around fifty year 9 or 10 students stimulate discussion around the ethical issues of using animals in basic and medical research. Using a variety of case studies high-lighting breakthroughs in healthcare Michael will engage young people in discussions on the ethics of animal research.

The Applied Science Conference provides an insight into the institute's research and health and safety topics relevant to the curriculum for sixth form students.

"The key to science outreach is transferring our excitement and enthusiasm for science to students, whether primary, secondary or beyond"

To maintain interest in science at the primary-secondary school transition, Michael will continue the interactive after-school science clubs for groups of ten to twenty year 7 and 8 students.

Dr Emily Angiolini emilyj.angiolini@tgac.ac.uk
The Genome Analysis Centre – Agriculture and food security

Dr Emily Angiolini - The Genome Analysis Centre

'How can genomics solve the issue of food security?'

Providing an introduction to food security and genomics tools, Emily will help teachers deliver this topic to secondary students through problem solving activities, discussions and debate. Emily will be supporting teachers, updating their knowledge of current research and technology as well as facilitating student visits to The Genome Analysis Centre and tours of the state of the art laboratories.

As The Genome Analysis Centre outreach programme manager Emily delivers workshops introducing electrophoresis, PCR, molecular biology and genomic techniques to secondary pupils and coordinates the work experience placements. She has established a summer school to give local sixth form students the chance to get some hands-on training in the lab as well as some up-to-date knowledge of technologies and techniques in use at the sequencing facility.

Emily is building relationships with local schools and supporting researchers at The Genome Analysis Centre to deliver activities in schools. She is also actively involved in organising events and delivering activities at Science Fairs, careers days and exhibitions such as Big Bang.

"The opportunities that we will offer will engage students, to get them thinking about what they learn in the curriculum in the context of the latest technologies and current research, how research can impact their lives and those of the future generations. It is vital that we reach out to those students who perhaps have not previously seen science as a career option for them, encourage them to think about science in the wider context and the possibilities that it offers."

Dr Philip Smith phil.smith@bbsrc.ac.uk
John Innes Centre – Agriculture and food security/industrial biotechnology and bioenergy/bioscience for health

Dr Philip Smith - John Innes Centre

Phil has been working with schools for thirteen years (initially as a partnered scientist during his PhD and post-doc) and has run the highly regarded science education charity, the Teacher Scientist Network (based at the John Innes Centre) since 2003.

Phil's role as a SRC will allow him to facilitate further partnerships between BBSRC funded researchers and local science teachers (bringing 'real-science' into the classroom, challenging stereotypes and aiding teacher confidence).

Phil also organises and delivers a high-quality cpd (continuing professional development) programme of master classes to bring high-school teachers up to date with current research in BBSRC strategic priority areas.

Phil has won numerous awards for his work including an MBE for services to science education in 2008, BBSRC science week awards and a Royal Society partnership grant.

Dr Samuel Fountain s.j.fountain@uea.ac.uk
University of East Anglia – Bioscience for health

Dr Samuel Fountain - University of East Anglia

Understanding and treating cardiovascular disease.

Samuel will be inspiring students to pursue a career in biomedical science by providing a platform for teaching, dialogue and discussion about basic principles, cutting-edge research and ethical considerations around the cardiovascular system in health and disease. There will be a particular emphasis on blood vessels and the blood that runs through them. Samuel will be working under a Research Councils UK School-University Partnership Initiative recently awarded to UEA and with partner secondary schools around Norfolk and Suffolk.

“Lifelong Health and Wellbeing is a BBSRC strategic priority and represents a significant scientific, clinical and economic challenge in the UK. Cardiovascular disease is a growing problem for the UK population and it is likely we all know somebody who has had a heart attack, stroke or suffers from diabetes. Current secondary school students may become the biomedical scientists of the future, helping to understand, diagnosis and treat cardiovascular disease.”

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East Scotland

Dr Nicola Stock nicola.stock@roslin.ed.ac.uk
The Roslin Institute – Agriculture and food security/bioscience for health

Dr Nicola Stock - Roslin Institute

Nicola runs The Roslin Institute's programme of public engagement, which includes work with schools from the local area and beyond.

"I aim to work with local high school teachers to develop an exciting schools programme for The Roslin Institute that complements the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and brings together researchers and school students to explore current science through dialogue and hands-on activities."

The Roslin Institute currently offers Institute visits to high school groups from the local area and further afield, occasional outreach visits to local primary and high schools and laboratory-based work experience placements for 16-18 year olds.

Working with teachers and CPD providers, Nicola aims to enhance the content and impact of The Roslin Institute's school activities and ensure that opportunities to engage with science are made available to young people from all backgrounds. The initial focus will be on dialogue activities around potentially controversial areas of bioscience research such as the use of animals in research and genetic modification, but the programme will also address areas of the biology curriculum that teachers find hard to teach due to a lack of resources or specific skills.

"Working with school groups is a great way to introduce researchers to the joys of public engagement and the resulting interactions with young people can prompt them to think about their work and its potential impact on society in new ways. As such I regard work with schools and young people as a key part of The Roslin Institute's public engagement strategy."

Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall n.r.stanleywall@dundee.ac.uk
University of Dundee – Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy/bioscience for health

Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall - University of Dundee

Nicola coordinates a biannual event for local school children and members of the public called “Magnificent Microbes”. This is held in conjunction with colleagues at the Dundee Science Centre. The event aims to provide high quality training for the scientists and hands-on interactive events for the visitors.

"I aim to encourage Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scientists to engage with the broader community to help them discover the wonderful world of microbiology.”

Scientists work in small teams to develop an activity that encourages the visitors to think about microbiology and the influence it has on our lives through a new perspective.

The event not only introduces visitors to the basic microbiology principles that underpin many biotechnology, health and bioenergy processes but allows them to interact directly with researchers.

Nicola has won several awards for her work including the Royal Society of Edinburgh Beltane Award in 2012.

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North West

Dr Mark Travis mark.travis-2@manchester.ac.uk
The University of Manchester – Bioscience for health

Dr Mark Travis - University of Manchester

Mark helps run an annual week-long interactive event for Key Stage 3 students from local inner city secondary schools to visit the University of Manchester and learn about biology research.

Students work in teams, led by a team mentor who may be young researchers doing their PhD or senior scientists.

The event begins with a tour of the laboratories, to experience what a working lab looks like, explore technologies used in research and meet the scientists at work.

Students then set about a series of tasks to learn about a specific biological topic directly related to research (e.g. the importance of DNA, how cells function, how mucus protects us). Students learn how our bodies work normally and how disease occurs when things go wrong (e.g. diseases causes by genetic mutation, uncontrolled cell proliferation/signalling).

The event not only introduces students to the basic biological principles important in health and disease, but allows them to work in teams and interact directly with research scientists.

"The students find the event stimulating and fun, and their opinions on science as a whole is favourably changed. After the event, feedback suggests students are more likely to engage with science learning at school, and to consider science as a future study/career option. This is especially important in inner city schools, which we directly target for our events."

Professor Amanda Bamford amanda.bamford@manchester.ac.uk
The University of Manchester – Agriculture and food security

Dr Amanda Bamford - University of Manchester

Amanda will be working with scientists from the Faculty of Life Sciences to develop and deliver a new exciting menu of school programmes at the University Botanical gardens for Key Stages 1 to 4 (Ages 5-16) for local inner city schools. The programme will include a range of curriculum linked practical workshops, worksheets and teacher resources.

Bringing a global perspective to the curriculum, especially in food security, crop production and plant diversity from around the world, the researchers will encourage schools to use the plants, facilities and opportunities offered by the Botanical Gardens and link with the Manchester Museum herbarium in interesting and innovative ways. The Botanical Gardens events programme will help to spark an interest in plant sciences research and science as a career.

"The University Botanical Gardens provides an ideal arena to expose school children to 'science in action' as they will see plants being grown outside and in greenhouses for research into areas such as drought tolerance, new biofuels, urban vegetation and alternative crops."

Amanda was a BBSRC public engagement coordinator for 8 years, working with numerous inner-city schools. She has received BBSRC, RCUK and Royal Society Partnership grant awards, and had her school engagement activities published in the Times Educational supplement. She has been involved in national events such as the Big Bang Manchester and runs frequent school visits to the University of Manchester laboratories.

Dr Sheena Cruickshank sheena.cruickshank@manchester.ac.uk
The University of Manchester – Bioscience for health

Dr Sheena Cruickshank - University of Manchester

Sheena helps run an annual interactive event for Key Stage 4 students from local inner city secondary schools to visit the University of Manchester and learn about research on the healthy gut and how it protects itself against foodborne pathogens and parasites. The event is based in laboratories and students work in groups alongside research scientists learning about everything from mucus to basic microscopy.

Sheena also works with local community groups and works to raise awareness about food hygiene and the significance of gut worm infections globally.

“The students and people I meet at our events really take the opportunity to engage with the scientists and ask us incredibly astute questions. To see people from such diverse backgrounds get excited about our research is incredibly rewarding.”

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South West

Professor Lindy Holden-Dye lmhd@soton.ac.uk
Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton – Agriculture and food security

Professor Lindy Holden-Dye - Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton

Lindy and her colleagues at Southampton are engaged in an outreach project that brings hands-on research into the classroom. They are working with teachers to assemble a set of resources that will give students the chance to carry out their own experiments and in the process learn more about current research in the life sciences. To highlight the importance of BBSRC funded research into food security this project will provide year 10 pupils with the chance to find out more about nematode worms, major pests of livestock and crops. The students will work with the popular genetic model organism C. elegans, a microscopic translucent soil-dwelling worm which is non-parasitic, in addition to parasitic species that are safe for classroom study. They will observe worms hatch, feed, mate and devise simple experiments to test behaviour. A website will list background information and links to current research in the field.

”I hope the students will experience at least some of the excitement I get from doing experimental research - and might be inspired that this is the career for them.”

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Wales

Dr Fiona Corke fic5@aber.ac.uk
IBERS, Aberystwyth University – Agriculture and food security/industrial biotechnology and bioenergy/bioscience for health

Fiona Corke

Fiona will be broadening the IBERS engagement with young people activities out to a wider audience, such as Wales Young Farmers Clubs (WYFC). Young Farmers will be visiting IBERS to hear about the research and see the facilities. This will include tours of the new state of the art National Plant Phenomics Centre, talks about the usefulness of animal genomics, biofuels and the diversity of plant derived products, demonstrations and hands on activities learning the techniques that underlie plant breeding. Activities will be delivered bilingually and tie-in with national events including National Science and Engineering week and Fascination of Plants Day.

In addition to events at IBERS, Fiona will be taking IBERS science to The Royal Welsh Show and other WYFC County events.

Fiona said "Feedback from a recent visit made by two WYFC clubs to IBERS said ‘it was the best educational visit they’d made, as it engaged all ages'".

For more information visit: IBERS: Information for schools and colleges.

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West Midlands

Dr Jeremy Pritchard j.pritchard@bham.ac.uk
University of Birmingham – Agriculture and food security/bioscience for health

Dr Jeremy Pritchard - University of Birmingham

Jeremy organises seminars, tours and practicals at the University of Birmingham and in local schools for both pupils and teachers. He is involved in encouraging wider participation and continually developing new and innovative ways of engaging students. He also runs the practical challenges for the BBSRC sponsored Biology Olympiad held each year in the School of Biosciences as well as the Biology Big Quiz.

"At the University of Birmingham we run a range of activities in the School of Biosciences that address the increasing disengagement of the science taught at Schools with the needs of the policy and research community. Previously BBSRC has funded a range of activities run across the West Midlands, including schools visits by our lecturers. Schools quizzes, visits and activities are held on campus across a range of subject areas from medical aspects of health to evolution and ecology, with over thirty-five events in 2010."

Jeremy has developed interactive lectures that reflect modern molecular and physiological scientific research approaches focusing on dynamic aspects of plants, (Plants and Pressure) and human evolution (Am I an Ape?), aimed to present the modern context of plant biology and human health issues respectively.

Jeremy will be training researchers across the UK to deliver a flexible lecture resource 'The Organism Olympics' he has developed to coincide with the 2012 Olympics.

"The opportunity for researchers to interact with teachers in a two way dialogue can provide a greater understanding of teacher needs and improve the quality of resources and activities delivered."

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East Midlands

Dr Susannah Lydon susannah.lydon@nottingham.ac.uk
The University of Nottingham – Agriculture and food security

Dr Susannah Lydon - University of Nottingham

Susie is the Outreach Officer for the Centre for Plant Integrative Biology, in the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham. She will be supporting students in Year 12 and 13 in local secondary schools in undertaking an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) with a Global Food Security theme. This will raise awareness of Global Food Security and of the BBSRC-funded research in this area which takes place within the School of Biosciences at Sutton Bonington Campus. Students who decide to undertake an EPQ with a food security theme will increase their knowledge and understanding, and may decide to pursue further study or a career in this field.

Susie runs a range of schools and public engagement activities within the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham. She co-ordinates the Summer School in Plants and Crops for Year 11 students and co-organises the campus-wide Science@Sutton Bonington open day.

“Explaining the research that we do at Sutton Bonington, and the reasons why we do it, is important. It’s great to be able to get involved with local schools in a way which will also enhance students’ opportunities in the future.”

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Yorkshire and the Humber

Dr Sean Sweeney sean.sweeney@york.ac.uk
The University of York – Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy/bioscience for health

Dr Sean Sweeney - University of York

Sean will be delivering practical workshops in the principles of neurobiology to A-level students.

Sean has developed an innovative teaching practical that enables the investigation of the nervous system without carrying out dissections.

The workshops explore the principals of synaptic transmission by measuring rates of paralysis when applying heat to 'temperature-sensitive' and 'wild type' Drosophila flies. Students also investigate sensory function using an assay of heat avoidance in Drosophila maggots.

This practical introduces students to important areas of neurobiology and reinforces substantial parts of the curriculum relating to the scientific method, experimental design, calibration and practical laboratory skills.

Professor Ian Graham ian.graham@york.ac.uk
CNAP, The University of York – Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy

Professor Ian Graham - CNAP, University of York

Ian is director of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) in the Department of Biology. Over the past 12 years CNAP has developed a considerable research base in biorenewables and industrial biotechnology. He will engage with schools to offer outreach activities in this area and will also involve the Biorenewables Development Centre at York: a not-for-profit company which provides industry with new processes to convert plants and biowastes into high value products.

Activities will include a mini-symposium on biorenewables and industrial biotechnology for around 120 secondary school pupils – offering a free, day-long programme of talks and interactive activities including practical tasks and dialogue/ debate to offer an appreciation of the science and processes used in industrial biotechnology and the wide range of applications.

In addition, new activities to demonstrate principles of industrial biotechnology will be developed for schools visits by CNAP scientists.

“We are looking forward to working with schools to demonstrate the importance and relevance of industrial biotechnology research to the next generation of consumers and scientists.”

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Greater London

Dr Julie Keeble julie.keeble@kcl.ac.uk
King’s College London – Bioscience for health

Dr Julie Keeble - King's College London

Julie is an in vivo pharmacologist with the Centre for Integrative Biomedicine at King’s College London and has been involved in public engagement and outreach activities for several years.

Julie’s aim as an SRC is to increase young people’s understanding of the necessity for the use of animals in research through the use of Daphnia (water fleas).

A Daphnia’s heart is clearly visible through a standard microscope and the heart rate can be counted using a simple clicker technique. Daphnia respond to several cardioactive drugs by increasing or decreasing heart rate. During a series of talks and experiments related to drug discovery, young people will use Daphnia to test the pharmacological activity of various drugs in a whole body system.

“It is extremely important that young people are aware of the use and necessity of using animals in research. Our workshops aim to inform a future generation of potential scientists about the fascinating nature of basic science and concomitantly increase their understanding of the use of animals in research by using Daphnia in a context which is relevant to their studies.”

Miss Lisa Pritchard lpritchard@rvc.ac.uk
Royal Veterinary College – Bioscience for health

Miss Lisa Pritchard - Royal Veterinary College

Scientist for a day!!

Lisa will offer pupils aged 16+ the opportunity to visit the Royal Veterinary College and act as a scientist for a day. Pupils will get the chance to perform histological stains and learn how cancer can be diagnosed, extract DNA from fruit and take a look at how lab bench science is used in the process to drug discovery. A range of scientists at the college will also be on hand for an interactive session on science careers.

For younger pupils, Lisa will run an after school club looking at common illnesses such as diabetes and cancer in more detail. Pupils will design their own experiments around this subject and explore experimental design, ethics and finally present their work at their own mini scientific conference. Pupils will also learn about the trials and tribulations of therapeutic target and the road to drug discovery in an interactive board game.

“As a teenager I didn’t have the opportunity to experience science other than in a school environment. Being dyslexic myself I think it is very important to make science easily available and be aware that pupils do not all learn in the same way.”

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