For Schools

General information on working with IRIS

There is no fee for participating in IRIS projects.

Get in touch with your IRIS point of contact or e-mail

Equipment is insured by IRIS. Schools are only liable for malicious damage.

There is no minimum or maximum size.

It is up to you. Some schools run our projects with the senior school, others have lower secondary students taking part.

One hour per week minimum is needed. However, it is often the case that the teacher helps to kick things off and then the students take it on and run with it, spending as much time as they want on it.

Schools choose an approach that suits them best. This ranges from after school or lunch time clubs, enrichment timetabled slots, STEM weeks or in appropriate lessons where the project content links to the curriculum.

Each project guide provides a list of relevant curriculum topics.

No. The general approach is that you will be given access to data to analyse or a loan of equipment to carry out experiments. There may be some specialist software required to do some analysis but anything we recommend is always free to access.

We provide resources and starter activities to explain the background to the topic and familiarise you with the data and operation of the equipment. Webinars are a good starting place for teachers and students. Separate project FAQs are also available.

Data is available via our secure data server. Once you have returned your signed agreement you are issued with a log in. This is for the use of the whole school and so can be shared with other teachers and students.

As an IRIS school you also have access to free software, including Tableau and ArcGIS. Full instructions on how to claim this can be found when you log in to the data server.

There are a wide range of resources available via our YouTube channel. These range from introductory films for some of our projects, example school talks from our conferences and recordings of webinar sessions providing more detailed information on our projects.

One of the key outcomes of any type of research is to communicate what you do in schools. This can be through writing a poster or giving a talk at an IRIS event, a science or education conference.

Opportunities for presenting either a poster or talk will be highlighted to you via the IRIS newsletter or other communications from my colleagues.

Students frequently submit their work as part of an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), Advanced Higher project, as a CREST award or to the Young Scientists Journal.

One aspect that we encourage schools to consider is publication of their research in a peer-reviewed journal. If this is something you would like to pursue, please arrange a time to discuss this with your IRIS contact.

In general IRIS maintains a library of work done by schools. This is held on the IRIS dataserver. The purpose of this is to gather together the work to date by schools so that others can build on what has been done so far.

We encourage you to submit examples of your students’ work to the library. This can be done via your IRIS contact or

Evaluation comes in a variety of forms and at the moment we use interviews with staff, focus groups and case studies with students and surveys to best understand the experiences of those who work with us.

Surveys are usually sent out at the beginning and end of projects – this allows us to explore how students have experienced the project e.g. career aspirations, attitudes towards science, soft skill development.

We try and keep the surveys brief and only use them when necessary – please take the time to complete these as they provide us with vital information

We also try to create case studies with students, these are completed through interview and we have some on the website. Please do let us know you have a student or group of students or teacher who you think would create a great case study and provide inspiration to others.

We are also interested in exploring attainment of students who participate in our research projects. One way we do this is to run content quizzes with cohorts of students – some of whom have participated in the project and others have not.

A key part of our evaluation is to provide opportunities for students and teachers to author or co-author papers that document their experiences and we are always interested to hear from students and teachers that would like to get involved e.g. physics pedagogy paper; biology pedagogy paper; student conference paper.

If you still want to be involved with IRIS, please contact us and inform us of the school you are moving to. We can then advise whether or not they are already signed up. If you are the only IRIS contact active in your school it would be very helpful to know who to contact following your change. To satisfy GDPR guidance we need permission from the replacement contact before we can add them to our database.

To get you started all we need is the signed agreement, everything else can follow at a later date, and for some projects the PID is not needed.

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