01 11

School University partnership initiative gathering

On November 3rd a group of students and I waited somewhat nervously to present to the Research Council UK's Schools University Partnership Initiative conference. The audience was made of teachers and academics involved in developing partnerships between Schools and Universities. The Institute for Research in Schools aims to make partnerships happen across the country for science in order to empower young people to contribute and be part of the scientific community. Robert Appleby was first up explaining about the Myelin Basic Protein Project run at Simon Langton which looks at the degradation of the myelin sheath and collaborates with the University of Kent. He explained how the Wellcome Trust was now funding seven school university partnerships where schools are researching an area of biomedical science in a genuine way to contribute to biomedical research. This model of school university partnership is fantastic and Robert showed the benefits in his clear, inspiring and enthusiastic talk. We need to be able to scale this model to many more schools. Anna Evans and Caitlin Cooke had a different story and a different approach. They are interested in Dark Matter and managed to work with a wonderful past student now doing a PhD and produce some fantastic results. It was clear from their talk that they had become part of the physics community and now saw themselves continuing in that in the future.

It was the first time the SUPI gathering as it's called, had had students contributing. They made a brilliant case for engaging young people as scientists and certainly started the conference with such energy and optimism.

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