The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) develops opportunities for secondary students and post-16s from all backgrounds to participate in authentic research while in school.

In numbers

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200+Schools involved
250+Students taking part in IRIS research
93%of teachers surveyed felt IRIS projects encouraged and motivated students in science
89%of IRIS students surveyed said they want to study science at university
6/8Helps schools to meet 6 of the 8 Gatsby Benchmarks
80+Universities and institutions involved in IRIS projects

Our Vision
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We collaborate with leading institutions and universities, opening doors for young scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.

Our aim is to unlock young students’ passion for STEM subjects and unleash their desire to ask questions that have never been asked before and then, answer them. In short, we:

  • provide students opportunities to participate in cutting-edge STEM research while at school
  • provide teachers and technicians with the support they need to contribute to, and mentor science research with their students
  • promote and facilitate sustained research collaborations between schools and universities
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Why research is important


Students can make valuable contributions to the scientific community if included in the culture of research.


The culture of research also enriches young people’s lives for the following reasons:

  • It allows students to experience a subject, see how theories work in practice.
  • Real research unlocks young people’s passion for STEM subjects. Past students say IRIS piqued their interest in a certain subject – whether it be behavioral science, chemistry or physics – propelling them to pursue their current academic and professional paths.
  • The research process requires students to learn new skills, including data gathering and analysis.
  • Taking part in research develops critical thinking.
  • Research encourages creativity, rather than accepting the facts what happens if we do this?
  • Working with peers develops team working and communications skills and builds self-confidence.

Aspects of science can benefit from people thinking freely, laterally and outside the box. Teenagers are free thinkers, and when given

responsibility, they rise to

it in an inspiring way

Becky ParkerIRIS’ founder

IRIS has further fuelled my interest in science, and improved my understanding of what a profession in science might be like.  

IRIS student