Three new regions to benefit from £3.6 million chemistry initiative
17 August 2006
Pupils across the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the South East are to be included in the £3.6m initiative Chemistry for our Future, led by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Chemistry for our Future has four main aims:
- To boost uptake of university chemistry from traditionally under-represented pupils through the project Chemistry: The Next Generation (C: TNG)
- To get university academics into schools and teachers into universities, to exchange information to benefit their students.
- To find out whether current university courses meet the needs of students and employers, and develop any necessary changes.
- To make better use of laboratory equipment in universities - for example allowing local schools to use the state-of-the-art equipment there.
The project will also increase awareness of the opportunities offered by a career in the chemical sciences, and encourage all involved to share best practice.
Pupils from the East Midlands enjoy a molecular modelling demonstration at the Charnwood AstraZeneca site as part of the Chemistry : The Next Generation pilot
The RSC successfully bid for a grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) - after a successful pilot in three areas of England (East Midlands, London, North West). Part of the £3.6 million will be used to continue to fund projects in these pilot regions.
The C:TNG part of the scheme will see pupils visiting universities and using state-of-the-art equipment in problem-solving tasks. They will also find out more about the opportunities a degree in the chemical sciences can open to them.
The programme will also include workshops for students in which they will meet dynamic young hands-on chemists from industry, aiming to dispel any preconceived ideas the students and their teachers may have about stereotypical chemists.
To maximise the benefits of the scheme, as many schools as possible will be included in the two-year run of activities.
The RSC will then bid for a further £24m in February 2008 so that Chemistry for our Future can be extended across the whole country for a further six years - which will take in the remaining regions of the South West, West Midlands and East of England.
Dr Kate Burrell, the RSC's national manager for C:TNG said: "The Royal Society of Chemistry is determined to open the doors of a career in the chemical sciences to every pupil in the country - and C:TNG will help those students that are traditionally under-represented to see what chemistry can offer them, and what they can offer chemistry."
She added: "Over 10,000 students have taken part in activities delivered to the first three regions to date, and feedback from these students suggests that around 70 per cent of them are now more likely to consider going on to higher education to do a degree in the chemical sciences."
Regional co-ordinators for each of the three new roll-out regions will have their appointments finalised in the coming weeks - each will be based at one of the universities in their respective region.
John Selby, acting director of widening participation at HEFCE, said: "The RSC has played a big part in shaping our thinking on how we approach strategically important but vulnerable science subjects."
And referring to the successful pilots in East Midlands, the North-West and London, Mr Selby said: "We needed to be able to connect with academics and students, and this is exactly what the RSC did for us."
Contact and Further Information
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7440 3322 or +44 (0) 7770 431013