Education and Outreach Activities

The Royal Society of Chemistry organises and supports a broad range of activities to enhance the public awareness, and promote a positive image, of the chemical sciences. These activities include programmes of public lectures and demonstrations, exhibitions, science festivals and open days and RSC initiatives such Chemistry WeekTop of the BenchChemistry at Work and the Chemical Landmarks scheme in which Local Sections play a leading role.

Chemistry Week

Chemistry Week is a celebration of the chemical sciences held in November, which historically occurs every two years.

Top of the Bench

Top of the Bench is a national competition run by the RSC for 14-16 year old students. 

The competition starts in the RSC Local Sections where competition heats are organised for schools in the local area to select a team to represent the Local Section in the UK final. 

Teams of students should consist of two students from Year 9, one from Year 10 and one from Year 11 (Scottish equivalent is one student from S2, two from S3 and one from S4). The selection period is usually during the autumn term around October-November time and the selected school team is nominated in early December.

The format of the heats is not fixed and allows Local Sections to run their competition in a way that is appropriate for their Section resources. Local Sections are encouraged to allow as many schools as possible the opportunity to take part in the heats. A resource pack has been put together to encourage participation in this event. This can be found online. 

Further information can be found in the handbook document.

Resource Packs  Members only restricted content

Information packs available to all RSC members providing details on how to run specific events and hands-on activities.

Outreach Fund

Our Outreach Fund provides financial support to individuals and organisations in order to enable them to run chemistry-based events and activities for public audiences. Through the fund we can support our members, and other advocates, to engage with different audiences, and provide people with an entry point into the chemical sciences.

Through the Outreach Fund, we aim to encourage and support the development of projects that:

  • raise awareness of the place of chemistry in people's everyday lives, especially those not already interested in chemistry,
  • and/or develop the science communication skills of people who are already highly trained in chemistry.

The Outreach Fund is split into three categories:

  • Small grants - up to £2,000
  • Medium grants - between £2,000 and £10,000
  • Large grants - between £10,000 and £50,000

This means that we can fund everything from a one-off event, all the way up to programmes of activity that span multiple years.

Chemistry at Work

Chemistry at Work events offer school students the opportunity to appreciate the place of chemistry in everyday life and the world of work, with particular emphasis on what is happening in their local area. They aim to show a positive image of the chemical sciences and to present them as exciting, interesting and wealth-creating activities that are worth considering as the basis of a career. 

Funding is available from Chemistry at Work when required (conditions apply). In some areas Chemistry at Work events also receive extra funding with an additional contribution direct from the Local Section funds.  

Further information on how to nominate a landmark can be found in the handbook document.

Chemical Landmarks

The National Chemical Landmarks programme commemorates and celebrates historical sites around the UK where important chemical breakthroughs have taken place. It is an RSC initiative to commemorate, emphasise and awaken public interest in historic developments in the chemical sciences. 

Chemical Landmarks are awarded to recognise sites of chemical discovery or development. Nominated sites should meet both the following criteria:

  • Historical significance– The site has seen a development in the chemical sciences that has made a significant contribution to the health, wealth or quality of life of the nation. 
  • Public visibility– The Chemical Landmark plaque should be mounted in as publicly visible a space as possible, giving those without a background in the chemical sciences an insight into its significance in their everyday lives. 

Further information on how to nominate a landmark can be found in the handbook document.

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Education and Outreach Activities
This section includes information about our education and outreach activities with with our member networks can engage and details of the Outreach Fund.
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Contact and Further Information

Outreach Team