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27th June 2014 at 01:00

Enterprising ideas for school science

The very first Schools' Innovation and Enterprise event took place at BioCity Scotland in Lanarkshire last month, organised by the University of Edinburgh and funded by Skills Development Scotland. It was a unique and successful day.

BioCity is a hub for scientists who have business ideas and need highly equipped laboratory spaces to develop them into new medicines or medical devices. More than 150 pupils from 11 schools across Scotland attended the event, participating in a variety of workshops associated with life sciences. Pupils got hands-on experience of practical activities including spectroscopy, innovative food labelling, synthetic tissue engineering and DNA extraction, while learning about novel research in genetics and drug development using stem cells.

Teachers and pupils were informed about innovation and enterprise in life sciences by a variety of companies - in addition to providing CPD for teachers, a key feature of the event was to enhance partnerships and skills development to support schools with new Curriculum for Excellence chemistry and biology courses.

I believe that getting pupils and teachers to work with scientists who are developing new ideas as a career is motivational and useful. The feedback on the event has been excellent and suggests that this model can be applied across Scotland, to promote careers not just in science but in other sectors of business and industry, too.

Dr Margaret Ritchie

Education coordinator for Scotland, Royal Society of Chemistry

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