Science in Schools
Schools' Science Day
Sixth Form Conferences
Researcher in Residence
Bioscience Boot Camp
Royal Society Exhibition
Public Engagement Training
The Institute is committed to the development and provision resources to complement and enhance school science. We have increased the number and depth of interactions with schools in recent years, strengthening the scope of existing relationships and creating more sustainable partnerships. In particular we are creating an improved adult outreach programme, incorporating the socio-economic and ethical dimension of biomedical research. Our strategy is to deliver events for all ages and abilities and communicate that science is for all students not just achieving high potential STEM graduates. However, we have responded to request to deliver events for Gifted & Talented students and, following feedback from 6th formers, designed new events to provide further laboratory experience (e.g. Bioscience Bootcamp) and opportunities to interact with research scientists to assist decisions about their careers.
We have designed an exciting and informative programme of events for primary schools, secondary schools and regional colleges including: Teachers' Open Evenings; visits to schools to give short presentations and run experiments that complement the National Curriculum; events designed to inspire students to consider a wide range of careers in science, as well as visits to our Institute. Institute scientists and PhD students work with teachers to develop projects, give talks, demonstrate laboratory techniques and host visits to their laboratories.
We are a partner of the Cambridge Biologists network, established to enable school biology teachers to interact both with each other and other organisations offering outreach programmes and teaching resources to foster productive links between all members of the biological community in Cambridgeshire. Institute scientists and PhD students are working with teachers to develop projects, give talks and seminars, demonstrate laboratory techniques and host pupil visits and work experience placements in their laboratories. Such interactions have increased substantially since 2005; we now deliver 15-20 events each year to over 40 secondary schools/6th forms across the East of England, London and beyond, up from an average of 3 events plus ad hoc visits to 15 local schools in 2005.
Recent secondary school and 6th form events have included conferences and workshops exploring the ethical issues confronting research scientists, after-school science clubs, a Bioscience Boot Camp and a conference for A level Applied Science students. Scientists give talks to students both at the Institute and in the classroom.
We run an annual Schools’ Day at the Babraham Institute for GCSE and 6th form students. This involves hands-on activities and interaction with scientists, bringing a new dimension to Science in Schools and inspiring students to consider a science-based career path. Since 2005 several Babraham scientists have signed up to the ‘Researchers in Residence’ scheme, two are taking part in 2011 at Netherhall School.
Recognising that science is an international language with global collaborations at the core of research, we have recently engaged with young international 6th form groups such as the London International Youth Science Forum (2009 and 2010)
‘Real Life, Real Science’ is the Foundation and Primary School Programme. Initiated in 2004, the programme was fuelled by the success of scientists' talks and practical demonstrations at three local primary schools and built on long-standing experience assisting with science lessons at Babraham Primary School. We have developed several resource packs which enable different scientists to demonstrate subjects such as ‘What is a Scientist?’, ‘Blood & Circulation ’ and ‘Digestion & Health’ to local schools. Our school liaison programme continues to be supported by the BBSRC School Regional Champions scheme.
An objective of government is to increase the attractiveness of science careers to young people. Our work experience programme for young scientists is flourishing; each summer the Institute opens its doors to 6th formers, undergraduates and Master’s students, offering valuable insights into biomedical research through short research projects.
In 2006, four 6th formers awarded bursaries from the Nuffield Foundation, worked in the Signalling Laboratory, where scientists are studying how cells communicate with each other to better understand medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart failure, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. In both 2007 and 2008, six students carried out projects at the Babraham Research Campus (some in companies located on the Campus) and in 2009, four 6th form students undertook projects funded by Nuffield Foundation Bursaries.
In 2010 we were pleased to welcome Kate Champion from Impington International 6th Form College, who spent six weeks working with Prof. Michael Wakelam’s research group, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. After her placement, Kate said, "It has been inspiring to have this opportunity to experience what ‘Science’ is really like in the stimulating environment of The Babraham Institute. The enthusiasm of so many brilliant people who are passionate about their research has rubbed off on me. I feel my placement gave me a taste of both the wonderful process of discovery, and the frustration of experiments not as expected that fuels the desire to investigate further. It was been a transforming experience for me. Before doing my placement, I was planning on studying medicine, but the first hand experience of working in a laboratory setting has convinced me to pursue a career in biomedical research instead. The placement has put into context what I have learned at 6th form, and I have returning to college with a renewed enthusiasm for my studies. I’m so glad that I had this opportunity; I could not have spent my summer in a better way".
Students receiving prizes from Sir Michael Berridge (left), after presenting their work at a regional meeting to celebrate the Nuffield Foundation’s 6th Form bursary scheme, held at the Babraham Institute in October 2007.
Further information about the Nuffield Foundation's Summer Bursary scheme for 6th formers is available at
Dr Claire Cockcroft
Head, External Relations
Contact by email
Exchange & Engagement Team
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Babraham Institute - Babraham Research Campus - Cambridge - United Kingdom