Students find out about life as a scientist

Students find out about life as a scientist

Students find out about life as a scientist

‘Meet a Bioscientist’ was the Public Engagement team’s flagship schools’ engagement event for 2022. For British Science Week, we spoke to over 900 young people across 15 schools and sixth forms about our research, careers in science, and what being a scientist is really like.

35 research and technical specialist staff took part in the event.  Members of all three of our research programmes – Epigenetics, Immunology and Signalling – took part, as did staff from four of our research facilities. Each participating research group or facility was paired with a school to deliver a short talk about their research area and career pathway. Some groups got creative with their presentations by including videos, quizzes or even a live microscope demonstration!

Almost all talks took place virtually, which allowed us to reach a greater number of students than in-person events such as visits to the Institute. Online events also make it easier for us to connect with schools for which transport to the Institute may be a barrier to engagement, including those from rural and underserved areas. However, we’re all agreed that we’re looking forward to welcoming schools and other public groups back to our beautiful campus soon!

Ian McGough giving a talk to students via Zoom

Each talk was followed by a Q&A where students could ask all their questions about the Institute and science careers.  We had a huge range of questions, from “Do you enjoy your job?” (Answer – yes!) to “How many test tubes have you broken?” (Answer – not too many, we do go through a lot of pipette tips though!)

The event was well-received, with one teacher commenting: “The scientists we met both gave excellent talks. They were informative, honest with their answers and gave an excellent overview into both confocal microscopy and the routes they took to become a research scientist. The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”  Another added that it was “so nice for the students to see that scientists are friendly, approachable people that started out just like them!”

The scientists who took part also enjoyed the opportunity to help inspire future scientists.  Some highlighted benefits to taking part, including:

  • Thinking about how to communicate and present to different audiences
  • Team-bonding and finding out more about others in their group
  • Pushing themselves out of their comfort zone

Overall, we’re delighted to have been able to engage with so many young people, including some in schools the Institute has never engaged with before.  These conversations have led to new insights, ideas and connections which we hope will continue long into the future.

Facts and figures from Meet a Bioscientist event 2022