The Faculty of Life Sciences was central to a recent successful bid for funding from Research Councils UK (RCUK). As part of a University wide programme, the Faculty will play a key part in the pioneering School-University Partnerships Initiative, an RCUK campaign which aims to introduce young people from diverse backgrounds to cutting-edge research.
As one of only twelve institutions to succeed in their application, the University will receive a share of £3.5 million funding. RCUK hope that this cash injection will help to raise the aspirations of the young people involved, leading them to further study and success in their future lives.
As part of the University’s involvement Faculty staff and researchers will run a Life Sciences Summer School for Teachers. Teachers at schools and colleges will get a rare opportunity to update their knowledge on current research techniques as they undertake lab tours, hands-on practical work, and exclusive seminars. These experiences should equip teachers with the skills and information to confidently use contemporary research in the classroom and encourage research skills in their learners.
Many of the young people involved will come from groups currently under-represented at university, such as those in receipt of free school meals, those with experience of local authority care, and disabled pupils. Discussing the initiative, David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said:
“Maintaining a good supply of scientists and researchers is vital to our economy and society, but to do this we need to draw talent from as wide a pool as possible. That is why the School-University Partnerships Initiative is so important.”