Pioneering science outreach initiative surpasses 500th request milestone
A pioneering initiative to support excellence in practical science education has seen over 500 schools and colleges sign up to use the free service - thousands of samples, synthesised by students as part of their studies, have been submitted and analysed using modern laboratory techniques.
Analytical and chemistry research company RLC-Lab – which is based on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks – teamed up with the University to promote the initiative to schools and colleges teaching A-level Chemistry and BTEC Science.
Dr Mark Jones, director RLC-lab, explains “Most schools and colleges have limited opportunity to use modern laboratory techniques as part of their practical science lessons. Topics such as chromatography and spectroscopy are an integral part of the science syllabus, but for most students, this is limited to a paper exercise only. The free service gives teachers and students access to the real thing, bringing the theory alive with real data generated from their samples.”
“Partnering with Loughborough University, with a shared vision about the importance of outreach and engaging with schools, has been a key factor in the successful launch of the service,” he concluded.
The service – which is supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry and Loughborough University – has received a highly positive response from schools throughout the UK. Each registered school is sent sample vials and return packaging. When the samples are returned the analysis is completed and data reported, typically within 48 hours. Each school has a unique login account that teachers and students can use to view and download their data.
Professor Steve Rothberg, the University’s Pro Vice Chancellor (Enterprise), said: “Loughborough University is committed to supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in schools. I’m so excited that this innovative project has achieved such an important milestone but there’s still a long way to go. I want every A-level Chemistry class in the country to be accessing this excellent free service.”
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Notes for editors
Press release reference number: PR 14/11
RLC-Lab, a privately held company established in 2006, provides consultancy and contract analytical and chemistry research to the pharmaceutical and fine chemical sectors. In addition it conducts in-house research into novel peptidomimetic chemistry and bespoke microfluidic devices. The company is based in the Innovation Centre on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks.
About Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks (LUSEP)
Situated on the University campus, LUSEP accommodates a variety of organisations in the electronics, telecoms, energy, pharmaceutical, software, sports governance and innovation, and transport sectors. It currently provides 63,000m² floor space for 40 organisations, a conference facility and many of the University’s specialist research facilities which can support organisations without in-house provision.Plans are now in place for ambitious expansions to create up to 200,000m² of floor space for up to 6,000 people within in 15-20 years. The expansion is starting with an 8 hectare site that will include a range of sole or shared occupancy developments, purpose-built to organisations’ requirements, ranging from 1,800 – 18,500 sq m and plans are at an advanced stage for the first new buildings, including a new Innovation Centre.
About Loughborough University
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.
It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year title in 2008-09 and has been named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.