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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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