Science Insights

Science Insights moves online

This year Science Insights took place online in response to the global pandemic.

Each year Science Insights welcomes 40 Scottish High School pupils to the University of Edinburgh's College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine for a week-long work experience programme. The aim of Science Insights is to give the pupils a true insight into the work and life of research scientists and technicians. Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the Science Insights team were determined to find a way to keep the programme running while still offering pupils the opportunity to meet and discuss science with research staff and students. 

Video: Science insights celebration video 2020
Images and videos created by Science Insights Online 2020 pupils.

Having previously been concerned that online I wouldn’t get the same opportunities to meet new people, the online platforms we used allowed us to connect with other participants and I’ve come out with many new friends, some of which I’ve already gotten the chance to meet and I hope to be able to meet the rest in the near future.

Evie Tynan, SIO2020 Participant
Science Insights Online participant
Evie Tynan, Science Insights Online 2020 participant

After several months of reconfiguration, and applications from young people across Scotland, Science Insights Online began on 27 July 2020 with an increased capacity of 60 pupils. The team worked hard to retain as much of the experience of the in-person programme as possible, including daily opportunities to meet practising researchers and talk to them about their work. In addition, each pupil was assigned to a team of 10 mentored by a member of the SIO team. This approach seems to have been a success. 

The 60 SIO participants had the opportunity to meet with 50 scientists and technicians from all six research institutions within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. They participated in activities themed around 'Science Behind the Scenes';  'Ethics & Science' and 'Science Skills' that included

  • Virtual tours of a range of scientific facilities 
  • Presentations, workshops, and discussions on topics including research ethics, the use of animals in research and careers in science
  • Opportunities for online group chats and Q&As with current University of Edinburgh students and researchers
  • Skills session to help with future university applications 

The 2020 programme received a record-breaking 285 applications from all areas of Scotland, and their high standard really impressed the team, who adapted the programme so that all applicants had the chance to join in with webinar events on the first and last day of the programme on the themes of 'Studying Science - Science is for Everyone' and 'Science in Action - Tackling Covid-19'. 

I learned so much, not just about different scientific areas but also navigating a science career, which you don’t often get at school. It was a truly amazing experience and I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to take part.

Evie Tynan, SIO2020 Participant

As ever, the week was rounded off with contributions from the Science Insights participants, this year on the theme 'Science is for Everyone'. The results have been compiled into a video to celebrate Science Insights Online 2020 shown above. 

Story by Puck deRoos