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Online scheme puts pupils in touch with scientists

Schools across Scotland receive virtual visits from scientists at the Roslin Institute.

Lindsay Jarvis (technician) talking about her job as a technician and showing the different media she prepares to culture bacter
Technician Lindsay Jarvis demonstrates the preparation of bacteria culture.

Almost 2,500 pupils from across Scotland have benefited from an online scheme in which they can meet scientists and learn about their work.

Some 13 scientists at the Roslin Institute have participated in the popular programme, Meet A Roslin Scientist, which is aimed at pupils from P6 to S6 and hosted by the Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre (EBSOC).

The sessions give school pupils the opportunity to learn about the work of scientists and give insight into careers in science.

Pupils submit questions beforehand and can ask additional questions during the 40-minute sessions, which include a live demonstration.

Increased reach

Schools events would normally take place at EBSOC, with school classes travelling to the campus, taking part in a practical workshop and speaking to scientists in person.

Owing to Covid-19, schools now engage virtually. This format has allowed EBSOC events to reach pupils in 21 of the 32 local authority areas in Scotland.

The online format has enabled access for schools which are in rural areas or far from Edinburgh and for multiple classes to participate in a session.

Pupils read the scientist’s profile, watch a short video and submit questions before the sessions and a live video feed allows students to see scientists demonstrate practical and computational work linked to their research.

The sessions offer scientists a chance to build skills in public engagement, as well as a way to communicate about their research to a bigger audience.

It would be great to keep online sessions in the future, our school is in the Highlands and would never be able to visit the Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre. Our pupils were very engaged throughout the session and it helped ignite a spark in science in them.

P6/7 teacherCromarty Primary School

Thanks so much, we liked learning about your role, especially how bioinformatics worked in real life.

PupilGrangemouth High School

Thank you so much for the session this afternoon – my little group of kids loved it. One of them said it was the highlight of their day and that they now want to be a scientist!

TeacherSt Thomas’ Primary School

 Meet a Roslin Scientist has enabled us to connect schools with real-life research at the Roslin Institute, despite the current restrictions, and that it has also extended the reach of our engagement programme across Scotland has been a wonderful bonus. Online engagement is here to stay for the Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre!

Dr Nicola StockPublic Engagement with Research Manager, Roslin Institute

 We have had PhD students, post-docs, technicians and group leaders taking part. They have all thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have often been surprised by the quality and thoughtfulness of the questions submitted by the pupils. Many of the questions showed a real understanding of their research and asked some challenging and though provoking questions.

Jayne QuoianiEducation & Engagement Officer, Roslin Institute

** The Roslin Institute receives strategic investment funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and it is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. **

Related links

Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre

Meet a Roslin Scientist

Interviews with our scientists