Inspiring young scientists in York

A new science outreach centre at the University of York aims to enthuse visitors of all ages about modern science

Set to open on 14 May 2014, the York Science Outreach Centre (YSOC) will allow the University’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) departments, in collaboration with the Widening Participation Team, to show learners the frontiers of sciences and to publicise the exciting research work carried out at York.

Equipped with modern laboratories and able to cater for up to 100 visitors at any one time, the new centre will provide space for a wide range of activities for primary and secondary schools, sixth-form and further education colleges, and the general public.

The new centre, housed in the Department of Chemistry, is part of the University’s commitment to providing high quality science outreach. Open all year, it will include a dedicated laboratory space, together with an instrument/analysis laboratory and a preparation room.

Dr Jane Grenville, the University of York’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “Our founding Vice-Chancellor, Lord James, used to say ‘Send me your brightest and your best’. We still aspire to that, but those students do not all have the same chances. This facility aims to level the playing field by encouraging those students who belong to the category of ‘most able, less likely’ to get the lab experience and the qualifications they need to go on to top flight universities such as York.”

YSOC will be overseen by a Management Group, chaired by Professor Sir John Holman, with members from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Education, Environment, and Physics, and the University’s Widening Participation Team.

Professor Holman, an Emeritus Professor in the University’s Department of Chemistry, said: “The new Centre offers a fantastic opportunity to introduce the young – and young at heart – to the frontiers of science. Our aim is to inspire a new generation of scientists by presenting STEM subjects in new and engaging ways.”

The Chemistry CIEC Promoting Science group will coordinate and administer the facility, which can be booked by University of York staff for any STEM related outreach activity. The Centre’s launch on the afternoon of Wednesday, 14 May will include tours of the outreach laboratories for University staff.

More information on the York Science Outreach Centre is available at www.york.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/outreach/outreach-centre.