Unit hosts school pupils for a third year of STEM placement scheme

Unit hosts school pupils for a third year of STEM placement scheme

In2scienceUK student Taklima gets stuck into neuroanatomy research at the MRC BNDU.

Over two weeks in July and August, the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit again hosted school pupils enrolled on an innovative work-experience placement scheme that was organised in partnership with the charity in2scienceUK.

The placement scheme was tailored for pupils from local state-funded schools to support their progress into university degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). During their time in the Unit, the pupils worked alongside Unit scientists and received personalised mentoring to gain a wide variety of practical experiences as well as to learn more about key concepts and challenges in neuroscience, medical research, and the use of animals in scientific procedures. In a series of integrated workshops with in2scienceUK, the pupils also received guidance on university applications, wider information about STEM careers, and training in transferable skills. The pupils recorded their experiences and progress in blogs and images.

The STEM work-experience placement scheme was pioneered in Oxford by the Unit in 2016, and was then successfully rolled out across the wider University in 2017. Building on these achievements, this year’s scheme extended to over 50 pupils, hosted in labs across eleven Departments and two Divisions at the University.

Deputy Director Professor Peter Magill commented “Over the fortnight of activities, it was inspiring to see the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the pupils, their mentors, and other Unit members. Working with our partners at in2scienceUK, we have again delivered a range of experiences that set a high standard for engagement. We are thrilled by the continued growth of the scheme in Oxford; to progress from hosting 5 pupils to over 50 pupils in just 3 years is remarkable. Engaging local school pupils continues to be a priority for the Unit’s flourishing Outreach Programme, and it has been a pleasure to lead on widening access and participation in STEM.”