The Royal Institution to support new government drive to encourage more girls into science and engineering

Dr Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at Ri will join a new government roundtable set up to consider how to engage, encourage and support more female students to take up STEM subjects.

  • Female students conducting an experiment in the L'OrĂ©al Young Scientist Centre.

    Female students conducting an experiment in the L'Oréal Young Scientist Centre

    Credit: Karen Hatch

Release

Monday 30 September 2013, London UK. The Royal Institution is to build on its reputation as a pioneer in public science engagement by working with the government on how to encourage more women to study and pursue a future in science and engineering, as part of a new £400 million capital investment announced today by Rt Hon David Willetts, Minister of Universities and Science.

Dr Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Royal Institution (Ri) will join the government’s roundtable to consider how to engage, encourage and support more female students up and down the country to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at GCSE, A-level and university.

Dr Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Ri said: “I am delighted that David Willets is investing in the next generation of scientists and engineers.

“In my year group at school, not a single girl took A-level physics. It just never crossed our mind that we should. Sadly, this is still true of many girls today, and collectively we need to do much more, in and out of the classroom, to tackle this issue so that the wonder of science can be enjoyed equally by girls and boys.

“Most young people are not lucky enough to live next door to a well known scientist or to have the chance to see a research lab in action, so increasing the visibility of inspiring female scientists and engineers, celebrating their achievements and using the latest technology to connect them with students is a vital part of getting the message across that studying STEM subjects opens up exciting career options for all.

“The Ri is already exploring novel ways of encouraging young people to get involved with STEM subjects that are accessible, practical and, most importantly, not restricted to the traditional school setting. Our recently launched Ri channel allows young people, their families and teachers to access, for free, the latest educational and engaging science videos wherever and whenever suits them.”

The Ri runs a packed calendar of demonstration-led events and workshops for children, young people and adults, which combined with the Ri channel and schools programme, engages more than 4 million people with science each year.

Particle physicist Professor Tara Shears from the University of Liverpool will run an Ri engagement event for A-level students this autumn where she will share the latest findings from the Large Hadron Collider.

Professor Tara Shears said: “I chose particle physics as my career because studying the universe is the most thrilling and interesting thing I could ever imagine doing.

“I think students can be put off science because it can be hard to see its practical application. It’s vitally important to engage and connect students with research at the cutting edge, not just the theories in isolation. We have to bring the science alive and take the fear out of subjects like physics and maths and that’s why I think practical workshops like the one I’m running at the Ri are so important.”

“I think it’s fantastic that the government has announced this funding and I hope it will help to ‘normalise’ the idea that you can be a woman and a physicist.”

ENDS

More information

For more details and interviews contact:

Hayley Burwell

The Royal Institution

hburwell@ri.ac.uk   

020 7670 2991/ 07804 248 549

Notes to Editors

About the Royal Institution

The Royal Institution was established in 1799 with the purpose of ‘diffusing science for the common purposes of life’. The Ri has welcomed both men and women into its membership since it first opened its doors in 1799. The Ri’s first female lecturer took to the lectern in 1923 and the Ri launched its first schools programme in 1954.

Over 200 years on, we’re a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science through our public programmes for adults and education initiatives young people, science video channel, Faraday Museum and history of science activities, scientific research and the famous CHRISTMAS LECTURES.

More information at www.rigb.org.

About the Ri Channel

The Ri Channel is an online project by the Royal Institution of Great Britain showcasing the very best science videos from the Ri and around the web.

Alongside highlights from recent Ri events, the Channel features re-digitised footage from the Ri archive and a range of high-quality videos from filmmakers and scientific institutions across the UK and beyond.

The project continues the Royal Institution's charitable mission to "connect people to the world of science". Content is free to access and visitors are able to embed or download Ri videos for their own purposes. Visit the website at www.richannel.org.

About the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre

The Royal Institution and L’Oréal have created a laboratory facility at the Royal Institution in central London, which provides children aged seven to 18 and their teachers with an interactive, experimental space in which to explore science.  The Centre aims to promote curiosity and investigation-led learning as well as offering access to advanced technology and experiments outside of the normal school remit. Visit www.rigb.org/ysc for more information.

L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre