Science4U and the University of Westminster will host the 15th annual Schools Science Conference today, Wednesday 18 April 2018, at our Cavendish campus, launching “Science for Discovery” as this year’s theme.

The conference, presented by over 100 volunteer scientists and healthcare professionals will introduce the variety of scientific careers available to young people. The event will welcome more than 400 pupils (years 9-11) from 19 participating schools and colleges across London. 

The conference is designed to inspire attendees to study science, demonstrating the importance of scientific discoveries in everyday life and showcasing some of the exciting and rewarding careers on offer.

The theme was chosen to celebrate the vital role scientific discovery has played in new developments in the NHS producing cutting-edge treatments such as gene therapy and new diagnostic tests.

One of the annual highlights is the presentation session where pupils will present the projects they have done at school or in Science Club. The best projects will be awarded The Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine Don Henderson Trophy.

Pupils will also be able to visit interactive stands including an interactive “Organ Workshop” run by the Royal College of Pathologists which will ask people: “Do you know where your liver is and what job it does? Would you donate a kidney?” The friendly team of pathologists will first challenge pupils to work out where each organ is found in the body, then to match the organ to the fruit to guess its weight! There will also be a group activity about organ donation.

The keynote speaker Christopher Kelly, clinician, machine learning scientist, and researcher from DeepMind will be talking about “how artificial intelligence can be used in healthcare”. In his talk, Dr Kelly will discuss his experience as a surgeon and how the work being carried out by DeepMind aims to use AI to transform the healthcare sector - from building algorithms to detect eye disease, to designing technology that detects patient deterioration.

Pupils trying uniforms at Science4u conference at University of Westminster

The conference is open to pupils of all abilities and focusses on including less academic and less privileged schools. In particular, those pupils in receipt of free school meals, black and ethnic minority and those who’s English is not their first language

Around 50 scientific organisations will showcase aspects of their profession with hands-on activities. The exhibitors will include the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust discussing cardiac physiology; Public Health England speaking about food microbiology; Great Ormond Street Hospital discussing gene therapy, antibiotic resistance, and infection prevention; and NHS Blood and Transplant who will talk about kidney transplants.

They will be joined by University of Westminster academics and researchers who will talk to pupils about protein structural biochemistry, pathology, psychology, biomaterials, environmental forensics, bioinformatics and the science behind everyday living and behaviour among other science-related areas. They will also have the opportunity to meet current students who are studying these subjects.

Mark Baldwin, Acting Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology was very excited about this year’s theme, saying: “The world has transformed radically since 1838, when the University of Westminster first started showcasing the technologies and educating the scientists for careers that can improve the world we live in.

“The very nature of science and related disciplines fosters creativity and innovation that lead to new and exciting discoveries. Examples include the growth in biotechnology and its applications in medical fields such as tissue engineering, medical implants, novel drug development and controlled drug delivery. There is also discovery through collaboration where The University of Westminster’s Breast Cancer Research Unit has contributed to a major study on the genetics of breast cancer providing clues to the mechanisms behind the disease.”

A Science4u spokesperson said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate again with the University of Westminster in 2018. This central location has fabulous facilities and has enabled us to accommodate more students than in previous years and run an expanded interactive stands section.   In addition, the range of scientific careers on offer will be expanded. Finally it enables the students, many for the first time, to see and experience a University atmosphere.”

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