The conference, presented by over 100 volunteer professional scientists and healthcare professionals, will introduce the different career routes available in science to 250 secondary school and further education college students (years 9-11) from 19 participating London schools.
The programme is set to inspire students to study science, demonstrate the importance of science in health and everyday life, and showcase some of the exciting and rewarding careers open to those who study science.
The Science for Survival theme was chosen to link into sustainability as well as healthcare topics, such as antibiotic resistance and engineering solutions for water and food for all.
The day’s highlight will be the student presentation sessions where students will present their projects undertaken at school or in Science Clubs, a requirement for participation. The best projects will be awarded The Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine Don Henderson Trophy.
The conference is open to students of all abilities and endeavours to attract the less academic and privileged schools. For example, of the 19 schools attending, at least six schools have more than 30% of students receiving free school meals. The students come from many different ethnicities and English is not the main language spoken at home for 56% of students.
As part of the conference, University of Westminster academics and researchers will engage students through interactive stands about protein structural biochemistry, pathology, psychology, biomaterials, environmental forensics, bioinformatics and the science behind everyday living and behaviour among other science-related areas.
Around 50 other scientific organisations will showcase aspects of their profession with hands-on activities at their exhibition stands. The wide range of exhibitors will include the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, focusing on cardiac physiology; the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, looking at resuscitation and defibrillation; Public Health England, examining food microbiology; Great Ormond Street Hospital, focusing on gene therapy, antibiotic resistance and infection prevention; and NHS Blood and Transplant, focusing on kidney transplants. Additionally, The Royal College of Pathologists will run an interactive workshop exploring medical developments from 1914 to 2014.
Professor Geoff Petts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster, said: “For over 175 years, the University of Westminster has been pioneering the understanding of how to apply emerging science and technology to address the world’s problems. Hosting the 12th Annual Science4u Schools Day is a fantastic opportunity for our University.
“As a scientist working on sustainable water management, Science for Survival is a theme close to my heart, be it survival of the individual or society. We are excited to be collaborating with Science4u in inspiring young people to become career scientists.”
A Science4u spokesperson said: “We are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with the University of Westminster in 2015. This central location has fabulous facilities and will enable us to have 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.”
Read the full programme for the day (PDF, 5.4 MB).