6 July 2012
On 26 June, eight postgraduates graduated from Imperial’s INSPIRE scheme which aims to bridge the gap between scientific research at universities and schools by placing top postgraduate research scientists in classrooms to enthuse schoolchildren.
An awards ceremony was held at 58 Prince’s Gate to mark the occasion – attended by the participants – Dr Jennifer Lardge, Dr Ruth Carley, Dr Jason Green, Dr Katherine Flack, Dr Asma Qazi, Dr Helen Miller, Alex Bishop and Sultana Khanam in addition to funding bodies and representatives from the 14 schools involved.
Based at Imperial, INSPIRE (Innovative Scheme for Postgraduates In Research and Education), began in 2002 and has evolved into a project offering a seven month PGCE for postdoctoral, PhD graduates and postgraduates coming to the end of their research, organised in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University. The PGCE is combined with two months of INSPIRE activities for young people where the postgraduates put on science clubs, provide university-level training for students over 16, give careers advice, organise science conferences and trips for the pupils to come and see the research laboratories at Imperial.
INSPIRE aims to encourage research graduates with a passion for teaching to bring their enthusiasm and research experience into the classroom with the help of Imperial’s Outreach office and Physics Department, in order to tackle the shortage of Physics and Chemistry teachers in state schools.
Dr Naheed Alizadeh (Outreach) who is Director of the Inspire Project spoke about this year’s cohort: “We had a fantastic bunch this year – five of our students got distinctions and I’m so proud that all of them have teaching jobs lined up for September. It is amazing training postgraduate researchers to use their degrees to wow schoolchildren.”
Professor of Science and Society Lord Winston gave a speech at the event. He said: “The INSPIRE postgraduates not only are great role models for school pupils, but also are able to take excitement of the science to the classroom – creating a lasting benefit for both pupils and teaching staff in the schools.”