STEM outreach – April 2019

It has been a busy few months of STEM outreach and engagement activities as we aim to attract a diverse pool of talent to careers in battery research and development.

Fully Electric Engagement Programme (FEEP) 2019
In February, 50 undergraduate students taking degrees in STEM subjects attended a Faraday Institution attraction event held at the Royal Academy of Engineering. This was carried out in partnership with SEO London, that prepares talented students from ethnic minority or low socio-economic backgrounds for career success. The Faraday Institution team were joined by representatives from Williams Advanced Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Ricardo, Siemens and Horiba-Mira, who creatively showcased career opportunities in the battery technology field through a range of presentations and networking sessions. Faraday Institution PhD students Alex Dimitrijevic and Haydn Francis also presented brilliantly about the post-graduate study route.

Feedback from the event was extremely positive:

“The whole day was really insightful in signposting to students the challenges and opportunities in this fascinating field.” (Attendee)

“FEEP was a great experience and it offered me a great platform to get all of my questions answered. It was also useful to speak to employers first hand and get to know people with similar interests to me.” (Attendee)

“The event was one of the best I've attended.” (Industry partner)

“It is a very key topic for us. It is always valuable to get an opportunity to showcase our business, what we do and what we can offer.” (Industry partner)

The Big Bang Fair
In March, the Faraday Institution was delighted to be a part of the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK. The Big Bang Fair was held at the NEC and was attended by 80,000 visitors! Following training as STEM Ambassadors, Faraday Institution PhD students brilliantly communicated about batteries in a fun, engaging and relatable way to inspire the next generation. A huge thank you to the other battery experts that joined us including Jacqui Murray (UKRI), Paul Shearing (UCL), James Sampson (Zero Carbon Futures) and Faduma Maddar (WMG).

The lemon battery challenge was especially popular and great way to explore how batteries work!

We also met a host of inspirational and prominent science leaders, presenters and communicators including Dr Hilary Leevers (Chief Executive of Engineering UK), Marty Jopson (resident scientist on BBC One Show), Fran Scott (Royal Institution pyrotechnician and Science Content Producer), Maddie Moate (BAFTA winning presenter and YouTuber) and Andrew Smyth (BBC Great British Bake Off Finalist and Rolls Royce Engineer) who took a keen interest in our research.

“With the electrification of vehicles, there is a pressing need for the mass role out of a battery powered technologies. It is crucial that we produce a dynamic STEM-literate workforce, which is equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to power the battery revolution in the UK so that we become a world battery leader” (James Sampson, Zero Carbon Futures).

“Attending the Big Bang Fair was an excellent…opportunity for us to share our enthusiasm for science and engineering with thousands of young individuals, many of whom now have a better understanding of how integral batteries are, and will continue to be, in their lives. The amazement we witnessed from these people makes me feel confident that we will have sparked a curiosity around battery technology. A curiosity that will grow and direct some of them towards a career in a STEM-oriented profession.” (Jacob Dean, PhD student)

Other STEM Outreach
Empowered in sharing the battery story, several of our PhD students have proactively used their skills to share their knowledge and skills with new audiences.

Mahfuz Kamal (Newcastle) joined James Sampson (Zero Carbon Futures) to present on current issues with EV battery packs in Northumberland at Bede Academy. JJ Marie (Oxford) set primary pupils a battery related challenge as part of their Polar Explorers Week and Kieran O'Regan (Birmingham) promoted the Faraday Institution and post-graduate study at a University of Nottingham alumni event.

Regarding this experience Mahfuz commented, "What I found amazing was the amount of knowledge some of the kids have now compared to my generation. And if they have this knowledge and understanding now, what will they be capable of in the future? We need these young people to become our engineers and scientists. What I really hope is to live through a time of great scientific discoveries just like the time of Einstein."

Kieran writes, “Being involved in STEM outreach has helped me develop my presentation skills; it has given me an opportunity to communicate my ideas to demographics I wouldn't usually interact with. It has been confidence boosting. The event benefited the students because they received a first-hand account of the reasons why someone would pursue a PhD, as well as the process to do so – an insightful thing when choosing your potential career path.”

PhD researcher spotlight video
It was a real pleasure, on International Women’s Day, to release the first of our battery researcher showcase videos, which focuses on the fabulous work of Dana Thompson at the University of Leicester on the ReLiB project. We are sure her story will inspire young people to consider a career in this field. Click here to view. Please share this resource widely.

Posted on April 1, 2019 in Blog

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About the Author

Fran Long is a STEM engagement specialist who is passionate about promoting science and engineering. She holds a First-Class Honours Degree in Primary Teacher Education and has won awards for her research. Download her biography here


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