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Science education and public engagement in Cambridge





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Science education empowers students to think and do things differently. It forms the foundation of stunning innovations and technological advancements.

The courses rank high in Cambridge due to the high number of STEM institutions in the area. It is home, of course, to one of the oldest univerities – the University of Cambridge.

University students. Picture: iStock
University students. Picture: iStock

Anglia Ruskin University and MIT-UK are also located in the city. Education experts say direct engagement with the public by science institutions is critical.

They can be engaged through research, popular media, forums, and many other ways. Cambridge promotes this through many ways.

Educational outreach and engagement initiatives in Cambridge

Science helps people understand natural and chemical things. From this point of understanding, they can discover ways to make their lives better.

Science is done by people and involves people. Public engagement lets institutions share knowledge with the people and give them chances to innovate. The community in Cambridge reaches out to the community through different initiatives.

Raising STEM ambassadors

STEM ambassadors are student teams that help paint the bigger picture of science to the community. In Cambridge, this is an initiative that is bearing fruit well.

Specifically, the University of Cambridge has a vibrant STEM ambassador programme. They engage with other learners in high school and also immerse themselves in the local society.

They aim to conduct immersive sessions or interactions that instil a love of science in the community. Initiatives and programmes by universities do not focus on society only. They also target campus students training them to love research and innovation.

Professors do so by engaging students in collaborative projects and research paper writing. To brainstorm, students read research paper examples. Most of them search for services that help college learners with writing.

EduBirdie provides assignment service for STEM and art students. They have a large community of writers who work as one team to deliver the best quality work.

Availing information to the public for free

Higher education institutions in Cambridge work together to promote civic education in science matters. They came together and formed the Civic University Network.

Its role is to engage the community by offering information about what science is and what it does.

Delivering free courses

Another important initiative is the free courses programme. Under this scientific engagement programme, institutions in Cambridge avail lecture notes and assignments to the public for free.

They create short courses that the local society can access and take a self-learning initiative. Under this programme, the universities offer residential STEM courses targeting potential future candidates.

Partnering with major organisations

Companies engaged with science dedicate time and money to support local communities. They include medicine manufacturers and research companies.

One such company is AstraZeneca. It partners with institutions in Cambridge to make science education available to the local community.

The company recently joined hands with the Cambridge Science Centre. Both organisations aim to promote STEM among teenagers and youth.

They do this by launching multiple initiatives to broaden their reach. One of the programmes is Pop-Up Science Centres which educates school kids and adults in Cambridge.

To date, the programme has involved 4,500 kids and more than 25 thousand community members in the engagement initiatives.

Another important organisation in the district is the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. It engages in genomics research and genetics. The institution works closely with higher education institutions in the district.

Together, they reach out to the community to educate them about genomics and its significance.

Microsoft Research, located in Cambridge, is an organisation deeply involved in research and STEM education. It has worked with the University of Cambridge for many years.

In the initiative, the organisation aims to fund STEM outreach programmes and needy students who desire to learn science at the university.

Planning annual events

Each year, the Cambridge community attends a festival organised by the University of Cambridge. The event dubbed Cambridge Science Festival comes every spring.

During the festival, the university invites important stakeholders in the science field. They address the people and highlight their research projects in the pipeline for the year ahead. They explain why the school needs to do the research.

The Optical Nano Materials Group avails gadgets that support visually impaired attendees to get the best experience during the event.

Family Science Day

The Family Science Day is organised by MIT and the UoC. MIT-UK was started in 1861 as an institution of research. Since then, it has played a major in taking modern science to the next level.

Located near the University of Cambridge, both institutions partner and organise the Family Science Day. The day aims to bring parents and their children into an interactive experience. They are taken through different science shows or attend age-oriented workshops.

Pros of exposing the Cambridge community to science education

The many outreach initiatives taken by the Cambridge science community targeting the local community offer an array of benefits.

- Fosters science knowledge. The programmes instil an understanding of science into the community.

- Breaking down the science into simple language. Some scientific terms and concepts look complicated to ordinary people. The initiatives help explain them to the community in day-to-day communication language.

- Helps with mentorship. The institutions begin to mentor future scientists at the community level. They reach out to pre-high school learners and begin to mentor them to love science.

- Enhancing innovative ideas. Due to constant exposure to science, some people get stirred to look deeper into innovations.

- Community participation in research. The institutions prepare the community for upcoming research projects. It helps forerun the projects and prepare a smooth flow once the actual implementation is done.

Conclusion

Educational institutions in Cambridge host an array of initiatives targeting the local community. The programmes aim to teach the community to love science.

Some of the programmes target primary and high school students to prepare them to apply for STEM courses after high school.

The initiative benefits both the institutions of higher learning and the community. They promote interactive discussions between the community and professors. Society becomes more aware of science and it enhances innovations.



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