Cross industry partnership to deliver ground breaking UK-wide science learning programme

04/06/2013

The Science Museum, BP and King's College London have today launched Enterprising Science, the largest UK-wide science learning programme of its kind.

The five-year partnership will bring together the expertise, experience and research of all three organisations to inspire and engage more young people in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) learning and careers to help ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of science, technology and innovation.

Enterprising Science will build on the success of the Science Museum and BP's previous five year Talk Science project, to develop effective, evidence-based tools and techniques that will bring science to life like never before for young people, their teachers and families, both inside and outside the classroom.

The programme is underpinned by research led by King’s College London as part of their ASPIRES study of children's science and career aspirations. Young people will be at the heart of the project and over 2,000 teachers and up to 400,000 students will be involved in piloting these new resources during programme development. 

The Government acknowledges the value of science and engineering to the economy and the programme will help address two key challenges; according to Ipsos MORI (“Issues Facing Britain”, April 2013), the health of the economy and unemployment consistently rank as the top two concerns for people in the UK. It is widely recognised that science education is a key to success in school and beyond.

Through this partnership, Enterprising Science will deliver new ways of engaging young people with science, both in the classroom and more informally, and strengthen their understanding of STEM career opportunities.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said, “It’s great to see BP, in partnership with the Science Museum and Kings College, committing £4.3 million for teachers and museum educators to increase science capital amongst young people and their families. Working with more than 2,000 teachers and 400,000 pupils over a 5 year period, this initiative will make a vital contribution to continuing the UK’s standing as a leader in research and innovation in science. This will inspire young people and provide greater employment opportunities for them in the future.”

Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said, “Enterprising Science is an innovative programme that will enable more young people to get involved in science, technology, engineering and maths. It will inspire them to become the scientists and innovators of the future.

“Science is key to our economic future – it is these subjects that universities and employers are demanding so they can compete internationally. That is why we are improving the science curriculum, recruiting the brightest science graduates into teaching to inspire their pupils, as well as investing up to £135 million up until 2015 in science and maths education.”

Ian Blatchford, Director, Science Museum, said, “It is testament to the success of the Science Museum’s Talk Science programme that we are now launching the follow up Enterprising Science in partnership with King’s College London and BP. Because we are taking a scientific approach to science education, we know that this new initiative, combined with the inspirational collections across the Science Museum Group, will help inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers.” 

Peter Mather, Group Regional Vice President, Europe and Head of Country, UK – BP, said,
“BP is delighted to be supporting this new five year, £4.3m Enterprising Science partnership. The UK is the home for BP and we want to help develop and encourage young people with skills in the STEM subjects to look at careers in the oil and gas business, as well as the other STEM-based industries in the UK. We hope this programme will help attract young people to STEM careers in the future.”

Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice Principal (Arts & Sciences) at King's, comments: “This is a vital partnership to develop a thorough understanding of how we can enthuse young children about science at an early stage. King's has been at the forefront of this initiative – researchers in our Department of Education and Professional Studies have been looking at what we can learn from young people's perceptions of science in relation to their career choices at a critical stage in their development. It's exciting that this pivotal work at King's has become the foundation for Enterprising Science, bringing the thrill of scientific discovery to children.”

Enterprising Science is supported by BP who has provided £4.3 million to fund the programme over five years. The project is intended to run from 2013 to 2017, with the first new tools and techniques being implemented by teachers and Museum educators across the UK through the ongoing Talk Science programme by the end of the 2014/15 academic year.

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For further information please contact:
Julia Murray, Science Museum Press Office, 020 7942 4328, Julia.murray@sciencemuseum.ac.uk
Anna Mitchell, King’s College London Press Office, 020 7848 3092, anna.i.mitchell@kcl.ac.uk
Sheila Williams, BP Press Office, 020 7496 4851, sheila.williams@bp.com