Research inspires young scientists and engineers

An innovative research project that outlines the world of nanoscience is challenging children to be inspired by science and engineering.

The project

Researchers from the Departments of Chemical & Process Engineering, Chemistry and Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIBPS), make up the ReallySmallScience team – revealing how the world of nanoscience is embedded in our lives.

With public engagement at the heart of the project, the team runs a number of activities in conjunction with Glasgow Science Centre – demonstrating how our bodies protect themselves from disease.

Funded through an Ingenious public engagement grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the project has reached more than 2000 children and adults, with hundreds of budding scientists and engineers taking up the challenge to draw their own visions of the nanoworld.

Making a difference

Dr Mark Haw, lead researcher for the project, said:

We have a fantastic group of researchers from across Strathclyde, all with different skills – helping us to work out how to bring the normally invisible nanoworld to life using nothing but jelly, soot and a dartboard.

The exchange of knowledge isn’t only one-way. I have found myself talking to a cancer nurse and while I could tell her all about the nanoweapons researchers are developing to fight cancer, she was able to tell me how these technologies are actually beginning to make a difference to patients – a point of view you’ll never get from the research lab.

Investing in the future

ReallySmallScience’s success has already inspired more applications for the next round of Ingenious funding, including two from Chemical & Process Engineering alone. The University’s recently formed Public Engagement Group, chaired by Dr Haw, is specifically aimed at encouraging projects such as this, helping researchers take their work beyond the confines of the academic journal or the specialist conference.