Molecules

Chemistry Clinic - May 2019

The Chemistry Clinic is a student led consultancy in the University of Strathclyde. Working with entrepreneurs with brand new ideas right through to supporting school students, they deal with a wide range of enquiries. 

This placement opportunity during their Chemistry degree gives students the chance to implement the knowledge they have gathered so far during their three years of studying and fine-tune their practical laboratory skills. They also have the chance to grow on a personal basis in various forms of communication and organisation skills that are tested throughout the year. The team also partake in various school events and tasks both within the University of Strathclyde and around the country - as STEM Ambassadors - to further the development of the scientific world. 

Engage with Strathclyde

As we tiptoe towards the end of our placement at the Chemistry Clinic the work is showing no sign of slowing down and the month of May has flown by.

As mentioned in last month’s blog, we teamed up with marketing students as an interactive activity during the University’s Engage with Strathclyde week. The purpose of the event was to see how both the science side and the marketing side are of equal importance in terms of product development. Teams of four, with chemistry and marketing students were assigned an individual client, who pitched an innovative idea for a potential product. For a week we bounced ideas off each other, both good and bad ones, which were then presented to the client at the end of the week in the hope that we could meet as many of their product criteria as realistically possible. We had a great week together meeting new people and it really showed how chemistry and marketing go hand in hand when it comes to product development.  

As well as the marketing event we also organised a Chemistry Clinic Engage event, in which we invited past and potential clients along and showcase some of the work we do in the Chemistry Clinic. The event was aimed at small businesses, start-ups and people with a general interest in what we do. Peter and Cirsty delivered presentations in relation to schools’ outreach and a general overview of the kind of service that the Chemistry Clinic can provide. The event was very well received and it was good to build more connections with the wider community.

Projects

Peter and Cirsty are almost ready to get their gloves on to start peeling the prawns. They have been finalising data in order to complete the calibration for when we start to actually analyse the prawns. Having become familiar with the GCMS equipment as well as accurately weighing out compounds, they also took on another project this month involving the use of gas chromatography.

Over in the other camp, Jonny and Ben were lucky enough to meet their new client during the Chemistry/Marketing Engage event and were able to use their early research in the project to assist in creating and developing a business strategy for their client. This provided a lot of inspiration for the rest of their project and many ideas to move forward. Moving forward, the idea is create a blend of the key chemical component and cleaning surfactant, which will provide the optimum self-cleaning properties for the product.

New Students

This month we welcomed new students to the Department. Thomas, from France, is completing a placement over the summer and working on a project examining oils. We also welcome Steven who is a 2nd year student currently helping us on a project that will be sure to leave you smelling minty fresh. Lastly, we welcome Zoe who has just completed her 1st year at Strathclyde and will be shadowing our lab-work to gain some extra experience as she moves onto 2nd year. We hope they all have a great time working alongside us.

What’s Next?

With only a matter of weeks left in our placement, the team will be working hard to meet expectations for their respective projects. We have one final STEM event in June, which will involve a trip further afield. June will also see the team receiving their final report results and a review of how they have performed over the year. The Department is quietening down as the academic year comes to an end and it will be a bitter-sweet Andersonian Chemical Society Cheese & Wine night as we bid farewell to the newest set of graduates!