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Norfolk school children get ‘inside science’ at BBSRC institutes

Visit  Institute of Food Research websiteVisit John Innes Centre websiteVisit The Genome Analysis Centre website

28 September 2010

A group of Norfolk school children aspiring to careers in science will get 'Inside Science' at the John Innes Centre and the Institute of Food Research, both institutes of BBSRC, as they learn all about the world-leading science taking place at the institutes and elsewhere on the Norwich Research Park.

The 11 pupils, selected as being among the most gifted and talented at science, will hear from a selection of the top researchers from across the different institutes. The workshops will cover a wide range of science, from food poisoning bacteria and atomic force microscopy at IFR to plant genetics and nanotechnology at the JIC. They will also hear about climate science at the University of East Anglia as well as virus research at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Trust, not to mention stem cells, insects, genetic modification, low carbon innovation and plant disease research across the Norwich Research Park.

"The aim of 'Inside Science' is to give students considering their options for university the chance to find out what a career in science is actually about," said Dr Tristan Maclean, BBSRC Inspiring Young Scientists Coordinator. "We hope that hearing from the institutes' world-leading scientists and learning about the breadth of research the students have on their own doorstep will inspire them into scientific careers."

The Genome Analysis Centre will host an afternoon with the group, and there will hands on sessions, including using the John Innes Centre's bioimaging facilities to prepare samples and examine them using a scanning electron microscope to 'see' structures a millionth of a millimetre across.

"Working with the students is really fun," says JIC microscopist Kim Findlay. "We provide a selection of items such as pollen grains, bits of insects, snakeskin, but they can also be creative and take something unexpected such as a piece of their hair, an eyelash or fibres from their clothes… you never know what they'll choose to look at."

The students are selected from their applications and recommendations from their teachers on their ability and future aspirations. This is the fourth year that JIC and IFR have run the 'Inside Science' course and previous students are now at universities and colleges around the country, including the Universities of Oxford, Exeter, and the Royal Veterinary College.

JIC, IFR and TGAC are institutes of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).



BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

External contact

Zoe Dunford, JIC Press office

tel: 01603 255111

Andrew Chapple, JIC Press office

tel: 01603 251490