Education Support

Dr Andy Merritt
Email: Dr Andy Merritt

The RSC Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector (BMCS) are delighted to do what we can to support students as they start on the road that will see them becoming the next generation of chemistry experts who we will depend upon. A subset of the BMCS, called the Education Support Group (ESG), takes responsibility for our educational activities.

Students at Regents Park Community College with new heating mantels and distillation kit, purchased with support from a BMCS Enhanced Equipment grant.

Educational Grants Scheme

The RSC BMCS has been providing funds for small educational projects in schools and colleges for many years. The unifying theme of all of these projects has been their common objective of enhancing the learning (and teaching) experience in relation to chemistry for students (and teachers).

During this period we have offered support in two main areas: Enhanced Equipment and Chemistry Clubs. While we will continue to encourage applications for both of these funding streams we are adding two more funding areas to the portfolio: One is in relation to encouraging projects that bring together schools/ colleges and their local universities (Partnership of 3) and the other is to support appropriate activities in undergraduate Chemistry Societies (UG ChemSoc).

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications, we cannot always respond to confirm receipt of applications, and we cannot provide feedback in the event of an unsuccessful application.

Bottisham Primary pupils created these stunning crystal gardens with help from an RSC BMCS Education Support Group grant.

Enhanced Equipment

These funds are awarded against bids for equipment that cannot be purchased through a school’s mainstream teaching budget and which would enrich the learning experience of students in either primary (science) or secondary (chemistry) studies. In particular, this would be for equipment that supports delivery of the practical aspect of chemistry education and an application will be enhanced by a demonstration of the diversity of application of the equipment within and between student cohorts. The application will be made by a teacher at a primary or secondary school for up to £1000.

Atomic model sets (funded by an RSC BMCS Enhanced Equipment grant) helping St Marylebone School students to visualise the transfer of electrons when forming ions.

Chemistry Clubs

The funds are targeted at activities run at schools/ colleges outside the normal science timetable which may be focussed on generating interest in chemistry in all ability levels or which may provide opportunities to stretch and challenge the already able and motivated. Applications from existing chemistry clubs looking to expand/ enhance activities would be welcome as would those from colleagues interested in starting a club. An application would need to indicate how the longevity of the proposal was ensured and how best practice and experience from it might be shared within and between other (perhaps feeder) schools. The application will be made by a teacher at a primary or secondary school for sums up to £1000.

Coatbridge High School Science Club received support from an RSC BMCS Education Support Group grant.

Partnership of 3

Funding is available to schools, colleges or universities to support activities that bring together at least three different partners to benefit in the delivery or attendance at a chemistry centered outreach activity. For example, a scheme might involve a university and an industry providing an initiative for secondary students; it might involve a university collaborating with a sixth form college in providing an experience for KS3/ 4 students (it may be that staff and students from the same institution are considered as different partners if they both have significant and different roles in the delivery of the proposed programme).

In all cases, the activity needs to involve the development of the practical skills/ experience in chemistry of the target group in a manner that is not achievable through normal timetabled activities.

Strong applications will be able to demonstrate, in addition to key scientific benefits, how as many of the partners in the scheme as possible will develop through involvement in the scheme.

In addition, schemes that involve visits from one partner constituency to another will be particularly favoured.  Applications will only be accepted from a partner involved in educational delivery and will be for sums up to £1000.

Undergraduate Chemical Societies

RSC BMCS will consider providing support to student chemical societies who arrange events that promote an increased awareness of biological and medicinal chemistry in the student community. This might include the arrangements associated with funding the visit of an industrialist to deliver a seminar to a student cohort or a visit to a company active in an area of relevant of the chemical industry (for example the pharmaceutical and biotech industries).

While funding will be provided in advance to an approved application, it will be provided on the condition that a full report of the event is submitted to the BMCS.  Failure to do so will result in rejection of any subsequent funding applications. Bids are invited for sums up to £250.

Funding through RSC Local Sections

In addition to the funding streams above, we encourage RSC Local Sections to interact with their local schools and colleges to initiate outreach activities that promote chemistry to students. These might be targeted at a particular age group and may include hands-on activities, discussions sessions, talks, site visits, careers events and so on. In fact, anything that might encourage an interest in the subject (and its impact on the wellbeing of ourselves and our environment) and/or give a student an insight into what a future in chemistry might hold for them.

The application must be made through the RSC Local Section committee membership for funds in the region of £100 to £500.