The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) agreed to support I’m a Scientist over 3 years through to the end of 2017. Each year, they fund 9 zones across the UK and Ireland. Part of the arrangement is that we include RSC members in five of our general zones to show school students the full breadth of science.
Here is a summary of our main findings after evaluating the 9 RSC funded zones of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here 2015.
- Scientists improved their science communication skills: They learned about students’ interests and how to communicate with them in a more efficient way.
… there is no better way to test how much you know about something than trying to explain it to someone with a more limited background on the topic.” – Jesús Calvo-Castro, Spectroscopy Zone
- The zones saw a great number of conversations around chemistry themes with keywords like “chemistry”, “light”, “materials”, “drugs”, “polymers” being prominent in questions and live chats.
- 37 RSC members took part in I’m a Scientist thanks to this funding agreement. 31 took part in the 8 RSC funded themed zones and another 6 were spread in 6 general zones.
- 6 RSC members were voted winners in the 9 RSC funded zones in 2015 and will continue to promote their research on chemistry with the £500 prize money.
- Widening participation in schools: 118 schools got a place to take part in I’m a Scientist RSC funded zones in 2015 the UK and Ireland. 47 were in Ireland and Scotland and 71 were in England and Wales and the remaining. Of these, 12 (17% of 71) were rural or Widening Participation schools.
And there were challenges too. In 2016 we want to:
- Get more scientists working at private companies taking part in RSC funded zones. Only 12% of scientists who took part in RSC funded zones in 2015 came from the private sector. We would like to work with RSC to increase the proportion of scientists from private companies.
- Get more Chemnet students involved in I’m a Scientist zones. We will keep working with ChemNet Team to find out better ways to promote I’m a Scientist to their community of students.
- Improve the site mobile design. One of the scientists interviewed for this evaluation told us that she expected that it had been easier to take part from mobile devices. We have been improving the site design to adapt it to mobile, but we still need to make it easier for scientists to answer questions and take part in live chats form their mobiles.
You can download the whole report here (PDF).