PhD Led Outreach Project Secures RSC Funding

Workshop in a Box receives >£9k to continue impactful work

Workshop in a Box (“WiaB”) is an outreach project developed and managed by a team of PhD students (Emily Goddard, Katie Grant, Daniel Cutler and Ailsa Geddis) in the School of Chemistry and was founded in late 2020 with support from the RSC Outreach Fund. This project aims to allow Scottish secondary school chemistry pupils from all backgrounds access to hands-on experience of real laboratory equipment. Secondary schools in Scotland do not have access to the spectrometers delivered by WiaB meaning that their only chance to gain hands-on experience with any spectroscopy is through the Workshop in a Box programme. This hands-on experience is key to student engagement and enriches their learning.

WiaB achieves this aim by couriering a kit that includes everything required to conduct pre-developed chemistry based workshops to secondary schools all over Scotland. This kit includes an IR spectrometer and a UV-Vis spectrometer to allow pupils to engage with fun workshops and gain experience of applying chemistry to realistic problems faced by modern chemists. Moreover, the chemistry principles covered are relevant to the Higher and Advanced Higher Chemistry Course Specification as defined by the SQA.

In late 2021, the team secured funding from Afton Chemical to purchase a second complete kit to enable the expansion of WiaB to visit more schools. To date, WiaB has reached over 40 schools and 1100 pupils, covering the length and breadth of Scotland, with teachers and pupils alike praising the programme:

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The kids seemed to really enjoy the hands on experience of analytical chemistry


It was very enjoyable and showed how chemistry is used in real life.


Now the WiaB team are set to continue their programme and have the capacity to expand it thanks to their securing funding support from the RSC Outreach Fund, granting them almost £10,000 that is available to the team until March 2023.

The WiaB team are thrilled with the renewed support from the RSC and to be able to reach even more schools and pupils across Scotland. The School of Chemistry are proud of the hard work and dedication of Katie Grant, Daniel Cutler, Emily Goddard, and Ailsa Geddis to WiaB and for their brilliant outreach project being recognised with the award of such an impactful fund for their initiative.

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