Primary Health Sciences 2017.

Inspiring children to get involved in science is crucial for creating the next generation of scientists. The Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS), based at Queen’s University Belfast, was pleased to welcome back the Primary Health Sciences Conference for the third year. 250 primary school pupils were invited to the university and the event was attended by over 300 people.

The PHS programme aims for scientists from the universities and industry to help develop primary teachers’ and pupils’ interest and appreciation of the biological sciences and link their application to everyday life. The scientists act as inspiring role models, and help the pupils identify potential careers in the food sciences.

PROTECTED Coordinator Dr Lisa Connolly is a key participant in the PHS programme, visiting primary schools, talking to pupils and introducing them to science. Being keen to nurture pupils’ interest in the sciences, Dr Connolly developed an associated conference whereby the primary school pupils could experience the science environment at University.

The conference, held on 23rd May 2017, proved to be an overwhelming success. Dr Connolly presented an overview of the PROTECTED project to the pupils. Pupils were then invited to present their PHS project within a lecture theatre environment, in front of an invited audience of scientists, industrialists, policy makers, parents and teachers. Excellent presentations were confidently given by the pupils, supported by their teachers who had also put tremendous effort into making science education an innovative and fun experience. The pupils were also given tours of the Institute laboratories by research staff and students where they experienced fun and practical demonstrations. It allowed the students to meet and converse with “real life scientists” demonstrating the importance of scientific research and its relevance to everyday life.