In 2015, the Development team at the British Science Association decided we wanted to create something for organisations and companies to get involved in British Science Week. We realised there were a number of fascinating places where fantastic science, technology and engineering is happening every day.
We wanted to create something that enabled companies and organisations to have conversations with their local communities, showcasing and celebrating the work done by their staff.
We wanted to acknowledge the public’s curiosity, I have often walked past a head office or a large manufacturing site and been deeply curious as to what was going on behind closed tours. The idea of Behind the Scenes was to throw open the doors of these places, to satisfy curiosity and to share the amazing innovation and discovery that takes place in science, tech and engineering locations all the time.
Furthermore, we wanted it to be an opportunity to inspire and enthuse young people by meeting real life scientists in their workplace. Breaking down those stereotypes of a scientist being a man in a white lab coat. Helping them realise that science, technology and engineering opens up a whole world of opportunities for their future.
In 2015, we piloted this idea with a few companies and organisations, and after ironing out the details we decided to launch it properly in 2016.
For 2016 we had some fantastic partners, who I worked tirelessly with, to recruit, engage and promote their fantastic range of events. Partners included Royal Mail, L’Oréal, Historic England, Cancer Research UK, London Stansted Airport, Creative Skillset, Bletchley Park, University College London Hospitals and NHS Blood & Transplant.
I found myself super excited as British Science Week came around in March and I was finally going to be able to see these events taking place throughout the UK and what’s more, I got the chance to attend some of these events.
I spent one morning at Royal Mail’s mail centre hub in Mount Pleasant, London; we had a group of young people who for various reasons were not in a typical school environment and instead were educated through an education group. They were so excited to be there and got to talk to real Royal Mail apprentices and see the innovative automation technology at one of Royal Mail’s mail centre, and see the life journey of a letter.
I saw 25 young people come down to L’Oréal’s Head Office where they heard from the scientists at L’Oréal and the work they do around proof and communicating the science behind their cosmetics. The young people then spent the afternoon creating their own adverts which were only allowed scientifically proven facts!
At Cancer Research UK’s cancer research lab at Bart’s Hospital, London, I got to meet scientists and hear about their fantastic research and the challenges they face every day.
Finally, I got to go behind the scenes of UCLH’s new Proton Beam Therapy Centre; learning not just about the science behind proton beam therapy but also the construction work that is taking place to place such a building in the centre of London.
All of the events taking place were fantastic and you can learn more about what all the other organisations did to take part here.
I was so pleased to be part of this campaign and I sincerely hope it continues year on year.