RLC-Lab, an analytical and chemistry research company has teamed up with Loughborough University to launch a national initiative to support excellence in science education. The service will enable state and private schools and colleges teaching A-level and BTEC science the opportunity to access industry-standard chemical analysis services, free of charge.
RLC provides consultancy and contract analytical and chemistry research to the pharmaceutical and fine chemical sectors as well as conducting its own novel research. Based in Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park, RLC is a keen supporter of science education as its director, Dr Mark Jones, explained: “Techniques such as chromatography and infra-red spectroscopy are now an integral part of the syllabus, but with limited resources, the best that the majority of schools can hope for is a melting point measurement of their reaction products. Our service enables students to use the same technology as large pharmaceutical organisations.”
The service is launched this week to 3,000 schools, following a highly successful pilot that was supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Jacquie Hanmer, Robert Smyth Academy, said: “I cannot emphasise how wonderful it was for students to be able to see real data on their products. I used it as an example on open day and it generated huge amounts of interest.”
Dr Claire Badger, Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, said: “This has been of real benefit to our students … these methods are on the syllabus but to see a method applied to their own samples helps make it more real.”
Loughborough University is supporting the initiative by ensuring that thousands of vials reach the schools and colleges which are then sent to RLC’s laboratories for free analysis. Students can then see the results of their experiments online.
Professor Steve Rothberg, the University’s Pro Vice Chancellor (Enterprise) said: “Loughborough University is committed to promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in schools and is delighted to be supporting this excellent and innovative project. Our aim is to support RLC in delivering this service to every A-level chemistry class in the country.”