Materials Innovation Factory hosts science day for local schools

Over 70 pupils from four local secondary schools visited the Materials Innovation Factory (MIF) to find out the about the fascinating world of chemistry and robotics, and the exciting careers that are available in these areas.

Year 9 and 10 pupils took part in a series of activities within the £68 million facility, a unique public/private partnership between the University and Unilever which aims to revolutionise the design and discovery of new materials.

Activities included a coding session where participants had to put together a programme to race a small Lego robot, using sensors to avoid an object.

As part of a hands on lab session, pupils mixed a number of ingredients together to make hand cream giving them an introduction to formulation chemistry.

Outside of the group sessions pupils could see the latest 3D printers, a brand new electron microscope and learn how cage molecules designed within the MIF can be used to address real world problems.

Pupils also had the opportunity to visit the Unilever laboratories within the MIF, to find out about how robotics are used in the development their products.

There was also a session delivered by Croda International, the first company to take up residency in the MIF’s Research Hotel which used a pumping system to demonstrate the principles of heat transfer.

Dr Jon Mercer, from the Materials Innovation Factory who helped organise the day, said: “One of our key objectives is to develop the next generation of researchers; reaching out to local schools is an essential element of this.

“Both pupils and staff had a fantastic day and from informal feedback several students told us it has opened their eyes to careers in science, which is exactly what we wanted to achieve.  It was great to work with colleagues from other departments across campus and our industrial partners Croda and Unilever to deliver this event which was a real team effort.”

The MIF is a 11,000m² facility that brings together world-leading, multi-disciplinary research expertise, unparalleled technical facilities and a dynamic support infrastructure.

The event was instigated by Shaping Futures, which is part of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), which is funded by the Office for Students and supported by the Department for Education.

It is a partnership of 12 Higher Education providers who work together to deliver higher education related progression activities and information to local 14-18 year old young people.  Shaping Futures aims to increase educational aspirations across Liverpool City Region and support teenagers to make the right choices that can open the doors to higher education.


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