Blair supports new UK initiative to increase science in schools

June 17, 2002

Brussels, 14 June 2002

A new four-year programme bringing together the UK government, a major pharmaceutical firm and a leading university aims to help improve the science teachings in the country's schools.

A one million GBP (around 1.5 million euro) donation from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will fund the programme, entitled 'Inspire', which will see researchers from Imperial College, London, teaching in schools in and around London.

The programme is part of a wider effort by both public and private organisations to galvanise the UK's science base. The government offers extra cash to those who train to be science teachers and GSK has also expressed a desire to see more young people become scientists. 'Encouraging young people to choose a career in science is fundamental to the continued success of our business,' said GSK spokesperson Jennie Younger.

The UK Prime Minister also welcomed the joint move and said that initiatives like these would have a major effect on both society and the economy. 'The children of today will be our teachers, our scientists and our doctors of tomorrow - by investing in the education of our children now, we are investing in the future of our economy and society,' he said.

The Imperial College researchers will all be post doctorates and will spend half of their time in specialist science schools and the rest of their time studying for a post doctorate teaching qualification. The Rector of Imperial College, Sir Richard Sykes, said that the researchers would act as excellent role models for pupils and would stimulate more interest in science.

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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