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Primary Health Science conference returns to IGFS

The Institute for Global Food Security was pleased to welcome back the Primary Health Sciences (PHS) Conference for its third year. 250 primary-school pupils were invited to Queen’s University and the event was attended by over 300 people.

The PHS programme aims for scientists from academia 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. Dr Lisa Connolly from IGFS has played a key role in developing the programme, visiting primary schools, talking to pupils and introducing them to science. As a result of this work, she then developed the idea of a PHS conference whereby the primary-school pupils could experience hands-on a university science environment.

The event aims to give valuable insight to all pupils including those who may hold negative misconceptions about university life or consider university out of their reach. It also allows the student to meet and converse with 'real-life scientists', demystifying scientific research and increasing the apprciation of its relevance to, and place in, everyday life.

This year's event, held in May, proved to be a great success. Pupils were invited to present a 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 but very practical demonstrations.

MHLS would like to thank all the staff, students, teachers, classroom assistants and parents who contributed to such asuccessful and informative day and to safefood for supporting the event.

Participating schools were: Andrews Memorial Primary School; St Joseph’s Primary School (Carryduff); Round Tower Integrated Primary; St Eunan’s National School (Raphoe); Dundonald Primary School; St Patrick’s Primary School (Enniskillen); Dungannon Primary School; St John’s Primary School (Carnlough); Lisburn Central Primary School.