The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS)

The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) is a new national charity which aims to release the potential of young people at school to contribute at the forefront of science and technology. We encourage and enable secondary schools across the UK to involve their students in authentic scientific research.

Students are bold, prepared to take risks and think outside the box. IRIS aims to support teachers so they can release their students to do real science. We provide training courses, material and exemplar activities so that they can get started on projects and analysis with their students. We are developing this across a number of programmes including space science, particle physics, material science, transport, marine science and biomedical science. As well as inspiring the scientists, engineers and scientifically aware citizens of the future, teachers can reconnect with their subject and rise above the constraints of teaching to the test.

We have a number of national research projects running now, including LUCID, the Langton Ultimate Cosmic ray Intensity Detector, a student devised payload on TechDemoSat-1 which uses CERN technology to measure cosmic radiation in Low Earth Orbit. We run biomedical science research projects supported by the Wellcome Trust and our project TimPix, measuring the radiation field on the International Space Station has now been promoted by NASA to US schools https://www.nasa.gov/feature/high-school-students-use-nasa-data-to-analyze-astronaut-radiation-exposure-in-space

We have the support of Lord Martin Rees, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, many universities and industries, and after launching to a full house at the Science Museum in March 2016 we already have 200 schools signing up to get involved. Schools such as St Paul’s Way Trust in Tower Hamlets report increased aspiration and University success with their student researchers.

What will young people will do as a result? – as one of our fifteen year old innovators said ‘Maybe because we are young and still learning we’re not afraid to try new things’.
Professor Larry Pinsky from the University of Houston said at our launch ‘If you can give students the thrill of discovery it will be contagious, it will be addictive!’

2 minute summary of IRIS launch at the Science Museum 3rd March 2016

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