A special science day aimed at widening access for young people of refugee and minority ethnic communities, encouraging them to consider the place which science and overall STEM subjects might have in in their lives and educational futures, attracted a range of visiting families.

In science, engineering and technology we need inclusiveness………to generate high quality research.

Dr Kersaudy-Kerhoas

The event, run jointly by Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier Universities and co-hosted by the Multi-Cultural Family Base (MCFB), with funding from the Royal Academy of Edinburgh's Youth Academy of Scotland (RAE YAS), was led by Heriot-Watt's Dr Maïwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas. It was held at the Division of Infection & Pathway Medicine (DIPM) at the University of Edinburgh.

Overseas students studying at the universities gave presentations on their own background, how they got into science, their inspirations and their current field of research, experiences which gave the visitors an insight into different pathways into higher education.

The children then took part in science-related activities, including a wearable technology activity, and got to use real lab equipment called pipette. Through these hands-on activities the volunteers engaged the children and give them a real taste of scientific research.

There was also a lab tour where older visitors observed cells under the microscope, discussed DNA detection technologies and manufactured their own customised mementos using a laser ablation technique.

The event received positive feedback from all the visitors who enjoyed the opportunity to experience scientific research at university. One parent noted “It was a brilliant event to motivate children towards STEM subjects”.

Dr Kersaudy-Kerhoas, who conceived and organised the event, stressed the benefits of widening access to STEM subjects. “In science, engineering and technology we need inclusiveness, as the diversity of thoughts is important to generate high quality research and tackle tomorrow's challenges. A range of scientific breakthroughs across the years have demonstrated this.”