• The Institute for Research in Schools was launched in March 2016 and is now celebrating its first year
• It currently works with over 300 schools in the UK and internationally to facilitate student-led research projects and empower teachers in STEM
• IRIS has launched over 10 projects this year, including TimPix, a project run in association with the UK Space Agency that was recently promoted by NASA to schools in the US
March 2017: This month marks a year since The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS), a UK registered charity promoting and supporting authentic research and enquiry in schools, formally launched at the IMAX Theatre at the Science Museum in London. Within its first year, IRIS has captured the attention of schools and researchers both in the UK and internationally.
IRIS was established to enable students to get hands-on with real-life experiments, and involved in authentic academic research, initially within science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), but it will soon expand to include the arts and humanities.
The institute currently works with over 300 schools in the UK and abroad to facilitate student-led research projects and empowers teachers in STEM through its bespoke accredited continuing professional development (CPD) programmes, downloadable classroom material and dedicated staff.
The main aim of IRIS is to develop students’ aspiration, confidence, continuation of involvement, contribution to genuine research, collaboration and enjoyment of science, and it has a focus on encouraging more female students to get involved with STEM.
Currently, IRIS has a number of national research projects taking place with the involvement of many schools, including Slug It!, a collaborative experiment with the Royal Horticultural Society that’s exploring the UK Slug population and use of chemicals; Higgs Hunting that was launch by Peter Higgs and tasks students to search for Baby Higgs – particles similar to the Higgs Boson; and TimPix that’s supported by the UK Space Agency and seeks to measure the background radiation field on the International Space Station. The TimPix project was recently promoted by NASA to schools in the US.
Steve Greenwood, director of operations at IRIS, said: “Our first year has been truly remarkable. We’ve launched a number of projects that schools across the globe are a part of and because of the truly ground-breaking nature of the projects, they’ve gained the attention of schools and academics internationally. IRIS will also launch several more projects in the near future, including a project in association with Transport for London (TFL) that will look into travel across London.
“We are proud to work with so many pioneering research organisations in the delivery of our projects. Our aim is to enthuse the students of today in STEM by enabling them to get hands-on with real-world scientific discovery and the projects in our first year alone have inspired hundreds of students across the world. We can’t wait to launch more research projects and expand into the arts and humanities.”
To find out more about The Institute for Research in Schools, visit www.researchinschools.org
To take part in a project, visit www.researchinschools.org/join-in