SScotCHEM CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGE: Scientists, Schools & Sustainability

Chemistry Week (1-12 November) is an annual celebration of the chemical sciences. This year, to coincide with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1-12 November 2021, Chemistry Week will last for the full 12 days of the Conference.

The ScotCHEM CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGE: Scientists, Schools & Sustainability will align with the activities of COP26 and Chemistry Week 2021 – with a theme of sustainability.

ScotCHEM represents chemistry research in Scotland – across universities
and connecting with industry, government and, most importantly, education.

ScotCHEM invite entries for a challenge to prepare public engagement material aimed at primary school pupils in Scotland.  Centred around the issue of sustainability and climate change, this material should promote the role of chemistry in driving solutions to climate change as well as promote chemistry as a science and as a career for primary school aged children.

The outcome of the challenge is to provide a sound scientific basis to better understand climate change and advances towards sustainability, for primary school pupils.

Creating a link to COP26 will provide opportunities for engagement with this major event being hosted in Scotland.

The project will also provide on-going curriculum-linked resources that can be used well beyond the duration of the challenge itself, thereby creating a longer-lasting legacy and extending the reach of the activity.

Through the national remit of ScotCHEM and by working closely with Education Scotland, we hope to increase the number of chemists actively participating in meaningful school engagement across Scotland.

The challenge is open to researchers within ScotCHEM member departments, at any career level (PhD to Professor).

The following topics/questions have been identified as being of particular interest and relevance to primary school pupils regarding climate change.

• What is climate change – busting the myths?
• What am I, as a researcher, doing to tackle climate change?
• What can you, as a young person, do to help tackle climate change?

Submissions should be either a short (3-5 minute) video or short PowerPoint presentation that answers one or more of these questions, keeping the overall theme of sustainability in mind.

Submissions should also align with the Scottish curriculum.

Winning entries will be showcased throughout Scotland, via Education Scotland and ScotCHEM channels, to primary schools and to the public during Chemistry Week 2021.

The winners will also receive a £1000 prize (one per theme) which can be used for the following:
• Further public engagement activities related to chemistry and climate change
• Developing new research under the theme of sustainability
• Improving the sustainability of their research

In addition, any engagement resources judged to be excellent by our panel will be brought together to create a resource for Scottish schools to access when talking about sustainability and climate change. These resources will be made available through Education Scotland’s online platform as well as ScotCHEM’s YouTube channel.

The challenge is open to all postgraduate researchers and staff within ScotCHEM member departments, at any career stage.

Deadline for Challenge submissions 5pm Friday 15th October 2021.
Review of challenge entries by schools 21st – 28th October
Challenge winners announced 29th October
Showcasing of winners during Chemistry
Week 2021 1st – 12th November

Entry forms should be submitted by email to
Entries must be received by 1700 Friday 15th October.
Enquiries to Dr Alan Wiles (Director of Operations ScotCHEM)

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