University sponsors Community Lab to inspire STEM learning and develop skills

 January 30 2019

A unique collaboration between academia and industry, providing hands-on scientific learning opportunities at Discovery Park for local teachers and students, opens a fresh chapter with new sponsor Canterbury Christ Church University.

The Community Lab at Discovery Park, a thriving high quality science park playing a key role in the South East of England’s life sciences community, will help to inspire children into adopting scientific careers and grow the local STEM skills base.

The Community Lab brings together Discovery Park, Canterbury Christ Church University, Pfizer and educational charity STEM Learning to provide local schools with access to the industry standard facilities and equipment normally out of reach in the classroom. Along with a number of other tenants on site, they seek to educate and inspire hundreds of young people to pursue STEM careers. The Community Lab, which is based in Discovery Park’s iconic Building 500, is a key component of the site’s STEM skills offering.

Mayer Schreiber, CEO of Discovery Park said: “This wonderful scheme allows children to come in and catalyse their learning with the support of Pfizer and other scientists working on site. There has always been a strong STEM skills base in the local area, and the Community Lab is part of our commitment to maintain and grow that base. This will provide a talented work force for the kinds of jobs available at Discovery Park and elsewhere in the region, and we thank everyone involved for their support.”

Julian Thompson, Pfizer, Sandwich Site Head, said: “Pfizer is proud to be supporting the Community Lab project at Discovery Park. By providing extra-curriculum resource and expertise the facility will offer local schools the ability to conduct science they are unable to do in their own laboratories.

“We are also delighted to be supporting the relaunch of the facility with help from our scientists in providing teachers with the skills needed to use the lab for teaching purposes. This will give both teachers and students the opportunity to experience hands-on how important and exciting STEM based careers can be, and help to inspire more scientists of the future.”

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, added: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Community Lab at Discovery Park.

“As a University we are strong supporters of widening access to educational opportunities for our local communities and this project will offer local schoolchildren the chance to discover and develop an interest in the important STEM subjects.”

Cllr Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Kent County Council, said: “Kent County Council have always supported Discovery Park and their vision. We witness more exciting innovation with Community Lab as this makes the important bridge between Education and Science. These partnerships really make a difference to the area and the future of our next generation.”

The Community Lab forms part of a wider selection of activities at Discovery Park aimed at encouraging young people to pursue careers in STEM-related subjects.