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Queen Mary encourages students to undertake careers in chemistry

Queen Mary University of London hosted the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Schools' Analyst Competition, providing secondary school students with an experience of practical chemistry in higher education.

6 March 2019

The 63 students that took part in the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Schools’ Analyst Competition (SAC’19) in the Joseph Priestley building of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
The 63 students that took part in the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Schools’ Analyst Competition (SAC’19) in the Joseph Priestley building of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The competition enables the students to use analytical equipment not usually available in their schools to gain additional laboratory skills and apply their knowledge of chemistry to solve problems.

21 teams of students from London and beyond travelled to Queen Mary to take part in the South East Regional heat of the RSC Schools' Analyst Competition in late February.

Core science subject

Dr Tippu Sheriff from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said: “Organising this event stems from my passion for chemistry and my hope that more young people may choose to study chemistry in higher education.

“Chemistry is an underpinning and core science subject that provides students with the broadest possible foundation and skills for careers in a whole host of areas in science and outside of science including the financial sector.”

The competition was held in the newly refurbished state of the art undergraduate Chemistry teaching laboratory. The lab, located in the Joseph Priestley Building at Queen Mary’s Mile End campus, recently benefitted from a £5.2 million investment.

Wallington County Grammar School won the competition and their team has been invited to attend the national final in June to compete for the Challenge Shield. The London Academy of Excellence were runners-up, followed by Sutton Grammar School in third place.

‘A truly inspiring opportunity’

Sam Lampugnani, Head of Chemistry at Cooper's School, said: “My students were extremely happy with what they did on the day, even with those bits that they found quite challenging at times.

“A lot of A-level students never get to practice in a proper lab, so I thought it was a truly inspiring opportunity for them." 

David Dickinson from Tonbridge School, said: “The three boys really enjoyed the day and were discussing it all the way back to Tonbridge.”

The event is sponsored by the Analytical Division (AD) of the RSC through the Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund (ACTF) set up by David Perrett, Professor of Bioanalytical Science at the William Harvey Institute in Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry. 

Chemistry at Queen Mary

Dr Sheriff is a STEM Ambassador, Outreach coordinator for the Department of Chemistry and undertakes over 100 hours of chemistry outreach per year including work with schools in disadvantaged areas of east London.

Working with colleagues, Dr Lesley Howell, Dr Giorgio Chiancello and Dr Zoe Wilson, Dr Sheriff encourages careers in science and especially chemistry through taster days, lecture and demonstrations, spectroscopy masterclasses, the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry and the Festival of Communities.

He said: “I think that Queen Mary is a great place to study chemistry with its beautiful campus in the heart of London in a department that is both dynamic in its outlook and friendly.”

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