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Professor Brian Cox leads action-packed Brooklands Innovation Academy

Posted on 13 Oct 2023 and read 423 times
Professor Brian Cox leads action-packed Brooklands Innovation AcademyBrooklands Innovation Academy recently invited 400 students, aged 12-14, to take part in an action-packed day of ‘hands-on’ science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) themed activities. Led by Professor Brian Cox, a key partner in the national Science Summer School programme for the second year running, Brooklands Innovation Academy 2023 inspired and captured the imaginations of students from across the region.

The Academy makes the most of Brooklands’ unique history of innovation, engineering, entrepreneurship and science. Combining lessons from the past with a vast variety of modern STEM education workshops and insightful guest speakers, the event brings together industry leaders, multi-national businesses, academics, and innovators. An overarching focus on ‘learning by doing’ has been designed to keep students engaged and to ‘light a spark of curiosity’, while providing practical experience and guidance for Britain’s future engineers and scientists.

The students were organised into groups of 10 and rotated through a selection of 20 workshops and six guest speakers — one of the most comprehensive and expansive single-day education events in the UK. The workshops were hosted by Brooklands Museum and a number of well-known industry partners, including Haleon, McLaren F1, Airbus, British Airways, Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Workshops covered everything from sustainable pipelines to pilot training, safety testing Formula One components, fighting plastic pollution, and saving lives with healthcare.

The day’s focus was on preparing for — and addressing — future challenges such as advanced medicine, transportation, sustainable manufacturing, and the climate crisis. The Academy’s guest speakers come from diverse backgrounds, from emergency medicine, academic science, and motorsport engineering through to Kirsty Murphy, the first (and currently, only) female pilot to fly with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic team, The Red Arrows. Both parts of the day included an inspiring address from Professor Cox.

HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh also participated in the day. She spoke to the students on the importance of STEM careers and participated in Haleon’s toothpaste workshop with Professor Cox. The Duchess also took part in the Heritage Skills Academy workshop and addressed students from Nightingale, the F1 in Schools Team.

Brooklands Innovation Academy is part of the national Science Summer School programme, co-founded by Professor Cox and Lord Andrew Mawson, and managed by Well North Enterprises.

Brooklands pic 2Professor Brian Cox said: “This year’s Brooklands Innovation Academy has been even more impactful than last year. The inaugural Academy carved out a unique space where young minds delved into pressing global dilemmas. This year, the programme was magnified in scope, igniting the curiosity of an even larger cohort of future STEM leaders.

“The stories of Brooklands serve as an unparalleled backdrop for these gatherings. Its legacy is one of audacious engineering feats and a quintessentially British spirit of adventure. The trailblazers who once roamed its grounds — architects of future aviation and automotive technologies — were doers, not just deliberators. This has been a wonderful day, combining history with modern science and engineering to give students a brilliant insight into incredible STEM possibilities.”

Tamalie Newbery, director and CEO, Brooklands Museum, said: “We are thrilled to have once again welcomed 400 students to Brooklands Museum for the Brooklands Innovation Academy. We are delighted to have demonstrated, and drawn upon, the site’s legacy of innovation to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The Brooklands Innovation Academy is becoming a key event in the nation’s educational calendar, enabling and inspiring the UK’s future problem solvers. Last year’s event had a significant positive impact on students, bolstered by the involvement of leading businesses and guest speakers. We expanded the scope of the programme this year to reach even more students, further solidifying its role in national STEM education.”