GSK launches London 2012 initiative with King’s College London to inspire young people into science careers

At the launch of the new 'Scientists in Sport' education programme designed to inspire young people into a range of scientific careers, a study has found that eight out of 10 secondary school pupils are now worried about getting a job in the future.
  • Programme launches as research shows 8 out of 10 secondary school pupils are worried about getting a job

Issued: Tuesday 22 March 2011, London UK

At the launch of the new ‘Scientists in Sport’ education programme designed to inspire young people into a range of scientific careers, a study has found that eight out of 10 secondary school pupils are now worried about getting a job in the future.

The study asked 1,000 11-16 year olds across the UK about their career and education aspirations. When asked specifically about science – 80% of young people stated that they ‘enjoyed’ science lessons but only 2 per cent aspired to a career in science. This is despite the UK being Europe’s top location for investment in pharmaceutical and biotechnology research and development.

The results are released on the day that London 2012 partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and King’s College London, a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory, launch a nationwide ‘Scientists in Sport’ schools outreach programme.  

The programme comprises a series of free events running between now and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. These events offer local school children the opportunity to experience a day at a university and through a series of sports based lectures and interactive workshops aims to encourage 11-14 year old students to take their science studies further and consider a career in science.

Further events will be held at universities across the UK including Loughborough, Liverpool John Moores, Exeter and Bedfordshire and will be delivered by faculty staff, student ambassadors and GSK scientists.

‘Scientists in Sport’ will showcase how science will be used during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games - from anti-doping drug tests to understanding how eye tracker scanning could improve how football teams perform in penalty shoot outs. 

The programme launch follows GSK’s recent commitment to encourage the very best graduates, including science graduates, into careers at the company by reimbursing 100 per cent of uncapped tuition fees for all undergraduates recruited in the UK from September 2012.

GSK Director of Academic Liaison, Malcolm Skingle, CBE, said:

“Young people in the UK clearly have an enthusiasm for practical, hands-on science. ‘Scientists in Sport’ demonstrates how business and academia can work together to harness that initial enthusiasm and encourage more young people to study science at university. This should help deliver the science graduates who can drive forward the UK’s science base and provide potential recruits for academia and researched based organisations like GSK. Our London 2012 partnership has inspired us to strengthen our relationship with King’s College London and create a unique programme to support science education together.”

Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, said:

“Science will play a crucial part in the London 2012 Games, from the training and nutrition programmes which keep the athletes at peak performance to the anti-doping tests which will help to make the Games as clean as possible. The GlaxoSmithKline ‘Scientists in Sport’ programme is a great way for young people across the UK to learn about the science behind the Games and open their eyes to the huge array of scientific careers both on the track and in the lab.”

Professor Roger Morris, Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences at King’s College London, said:

“We are delighted to work with GSK in developing the national ‘Scientists in Sport’ programme, which we are launching today at King’s College London. It is vital to get more bright pupils interested in science as a career. The science underlying elite levels of performance, and detection of drug cheats, provides a unique opportunity to engage pupils with hands-on experiments, and meet and hear King’s experts explain how they will monitor athletes at the London 2012 Games. The aim of today is to inspire students to work for strong science ‘A’ levels now, in order to be able to study at leading research universities such as King’s.”

Andy Parkinson, Chief Executive UK Anti-Doping, said:

“UK Anti-Doping is delighted to join forces with GSK and King’s College London and to be involved in the Scientists in Sport programme. The fight against doping will only be won through instilling the values of clean sport in young athletes and utilising cutting edge scientific techniques to catch those that are determined to cheat.”

A new website (www.scientistsinsport.com) will give teachers and students across the UK the instructions and resources to replicate the experiments in their own classrooms to inspire the next generation of expert scientists.

‘Scientists in Sport’ is funded by GSK and was inspired by its London 2012 partnership. As Official Laboratory Services Provider for London 2012, GSK has formed a partnership with King’s College London to provide facilities and equipment to enable King’s College London to operate a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory during the London 2012 Games.

The ‘Scientists in Sport’ programme is supported by UK Anti-Doping which is delivering an anti-doping debate workshop as part of the series. UK Anti-Doping is the national body responsible for the implementation and management of the UK’s anti-doping policy mission is to protect the rights of athletes to compete in drug-free sport.

Notes to editors

  1. The sample was drawn at random from a UK panel of children at secondary school.  One thousand 11 to 16 year olds participated in the research from 4th - 13th March 2011
  2. The ‘Scientists in Sport’ events will be held in universities across the UK over the next 18 months including King’s College London, Bedford, Exeter, Liverpool and Loughborough.
  3. More than 100 children are attending the King’s College, London event on Tuesday, March 22nd from a range of schools across South London.

GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.  For further information please visit www.gsk.com.

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