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Innovative Research to Inspire Next Generation of Welsh Scientists

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Cardiff school children are being inspired by science whilst supporting cutting edge research into how the pollination of certain plants, could lead to the development of drugs to treat serious medical conditions.

In partnership with Cardiff Council and Willmott Dixon, Cardiff University has embarked on delivering an innovative school outreach programme which aims to inspire the next generation of Welsh scientists, promote the take-up of STEM subjects and help keep Cardiff a green and pleasant city.

As part of this exciting collaboration, Apothecary Bees, led by Professor Les Baillie of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, will introduce pupils to the award-winning Pharmabees project which aims to encourage the production of super-honey and aid research by placing bee hives around the city. School children will learn about the importance of bees and other pollinators, the medicinal properties of honey and its potential to treat antibiotic resistance hospital superbugs.

So far nine bee hives or bug houses have been placed in Cardiff schools, highlighting the importance that these creatures have in an urban environment whilst helping to establish a bee friendly city. The initiative is supported by age appropriate activity and teaching materials spanning over the key stages, to inspire young scientists and encourage students and their parents to transform their neighborhoods into more bee friendly places.

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said:

“The primary aim of this exciting partnership project is to help our younger generation to be inspired and enthused by science. In particular, the insight into the PharmaBees project, enables our children to understand the importance of pollinators and biodiversity by providing first-hand experiences which they can understand and learn from. The knowledge gained through the science sessions can then be passed onto their families and communities to help make Cardiff a bee-friendly city.

“We know that time spent outdoors and in green spaces helps to promote health and well-being so by creating bee-friendly environments, we can help make Cardiff a better place to work and live.”

Professor Les Baillie said:

“As an integral part of the city, the university is working with our neighbors to inspire the next generation of Welsh scientists and ensure that the city remains a green and pleasant place to live.

The school engagement programme is in partnership with Wilmot Dixon and Cardiff Commitment which will provide a range of activities and science experiments to inspire children.

Cllr Merry added:

“Cardiff University is part of the Cardiff Commitment and the work and expertise provided by them, demonstrates how the project can successfully provide a link between the city’s children and young people and some of Cardiff’s work and employment opportunities.”

Willmott Dixon’s Principle Sustainable Development Lead, Jo Charles said:

“We are delighted to be involved in this project as it resonates strongly with our values as a business. We believe that we have a purpose beyond profit; we seek to create value for our communities and strive to find new ways to improve social mobility in the communities’ local to our projects and contracts. That is why we have set ourselves a target to enhance the life chances of 10,000 young people by 2020.

“We hope that this project will inspire young people about the diverse range of opportunities that studying STEM subjects can offer, including those in construction.”

The Cardiff Commitment is a vision that the public, private and third sectors will work in partnership to connect children and young people to the vast range of opportunities available in the world of work. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that all young people in the city eventually secure a job that enables them to reach their full potential whilst contributing to the economic growth of the city.

For more information about the bee project: go to https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/pharmabees