Find out more about the scheme on the Axe Valley biodiesel website.

Our work with schools and colleges

Partnerships with schools

We are always interested to hear from schools who want to develop closer partnerships with Biosciences.

We have experience of a successfully securing funding to work with local schools from organizations such as the Sutton Trust, the Royal Society and the Society for General Microbiology. Please contact Dr Nicky King for more details.

In the summer of 2015 we were successful in securing two different funded projects.

Small World Initiative, with SGM and Newton Abbot College

With Newton Abbot College we won a grant from the Society for General Microbiology which aims to engage students with the problems surrounding drug resistance and drug discovery. The Small World Initiative will support teachers in providing practical lessons with links to the wider curriculum whilst giving school students the opportunity to take part in ‘hands-on’ research.

Antibiotic resistance is an issue of global importance, and the Small World Initiative provides an excellent and unique opportunity for young people to learn about the processes involved in scientific research, while taking part in a global initiative to discover new antibiotics from soil bacteria. We are one of seven school partnerships chosen to join this exciting new venture into the world of drug discovery.

Paul Cornish, Principal at Newton Abbot College, said “This is an unbelievable opportunity for our students. All subjects, but especially Science, are learned best when grounded in real-life application. This opportunity to work with top scientists in their field and a Russell group University such as Exeter will excite and inspire the young people involved. ”.

Students will sample a soil of their choice and take part in a series of laboratory sessions looking for new antibacterial compounds. The initiative aims to inspire students to consider a career in science, to study at top research led universities such as Exeter, and to increase the scientific literacy of all students involved.

Tracking Lyme Disease in Dorset, with Thomas Hardye School and the Royal Society

In a project funded by a Royal Society Partnership Grant staff and undergraduates from Biosciences will also be working with pupils from Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester on a new study to explore the distribution of Lyme disease in the region.

Local vets and wildlife trusts are collecting animal ticks for the school pupils who will use the latest laboratory techniques to reveal the ticks’ genetic fingerprints and be used to map the distribution of ticks in Dorset to investigate their role in the spread of Lyme disease.

Blood-sucking ticks have resulted in a recent rise in Lyme disease in humans, with 2,000-3,000 new cases estimated in England and Wales each year. Lyme disease can often be treated effectively if it is detected early but if treatment is delayed there is a risk of long-lasting neurological problems and chronic pain.

Ticks carrying Borrelia Spirochaetes - the bacteria that cause Lyme disease - are thought to be widely distributed in Dorset. The project will investigate the distribution of Borrelia DNA within Dorset ticks, and aims to correlate the occurrence of Borrelia with specific types of tick.

Previous Projects

In 2008 Biosciences and Axe Valley Community College won a Royal Society Partnership Grant to set up a student-run business producing biodiesel from waste vegetable oil, along with partners from a number of other local businesses. This hugely successful collaboration featured at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition and similar projects have now been started at other local schools.

An article on the project by Dr Nicky King was published in the RSC journal ‘Education in Chemistry’.

In 2011 we once again won a Royal Society Partnership Grant, with Colyton Grammar School. Life in the Vines was a collaboration between the us, Colyton Grammar School, and Silverton Vineyard, where students researched the biodiversity of local vineyards making an important contribution to preserving species in the countryside where they lived

From 2007-2010 we worked with secondary schools in Exeter and the Sutton Trust on a project called ‘Excited about Science’ to encourage gifted and talented students from disadvantaged back grounds to continue to study science and learn more about higher education.