The great EDF Energy Experiment

edf energy 150Five year citizen science initiative launched in partnership between EDF Energy and the British Science Association.

EDF Energy has launched a ground-breaking initiative which aims to inspire over 100,000 children, their parents and teachers to participate in a series of mass participation experiments which will address real scientific questions.

The ‘Great EDF Energy Experiment’ is a five year programme which will be run in partnership with the British Science Association. It builds on EDF Energy’s long-standing commitment to education and aims to inspire children to think differently about STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects by making them more engaging, approachable and relevant.

Over the last five years, EDF Energy has implemented and operated a successful learning and teaching tool with an online resource, ‘The Pod’ which has reached over 10 million school children. Likewise, launch partner the British Science Association, continue to run a number of successful education initiatives including CREST Star, which has been key to engaging primary children with science and encouraging positive opinions of STEM over the last seven years.

The programme will utilise a citizen science approach – the method of using a large number of researchers to each collect a sample of data. By encouraging a little participation from a large number of individuals, the plan is for data to be collected quickly and efficiently to help answer scientific questions. Those taking part will also be able to analyse the findings from their local areas.

In this way pupils, parents and teachers will be encouraged to engage with science in a new way – all whilst delivering a real world insight and scientific research into the impact of climate and environmental change in the UK. By engaging them whilst they are young, the hope is to unlock children’s natural curiosity and passion for science, and help them build the skills needed to put them in good stead for future years.

The first experiment in this five year initiative – The Big Bumblebee Discovery – will launch in Spring 2014, and will be led by ecologists Dr Helen Roy and Dr Michael Pocock from the Centre for Hydrology & Ecology. Examining bumblebee pollination in the UK, the experiment will explore links between behavioural changes and environmental factors.

An audience of stakeholders from the education, energy and science sectors attended today’s launch at the EDF Energy London Eye.

Paul Spence, Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, EDF Energy said, “EDF Energy’s commitment to a sustainable future is only possible if we have generations inspired to study STEM subjects and pursue careers in these industries.

“Through the Great EDF Energy Experiment we want to make science accessible, exciting, and engaging. We hope it will also help encourage more children to consider a career in science when they’re older.”

Katherine Mathieson, Director of Programmes at the British Science Association commented, “The British Science Association has a long history of engaging children with science in fun and unique ways. Working with EDF Energy to launch a new programme of Citizen Science investigations, addressing real scientific questions which relate to climate and environmental changes is a further step in our mission to get kids passionate about science in a long lasting and meaningful way.”

EDF Energy will begin working with ‘The Pod’ partner schools from this week to share more information on the The Great EDF Energy Experiment – The Big Bumblebee Discovery, but if you want to find out how you can be involved, please visit www.beediscovery.org.

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