First Reckitt Festival of Science inspires next generation

Pupils from Mersey Primary Academy completed hands-on science workshops as part of the Festival of Science. They met Dr Bruce Charlesworth, Chief Medical Officer and Campus Lead at Reckitt, Dr Angela Naef, Chief R&D Officer at Reckitt, both pictured front, and other members of the company’s Global Research and Development (R&D) Team.

World-leading health, hygiene and nutrition business Reckitt has welcomed dozens of young people to its first ever Festival of Science, to inspire a future generation of scientists.

Budding scientists from across Hull and East Yorkshire took part in challenges and workshops at Reckitt’s £105m Science and Innovation Centre at its Hull Campus.

The festival was backed by a significant donation from The Sir James Reckitt Charity, which was founded over 100 years ago by industrialist, Quaker and philanthropist Sir James using shares in Reckitt & Sons Ltd.

The event aimed to showcase careers in science, technology and engineering and inspire young people to be the scientists and industry leaders of the future.

Dr Bruce Charlesworth, Chief Medical Officer and Hull Campus Lead at Reckitt, said: “The importance of the Festival of Science is two-fold. It’s linked to the Reckitt legacy, heritage and Quaker ethos of giving back to the community.

“It also helps prepare young people for the world of employment and gives them opportunities they may not otherwise have.

“We owe it to Sir James to continue his legacy and we appreciate the considerable donation from the charity that carries his name, which has supported this Festival of Science.”

Pupils from Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) and Mersey Primary Academy – the school closest to Reckitt’s Hull Campus – took part in the Festival of Science.

Mersey Primary Academy is part of Garden Village which was built by Sir James Reckitt and opened in 1908.

In partnership with Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s University, 30 Year 5 pupils from the school took part in hands-on science workshops and met Reckitt scientists.

They were also challenged to develop a new product or change an element of an existing Reckitt product.

The winning duo, Violet Birjoo and Amelia Dockerty, both 10, designed a “magic medicine lolly” to encourage children who don’t like taking medicine to do so.

The school will also benefit from £3,000 from The Sir James Reckitt Charity to create a science club and support other activities.

The Sir James Reckitt Charity has donated more than £30m to good causes since its inception more than 100 years ago.

Becky Holt, Trustee of The Sir James Reckitt Charity and great great granddaughter of Sir James, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support this event and proud to be able to continue Sir James’ legacy, connecting with our communities as a family.

“We have a foot in the past with our history and ancestry, but we’re very much focused on the future and helping to inspire and support young people.”

Reckitt is a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and students were set a “Healthier Planet” challenge based on sustainability.

Three teams of three Year 12 students created a proposal for how a Reckitt product, brand or supply process could be developed to help the company meet its commitments in creating a healthier planet. They presented their ideas to Reckitt’s Global Research and Development (R&D) Leadership Team.

The winning team, comprising of Scarlet Wedgner, 17, Tohru Laybourne, 16, and Imogen Connolly, 17, focused on how Reckitt could potentially enhance its renewable energy approach using wind turbines and solar panels. They were presented with the first ever Sir James Reckitt Future Scientist Award.

The Ron Dearing UTC students were awarded a £3,000 donation from The Sir James Reckitt Charity to further support the school’s employability activities and will be given the chance to continue working with Reckitt to develop their ideas.

The Festival of Science was part of the inaugural Science Inside Symposium, a two-day broader programme of activities which recognised scientific talent across Reckitt and showcased the company’s brands and products.

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