Students from Milton Keynes inspired by university research project

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Students are pondering their future work opportunities since participating in a project which gave them an insight into the career possibilities that exist in research and in the sciences.

The Denbigh Teaching School Alliance and the Open University have successfully joined forces over the last four years to offer young people from MK schools the unique opportunity to work with OU researchers on contemporary research activities.

The School-University Partnership Initiative (SUPI) organised four types of activity - open lectures, open dialogues, open inquiry and open creativity. Sessions included research cafes, maths resilience workshops and science, technology, engineering and mathematics lectures.

More than 6,500 students got involved in the Engaging Opportunities project, a number which surpassed the SUPI’s original target. The project also benefited the teaching staff who developed their external links with the academic community.

The SUPI project began when Denbigh headteacher Andy Squires and the OU’s Academic Lead for Engaged Research Professor Richard Holliman discovered a shared vision for school-university engagement and subsequently launched the Engaging Opportunities project in 2013. The four-year project was funded by Research Councils UK and a report, ‘Engaging Opportunities, Connecting Young People with Contemporary Research and Researchers’, has been published following its completion.