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The Oxford Trust launches Accessing Science Fund to support young people into STEM

May 21st 2024

The Oxford Trust has launched the Accessing Science Fund to improve science learning for children and young people who are less likely to have access to STEM activities and resources in schools and community groups across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

The Fund has been launched as part of the Trust’s fifth anniversary celebration of the opening of the Wood Centre for Innovation and the adjoining Science Oxford Centre in Headington.

The Fund, delivered through The Oxford Trust’s well-established and proven Science Oxford STEM programmes, will specifically raise money with the region’s corporate partners to support schools that have a high percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals and those that have specific barriers and challenges, and community groups with fewer STEM opportunities, for example young carers, refugee family groups and groups working with those who experience socio-economic challenges.

The Oxford Trust will work with companies to raise funds which will be doubled by the Trust up to £30,000 each year.

Opened in May 2019, The Oxford Trust’s Wood Centre for Innovation is now home to eight pioneering science and tech start-up companies, including DJS AntibodiesSamsara TherapeuticsPicturaBio and Helio Display Materials, all of which push the boundaries of research and development with breakthroughs in biotech and advancements in deep tech, driving positive change.

The Science Oxford Centre, the UK’s first integrated indoor-outdoor hands-on science centre for primary and early years children, first opened its doors in May 2019. At the heart of the Centre is the Exploration Zone with its 20+ exhibits that give children the opportunity to experience the excitement of science investigation, experimentation, and discovery. Surrounding the Centre is 15 acres of woodlands, ponds, grassland to explore, where children can learn about and enjoy the natural world.

Windmill Primary in Headington was the first school to visit the Centre in May 2019. Since opening, the Centre has run more than 600 school visits during the week and 240 Family Days on Saturdays.

Windmill School visit to the Science Oxford Centre, 2024

A 5th birthday celebration

Steve Burgess, chief executive officer, The Oxford Trust said: “We are pleased to launch the Accessing Science Fund to celebrate the fifth anniversary since opening the centres.

“The Fund’s aim is to ensure many more children and young people have access to STEM programmes. Our programmes under Science Oxford are run from the Centre and have a wide reach and impact across the region inspiring future generations of scientists.

“Our focus is on going further to help give every child the opportunity to experience the excitement of investigation, exploration, experimentation, and discovery. We show young people that science can be cool, can lead to an amazing career, and can change lives.

“We speak to many science-based companies looking to support children and young people in STEM but they don’t know how to get involved. Our new Accessing Science Fund will bring together our fantastic innovation ecosystem with the young scientists and innovators of the future. We look forward to working with many local businesses to support young people in STEM.”

The Trust is celebrating the fifth anniversary throughout May with a short film about the Science Oxford Centre and a “Big Lunch” with all the science and tech companies which work in the Wood Centre for Innovation.

Find out more about the new Accessing Science Fund: theoxfordtrust.co.uk/accessing-science-fund/


*Feature image: Big Lunch 2024 – L-R: Steve Burgess (CEO, The Oxford Trust), John Boyle (Chair of Trustees); Jo Stevens (MD, Oxford Innovation Space), Imam Monawar Hussain MBE DL (Trustee) under the Ohm sculpture, Wood Centre for Innovation

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