Brooklands Innovation Academy inspires 400 STEM students

Engineers and scientists from organisations like McLaren F1, Airbus, the NHS, and Haleon, joined over 400 students for the first-ever Brooklands Innovation Academy. Part of the National Science Summer School programme, co-founded by Professor Brian Cox CBE and Lord Andrew Mawson OBE, the all-day event celebrated innovation, human endeavour, and entrepreneurship.

 Held at Brooklands Museum on 29 November, the Brooklands Innovation Academy brought together more than 70 experts in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) fields and highlighted the exciting opportunities and challenges in sectors ranging from MedTech and motorsport through to aerospace and robotics. It began with a warm and exciting welcome from Ruth Amos, inventor, and entrepreneur, discussing the drive for innovation and the diversity of opportunities within STEM fields. This was followed by a particularly special video keynote address from Professor Brian Cox, who gave an 18-minute talk, titled ‘The origins of the universe, cosmology, and black holes’.

The students were then divided into 40 groups of 10, each with a particular agenda for the day. With 20 different workshops and 10 guest speakers, it was a fantastic opportunity for many of the students to ‘learn by doing’ in an immersive environment. Each workshop was designed to give students a better understanding of working in a STEM field through first-hand experience, with all the requirements for problem-solving, teamwork, ingenuity, and tenacity. Engineers from McLaren F1 led a workshop about aerodynamic design and materials while the team from Bloodhound Education looked at the physics behind the 1,000mph land speed record car. The NHS and Bayer hosted workshops around careers in health, including a giant inflatable heart that students could climb through. Airbus discussed lunar moon landers and aircraft design while Brooklands College got students to conduct a race car pitstop and solve a simulated forensic crime scene investigation.

A number of guest speakers entertained and informed students, including World Land Speed Record holder Andy Green OBE and Kirsty Murphy MBE, the first female Red Arrow pilot. The day also provided students with an opportunity to learn more about the rich history of Brooklands within aviation and motor racing, understanding innovations of the past while actively learning about the challenges and technologies of today.

The National Science Summer School programme was co-founded by Professor Brian Cox CBE and Lord Andrew Mawson OBE with and is managed by Well North Enterprises. Brooklands Innovation Academy was delivered in close partnership with the Bourne Education Trust, including a teacher seconded to the Museum for a year, and supported by many leading businesses and donors. It would not have been possible without the valuable assistance of Surrey County Council, the NHS, the NW Surrey Alliance and Brooklands Museum’s partnership with Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital, as well as support from Haleon, who are the lead sponsor and whose early investment enabled the Innovation Academy to get off the ground.

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