Press release

PHE scientists lead science workshops for 1,800 pupils

In British Science Week, children across England are joining in workshops run by Public Health England (PHE) to inspire them to consider a career in science.

Scientist injecting a tomato

As part of this year’s British Science Week, 1,800 pupils from 10 schools across England are being given the opportunity to take part in interactive science workshops hosted by Public Health England (PHE) scientists.

From pupils extracting DNA from their own cells using household products, to a science and health-related game of Pictionary and quizzes on air pollution, the aim of these workshops is to inspire the young people to consider a career in science and showcase the variety of areas within science they could pursue.

British Science Week is an annual 10-day event, with this year being its 24th year running. It encourages organisations, professionals in the science sector, science communicators and the general public to hold events that get people involved in scientific activities.

This year, PHE is expanding its reach to 10 schools across 3 regions: the North (Manchester, Salford), South West (Bristol, Cheltenham and Torquay) and South East (Harlow). During the week, there will be 25 PHE scientists leading interactive science workshops for pupils aged 13 to 14 years old.

The scientists taking part specialise in a range of disciplines, including toxicology, microbiology, environmental public health, microscopy, vaccine research and epidemiology.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE said:

It’s important that the current generation of scientists informs and inspires the next generation, and shows young people the range of routes and opportunities they can pursue within world-leading UK science. We are thankful for the scientists taking part in British Science Week workshops across the country, and hope that their efforts encourage the pupils to consider a career in science as a viable and exciting option.

Sarah Robertson, Senior Environmental Health Scientist at PHE said:

I speak for all of the scientists involved when I say that we are excited to take part in British Science Week and showcase just a few of the many disciplines within science to the students. Although a large proportion of our time is dedicated to research, outreach work such as these interactive workshops is also our responsibility, particularly to highlight the breadth of our roles to young people. Science and research are imperative in our world and we must ensure that the future workforce continues to be made up of talented and passionate individuals.

PHE is in the process of creating a world-leading centre of excellence for public health research, improvement and protection, and a new headquarters, at the vacant GlaxoSmithKline site in Harlow. This will involve relocating facilities from Porton in Wiltshire and Colindale in north London, as well as the current central London headquarters. PHE Harlow is expected to be fully operational by 2024.

Public Health England press office


  1. British Science Week is an annual event and in 2018 takes place between 9 to 18 March.
  2. Schools attending the sessions are:
    • Burnt Mill Academy
    • Forest Hall School
    • Mark Hall Academy
    • Stewards Academy
    • Passmores Academy
    • Torquay Academy
    • Fairfield School
    • All Saints’ Academy
    • All Hallows R.C. High School
    • Walkden High School
  3. Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. We do this through world-leading science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and providing specialist public health services. We are an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, and a distinct organisation with operational autonomy. We provide government, local government, the NHS, Parliament, industry and the public with evidence-based professional, scientific expertise and support. Follow us on Twitter: @PHE_uk and Facebook:
Published 12 March 2018