GSK and the McLaren Group announce national science education initiative to inspire young people into science and engineering careers
Young people are being challenged to help the McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team get a racing head start this year as part of a new competition launched today by GSK and the McLaren Group
The ‘Pit Stop Challenge’ is open to students aged 11-14 across the UK and forms part of GSK’s science education programme, Scientists in Sport, which aims to use the power and excitement of sport to explain how science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects can lead to both exciting careers and sporting success.
As part of GSK’s strategic partnership with the McLaren Group, this science education initiative incorporates activities that look at the science behind Formula 1TM. The Pit Stop Challenge is championed by the McLaren Mercedes F1 team, who have challenged schools to use science to help their pit crew give their best performance at every race.
GSK President of Global Manufacturing and Supply, Roger Connor, said: “Young people in the UK have a great enthusiasm for practical, hands-on science. Through our education and training programmes we want to harness and build that initial enthusiasm and encourage young people to really think about where a career in science could take them. As a science-led organisation, we are passionate about supporting the next generation of scientists who can drive forward the UK’s science base. And by teaming up with the McLaren Group to develop this exciting programme, we’re confident that we have created something very special for students.”
McLaren Mercedes team principal and Chief Executive of the McLaren Group, Martin Whitmarsh, said: “Today’s students are the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. They will tackle the global challenges of the 21st century and in so doing, will change the world. But unfortunately not enough young people realise just how exciting, creative and varied jobs in science and engineering can be and we are letting invaluable talent slip away as a result. Hopefully we can use the excitement and drama of Formula 1 to demonstrate that today’s careers in science and engineering are very different from the old stereotypes and we can encourage more young people to choose STEM subjects.”
The Pit Stop Challenge will encourage students to investigate how science can help the McLaren Mercedes Formula 1TM pit crew team address some of the issues that affect their performance as they travel across the globe during the Grand Prix season. The team routinely faces problems of jet lag, sleep deprivation, heat and humidity, and not drinking enough water. The pit crew team have a crucial role to play in helping the driver win races – the quicker they work, the faster cars are back on the racetrack.
The competition finalists will present to a panel of judges at GSK’s new Human Performance Lab (HPL), which is a research facility set up to work with professional athletes, sports National Governing Bodies, sports teams, military personal and extreme explorers to better understand how the body and brain function. The winning team will have an exclusive opportunity to visit the McLaren Technology Centre, where the McLaren Mercedes F1 team trains.
The Scientists in Sport programme fully supports the science curriculum for 11-14 year olds and provides teachers with resources, including interactive activities, lesson plans and lab ideas, and worksheets for use to help bring STEM to life in the classroom via a dedicated website. GSK also has hundreds of UK-based employees who are STEM ambassadors. They work in partnership with teachers helping to bring real life science from their many different roles and areas of expertise to schools through engaging sessions.
Teachers who want their schools to sign up for Scientists in Sport or the Pit Stop Challenge should visit www.scientistsinsport.com