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Posted on 19.01.2015

Students from Sir Roger Manwood’s School in Sandwich have embarked on a six-week science project with AlgaeCytes Ltd., an Algal biotech company based at Discovery Park.

This is the second successive year that sixth form students at the school have visited Europe’s leading science and technology park to work in the professional laboratories on site. The project was funded with a “Partnership Grant - ‘Algae! The answer to our food, pharmaceutical and energy needs?’.” from The Royal Society, which has seen the school partner up with Dr John Dodd and the R&D team of AlgaeCytes Ltd.

The project includes the monitoring and growth of algae with a presentation of the student’s findings at the end. The microbiology techniques that were demonstrated to the students in 2014 have been taken on by the school under Jackie Wilson and Victoria Grist’s supervision. These techniques are usually taught at university level.

Jackie Wilson, biology teacher at Sir Roger Manwood’s School, said “We’re giving the students a real insight into the science industry by allowing them to experience practical work first-hand in a professional laboratory. At the end of the project the students will present their findings here in front of their peers and the AlgaeCytes team, which will give them a real confidence boost.

“It’s a worthwhile programme because the students that took the project last year went on to apply for science-based courses at University at a higher level as a result.”

John Dodd, Head of R&D and co-founder of AlgaeCytes, worked with AlgaeCyte’s Research Technician Georgina Andrews and the school to manage the project.

John said, “It’s great to see more students participating this year because of the success of last year’s project. We have gone into more detail about algae and associated bacteria this time so that the students get even more out of the experience.

He added, “By the end, the students are more confident and inquisitive but fundamentally they are more inclined to look at a career in science afterwards.”

“We would like to thank Jackie and the team at Sir Roger Manwood’s School for working with us to make the project happen again this year.”

Student Jasmine Hale, 16, who has undertaken work experience at Discovery Park before, said, “I have been looking forward to coming back to do this project because I’m aiming to study biochemistry at university and then hopefully getting a job here afterwards.”

Kimberley Anderson, Project Manager at Discovery Park, said “We are delighted to have been able to support this programme for the second year. We always hope to inspire more people into the science industry and it’s great to see students engaging and showing an interest in the work that takes place here.”

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