Mark Fernandes has been appointed as a Schools Regional Champion for the East of England by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to help support ongoing efforts to engage and inspire young people in science, maths and technology.
Mark is a mathematical biologist at IFR, which is strategically funded by BBSRC, and he has been involved in public engagement work with young people for a number of years, working with schools and with other groups such as the scouts and the general public. His passion for maths and biology will see him championing the often overlooked role of maths in the biosciences and in the communication, understanding and solving of complex problems.
Mark is a keen advocate of audience participation and one aim of his outreach activity is to inform the future direction of research tackling the issues of waste in the food chain, food safety and food security. For example, in November Mark will visit Taverham High School to cover food security issues and careers in science.
Mark is keen on the use of internet technologies to communicate about science and maths and has a blog at http://codingscience.blogspot.com/
The BBSRC’s Schools Regional Champions Scheme gives researchers access to tools, activities and advice on best practice to support their public engagement with schools through a national network.
Mark joins fellow Norwich Research Park based Schools Regional Champions Dr Phil Smith, co-ordinator of the Teacher Scientist Network, and Dr Emily Angiolini of The Genome Analysis Centre.
“The aims of the School Regional Champion scheme include inspiring and enthusing young people about bioscience research,” said Dr Tristan Bunn, BBSRC Inspiring Young Scientist Co-ordinator. “Mark is very enthusiastic about public engagement and his activities with local schools will enable pupils to get involved in the research being conducted to make food safer.”
Details of all the School Regional Champion activities are available at: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/src