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Nurturing the next generation

Educational outreach activities make up a large part of our public engagement programme as we engage with schools, colleges and universities. We encourage staff from all areas of the Institute to volunteer at many different events that are designed to inspire and educate students of all ages.
Educational outreach generally falls into three areas:


We look to inspire students about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and tell them how the Institute evolved, the types of careers they can pursue and the kind of subjects they may want to take for their GCSE’s, A-levels and beyond.

We visit schools to give careers advice, lessons and workshops, and are also involved in large exhibition style events. These events enable students to see a wide variety of companies that incorporate the STEM subjects, and get them excited about what they can do when they take these subjects in higher education.

General science

We organise science days, lessons and workshops at schools, which cover the basic principles of science for younger children.  More focused sessions on the Institute's research are targeted at older students.

For younger children this can include simple fun activities such as bug hunts or whole day activities where students can interact with a range of different activities that explain various scientific concepts. For older students we tailor the sessions to the National Curriculum, so we are able to talk more in depth about topics such as disease and how the body fights infections.

Animals in research

We strive to be open and honest about the research we do using animals, and we aim to educate students on what our animal research involves. We give students information about how animals play a part in science and our reasons for using them; which allows them to form their own opinion based on facts. Talks are given by scientists who use animals in their research, animal technicians and vets so that the students can hear first hand what it’s like to work with animals.

Find out more on our Animals in research pages.

Work experience

We fully support helping to develop and inspire the next generation of scientists through our outreach programme. It is however with regret that we cannot offer work experience placements at the Institute, due to the nature of the work conducted on site. The viruses at Pirbright are largely exotic to the UK and therefore have to be kept under high containment. Working under licence in this environment is not compatible with short term placements because it necessitates personal security vetting in addition to lengthy training in aspects of health, safety and biosafety.

Contact us

If you are interested in us running an activity at your school, college or university, please contact

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