The Royal Society's priorities are education and public engagement. It supports science in education through partnerships and networks, working to give everyone the opportunity to engage with science and appreciate its value.
The Royal Society set up the Partnership Grants scheme in 2000. Since then it has awarded over £1.3m to more than 800 schools and colleges, igniting enthusiasm for STEM and enabling students aged 5-18 to carry out projects.
The Partnership Grants scheme links a school with a practising STEM professional to deliver a better understanding of the latest developments in STEM; improve perceptions of those working in STEM professions; and to give students pride and ownership of projects by participating in the investigative process. By partnering practising STEM professionals with schools, students get to experience the full research process, from hypotheses to getting results.
The best applications are the ones that make the judges go, 'Wow, the students will be really excited by this!' – where the enthusiasm of the teacher and partner leap off the page. Projects that actively engage students and get them involved in real investigative processes are the ones that stand out. The best projects give students a feel for what it's like to work in the partner's field and how the partner uses STEM principles in their work.
Original projects that are relevant to the students' lives or environment and leave a lasting impact at the school always stand out. It's brilliant when the initial project is repeated with other students, equipment is shared with other students, and the school continues its relationship with the STEM partner.