We are pleased to announce that the Heritage Language Consortium and Native Scientist are launching their first joint initiative on March 1, 2018. Named Native Explorers, the project aims at promoting innovative outreach initiatives among academics as well as encouraging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education and careers among immigrant communities in the UK.

The Heritage Language Consortium brings together six leading European universities and the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote research on language learning in multilingual settings. Native Scientist is a non-profit award-winning organisation that promotes diversity in STEM and tackles educational disadvantage by bringing together scientists and pupils who speak a common heritage language.

Dr Patrick Pereira Rebuschat, Director of the Heritage Language Consortium, explained: “The Consortium has an important outreach and community engagement component, and partnering with Native Scientist is a clear reflection of this. This initiative provides members of the Consortium with an important opportunity to reflect on science outreach and on its role in widening participation, and to share expertise with a unique science outreach organzation that inspires immigrant children and adolescents across Europe to pursue STEM subjects and to develop proficiency in their heritage languages. The Consortium is proud to support their important mission.”

Two purposes, two days

Native Explorers takes place on two days, and each day has a different purpose. The first day is mainly aimed at academics, professional services, science communicators and social entrepreneurs. It consists of a sympsium on Outreach Without Borders, during which we will discuss challenges and opportunities in science outreach and widening participation. It will feature presentations on innovative science outreach initiatives for children, adolescents and adults that are based in the UK or abroad. It will be live streamed so people in the field not able to travel to the event will be able to join.

The second day is aimed at adolescents between 12 and 15 years old and consists of a series of four science workshops, delivered by leading Lancaster University researchers. The workshops are offered in Portuguese, an important heritage language in the UK, and provide an opportunity to learn concepts from four different fields: Astrophysics, chemical engineering, plant biology and social entrepreneurship. It targets Portuguese-speaking students who live in the Greater Manchester and Lancashire region and bus transportation from Manchester to Lancaster will be provided.

Please visit the event website www.lancaster.ac.uk/native-scientist for detailed information.

Reaching beyond the already reached

As Dr Joana Moscoso, co-founder of Native Scientist, observed “migrant students are twice as likely to underperform in science and maths than the rest. They are also more likely to rule out higher education and think that a STEM career is not a real and viable option for them. With this project, we want to do two things. Firstly, we want to raise awareness about the impact that good and innovative science outreach projects can have. Secondly, we want to lead by example and give the opportunity to 40 Portuguese migrant adolescents to experience university for the first time in their lives, following the steps of people alike who succeeded in becoming a scientist and are now leading researchers at Lancaster University.”

  • To register for the Symposium (11th May), please follow this link.
  • To register for the Workshops (12th May), please follow this link.
  • Both events are free but registration is required.

For more information, please contact Patrick Rebuschat or Joana Moscoso at native-explorers@lancaster.ac.uk.