A group of engineers from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare is involved with SouthSci, a participatory science platform aimed at engaging youth with science. The project encourages community groups to put forward science topics of interest to them, and if accepted, provides funding and support to enable investigation of the project. The programme aims to spark students’ interest in science related fields and to build relationships between local businesses, researchers, schools and youth.
We have a number of scientists and engineers involved in the programme. In its pilot year, several employees were involved in the steering committee, and assisted with assessments of the community applications and providing advice on how project plans could be developed and budgeted.
We also supported a project led by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (a Crown Research Institute of New Zealand), which aimed to engage students with scientific concepts through investigating air quality. We assisted in the development of a sensor box that monitored temperature, humidity, CO2 and dust components of air quality.
The team has now recruited mentors from the company, who will support new projects in the next financial year. It is hoped that our involvement in the programme will encourage local youth to engage with science and consider careers in science related fields.
The Auckland STEM Alliance and COMET Auckland (COMmunity Education Trust) are the joint hosts for the Science in Society: Participatory Science Platform project in South Auckland. The project is funded by the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.