Yes! I have secured a place on the ERC Summer Experience Programme with the Plant Palaeocology and Palaeobiology Research Group in UCD for the month of July. A teacher voluntarily looking for a months research work during the summer holidays probably doesn’t sound normal, but this was too good a chance to miss.
Two positions had been allocated to allow teachers a chance to immerse themselves in the lives of the researchers behind a hugely important, but in my opinion, sometimes underappreciated field of science – plant science. I was determined to jump on the bandwagon for this, my aims being:
– Further my own experiences of lab research, while of course getting to enjoy the feeling of been back in college! Also it was an unmissable opportunity for continuous professional development.
– Be part of a new outreach programme that could really show the work done in university labs doesn’t have to remain as secretive and technical as it sometimes seems to those on the outside
– Most importantly, build a package that could be used in schools to interest, entertain and educate students in the area of plant biology, at a time when the limited current school curriculum does not open wide all the possible options there are for study in the plant kingdom.