STEM co-ordinator set to attract the next generation

Posted on 13 Sep 2016 by Victoria Fitzgerald

Durham-based chemical research company, High Force Research, has appointed a STEM (science, technology, engineering and manufacturing) co-ordinator to encourage local youngsters to pursue careers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

Iain Lawson has been appointed STEM Co-ordinator for the Durham-based chemical research firm - image courtesy of High Force Research.
Iain Lawson has been appointed STEM Co-ordinator for the Durham-based chemical research firm – image courtesy of High Force Research.

Iain Lawson, a senior R&D and GMP Chemist, will be responsible for developing the company’s STEM outreach programme to local schools, colleges and universities.

Lawson, whose research has helped contribute towards the development and manufacture of treatments for Alzheimer’s, hopes to help inspire a new generation of budding young scientists in the North East.

Having previously worked for a pharmaceutical company in Northumberland, he joined High Force Research five years ago. The son of a science teacher, Lawson has volunteered to facilitate talks, presentations and activities for local schools for many years.

Lawson explained: “There are so many different roles and specialisms for young people to consider, the possibilities really are endless…But often career routes within the industry aren’t obvious and young people are surrounded by so many negative perceptions of science, they think all scientists are mad or super clever.

“I really believe that Science should be fun. After all it’s messy and lots of things go bang! But best of all you get to discover things.

“I’m where I am today because of a number of inspirational and engaging teachers and mentors who got me hooked on science. If I didn’t pass on what I’ve learnt to young people, what’s the point?”

North East schools or colleges interested in arranging activities or talks for students on careers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry should contact [email protected]

Founded nearly three decades ago, High Force Research is one of the UK’s longest-established chemical research companies, with particular specialisms developing and scaling up complex syntheses of molecules used by researchers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics and chemical sectors.

Head of business development, Stella James commented: “At High Force Research we place a high priority on nurturing home-grown talent and helping young people develop careers in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry.

“That’s why for a number of years, High Force Research has funded a number a Postgraduate placements at Durham and Newcastle Universities. But we need to be inspiring people from a young age if we want to continue to have a thriving chemical research industry here in the North East.”