The BSA welcomes 3M as a Strategic Partner

The British Science Association (BSA) is proud to announce that science-based technology company, 3M, became a Strategic Partner in 2022.

Strategic Partners of the BSA are organisations that champion a number of our leading programmes, helping us to reach different audiences and to achieve our core mission and vision - a future where science is more relevant, representative, and connected to society.

3M is a global organisation with around 8,000 scientists who collaborate to drive innovation that improves lives and creates solutions to the world’s most challenging problems. The company shares the BSA’s passion to inspire young people’s interest in science and show how it can shape a better world for us all. 

British Science Week

3M has been a leading supporter of British Science Week since 2016. Its collaboration has helped to enhance the ten-day event as a national celebration of science. As a Principal Partner, 3M helps us to promote diversity and inclusion in science, connecting with schools, community groups and families through a wide range of activities and events, reaching underrepresented audiences who may not usually engage with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Together, the BSA and 3M launched the Smashing Stereotypes campaign in 2020. This challenges misconceptions about who scientists are, what they look like, and what they do and celebrates the diverse people and roles available in science and engineering. 

The campaign features, among others, 3M employees and teams, sharing stories about their day-to-day work, highlighting the importance of diversity in the STEM workforce, and demonstrating that scientists are just like everyone else. Its overall aim is to inspire the next generation of creative minds from all backgrounds.  

3M Young Innovators Challenge

3M is a supporter of the BSA’s flagship education programme, CREST, through its unique schools competition, the 3M Young Innovators Challenge. The competition invites primary aged pupils from schools around 3M sites to take part in practical, creative, fun challenges that are linked to the STEM curriculum and accredited to CREST Discovery Awards. Challenge winners receive funding to buy school science equipment and all entrants gain a 3M-funded Discovery CREST Award, providing a valuable contribution to their achievement portfolios. 

This year over 300 primary school pupils from 28 Berkshire and Leicestershire schools entered, taking part in three exciting challenges, and the 2022 winners have been announced! 

The Loughborough winners of the Mighty Monument Challenge, which was to design and construct a free-standing structure from given materials to be tested with a weight, was won by QJABB from Long Whatton Primary School.

In Bracknell this challenge the winners of this challenge were The Fiery Phoenixes from Crowthorne Church of England Primary School.

The Slo-Mo Marble Challenge, to build a marble run which maximised the time the marble took to roll from top to bottom, was won by Techmasters from Rendell Primary School in Loughborough, and The Marble Maker Men from Holme Grange Primary School in Wokingham.

The third and final challenge was new for 2022; the AeroTech challenge. Participants designed and built an aircraft which had to cover the greatest distance. The Loughborough winner was the designer of the Rocket Blast entry from The Merton Primary School in Syston, Leicestershire.

In Berkshire the winners were The Height Achievers team from Crowthorne Church of England Primary School.   

Supporting For Thought

The British Science Association welcomes 3M’s contribution to For Thought roundtables and events. This unique thought-leadership programme gives leaders from business, policy, science and civil society a platform to address the key scientific and social challenges facing the world in the 21st century.

In last year’s For Thought series, 3M shared the results of its State of Science Index (SOSI), an independent study that explores global attitudes towards science. The 2021 results revealed that trust in science is increasing, and younger generations are considering careers in STEM, inspired by scientists and medical professionals during the pandemic. However, people recognise that women and minority groups still face major obstacles, confirming there is still work to be done to ensure that science is relevant and accessible to everyone.  

3M STEM Champion, Sarah Chapman, will share the 2022 SOSI findings and play a key role in the strategic partnership with the BSA as an inspirational speaker, role model and passionate advocate for women and girls in STEM.   

Along with 24 colleagues, Sarah is featured in a new resource that supports careers education. Developed in collaboration with The STEM Ambassador Hub South East at Canterbury Christ Church University, 3M Career Capers Cards include a short summary of each person’s job role, a fun fact, the qualifications and practical skills needed and a thought-provoking  quote to showcase how 3M engineers, scientists, business managers and technical specialists apply STEM skills at work.

Working together to create greater equity

The BSA believes that science should be open to everyone, regardless of background or experience, but we know there are barriers to equality in many areas of UK society, culture and work. Helping to transform the diversity and inclusivity of science can play a part in tackling them.

3M is committed to creating greater equity in its communities, business practices and workplaces, working towards a global, education-focused goal of creating five million STEM and skilled trades learning experiences for underrepresented individuals by the end of 2025.

Funded by a 3M education grant, a new dynamic programme for 2022, GoSTEM, aims to support this goal by advancing equity and access to STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented and under-resourced young people aged 16-21 in the UK.

Developed with the help of United Way UK, in partnership with the Engineering Development Trust, the programme is a blend of virtual and in person workshops supported by 3M volunteers, offering insights and knowledge of the STEM sector and development of social and job readiness skills. This newly developed project will target communities local to 3M sites in the Midlands and North of England and will be promoted during British Science Week.  

We are pleased to be working in partnership with 3M with a shared ambition to put equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of all that we do.