Our hugely successful and much-loved CREST Awards turned 30 this year. To honour this anniversary and more widely commemorate science clubs across the UK, we organised the Great British Science Club.

Nation-wide celebrations took place across two weeks following a brilliant launch at Buckingham Palace with our new Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of York, and culminated in a fun-filled, flagship event at Thorpe Park. 



Celebrations happened across the UK, including a flagship event at Thorpe Park

As part of these festivities, a ceremony was also hosted at the House of Lords by British Science Association (BSA) Chair, Lord David Willetts, on the 5 July 2017. 

Amongst the speakers that night was Professor John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Professor Loughhead had some wonderful words to say about the CREST Awards and the impact they've had over the decades, which we wanted to share with you. Addressing attendees at the House of Lords Ceremony, he said:

"Thank you for inviting me to be part of this wonderful celebration of science and 30 years of the excellent CREST Awards. The British Science Association is one of our leading institutions providing an important role in improving science engagement and the scientific literacy of the UK population.

BEIS is proud to support BSA’s Awards to deliver our shared aims in creating a more diverse pool of young people to consider STEM careers and increase public awareness and engagement in STEM. Science and engineering are key, not only to our economic success but also to how we live.  The Duke of Edinburgh expresses that very well when he frequently says, “All that God did not provide, engineers have created.”

We are acutely aware of the shortage of STEM skills faced by industry in specific areas such as engineering, nuclear and cyber security.

Our Industrial Strategy is committed to addressing STEM skills shortages. We are boosting STEM skills to meet employer demand and improving the quality of STEM teaching and take-up of subjects at GCSE, A-Level and degree levels.  We are also introducing new technical qualifications, T-levels, where employers are designing the qualifications and introducing new Institutes of Technology in every region to deliver higher technical education in STEM subjects.

Doing a CREST Award provides young people with tools and methods of scientific inquiry that will be useful in later life even if they don’t go on to pursue a STEM-related career. Their learning and interests are enhanced and nurtured through practical investigations. They also develop transferable skills valued by employers, including problem solving, decision making, communication and project management.  But perhaps more importantly, as I know from my own experience, it opens the door to a career that provides constant stimulation and enjoyment, crafting solutions through the understanding of science.  It’s a wonderful gift when your working life is enjoyable and almost never drudgery.

For teachers and educators, supporting students through a CREST Award not only reinforces and enriches the curriculum they’re teaching, but provides a more flexible and engaging way to bring scientific concepts to life – for both sides!

Improving the diversity of the STEM workforce is a priority.  Less than one in eight of the engineering workforce is female – and I can’t believe that women are any less creative, inspired, or skillful than the other gender, so this represents both lost potential and a great future opportunity.  So, next year the Government is working with external partners on a Year of Engineering campaign to help improve perceptions in engineering and widen the pool of young people considering engineering careers.

Of course, CREST Awards is a good vehicle for inspiring our future scientists and engineers. I look forward to seeing this worthwhile scheme continue to grow for many more years to come."

Professor John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Adviser, BEIS

Following on from Professor Loughhead's words, we at the BSA would like to thank all of our brilliant supporters, colleagues and partners, plus everyone who works with us, interacts with us and champions our vision of making science a more fundamental part of society and culture. The Great British Science Club was just one way of showing our gratitude and celebrating the work that's being done. We will continue to keep working hard and celebrating many great successes far into the future.

To see more of what went on, search #CREST30 on Twitter.