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Schools and clubs

We have frequent visits from local schools and children’s clubs such as the Scouts and Brownies. We cater for a wide range of age groups and tailor our activities to suit each individual group.

Our engagement room is specially set aside for group visits and is full of props for hands-on activities. These are designed to relate our own research areas, including genetics and inheritance, the brain, hearing and eating a healthy diet, and can include making models of the brain and neurons, feeling the weight of the brain of various animals or picking out a healthy breakfast from our plastic food baskets. This also provides the ideal place to explain who the MRC is, what we do here at Harwell and why our research is important.

We also have a fully equipped laboratory especially kept aside just for engagement purposes. This gives children and young adults the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a scientist, wearing the lab coat and glasses, conducting experiments and interpreting their results. The younger children always enjoy extracting DNA as a white goo from strawberries, whereas the older children get to try their hand at more challenging experiments such as gel electrophoresis to separate out DNA fragments, a technique commonly used in forensics and genetic research. The children are always very inquisitive, and we welcome their questions and curiosity. The feedback from these visits is always very positive, a trend we hope will continue. 

In the past, we have had groups from local primary schools, secondary schools and clubs such as the Scouts and Brownies. As well as these visits, we also go out to give talks and run workshops at local schools and colleges. In some cases, this involves taking our own equipment to set up hands-on activities in the classroom, while other times we will simply give a talk or set up a discussion with the students.

If you would like to arrange a visit to MRC Harwell, please contact Please be aware that we put a lot of prior planning and preparation into our activities, and require advanced warning should you wish to cancel or rearrange your visit.