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Technology-enabled employer engagement in analytical chemistry

Lead Institution: University of the West of England
Collaborating with: Bournemouth University

This is a sub-project of Get STEM working: innovation with employer and student engagement


One of the key learning outcomes which students gain from employer engagement is the constructive discussion and analysis of student-led presentations of analytical techniques that are relevant to employers.  There is also significant value to employers who are working in similar discipline fields in taking an interest in the students’ work.

For the student presenting their work to employers it provides a valuable experience in articulating and defending their results and also gaining a different, and employment-related, view of what they have undertaken.  It will help the student gain confidence in both their presentation skills and in their abilities within analytical science.  For the employers it provides an insight into the analytical skills the students are developing and highlights potential skills that may be of interest to them for present or future application, and individuals who they may wish to take an interest in and help develop pre- and post graduation. It is unlikely that the students or employers will have this kind of opportunity by any other means during the degree course.

This proposed sub-project would develop, together with employers, an analytical chemistry case study based on their practical work which students will present through video conferencing or on-line meeting technology to a panel of three or four employers.  Following the presentation, opportunity will be given to the employers to comment and ask questions concerning the results and analytical procedures.  Feedback gained through this session will be enabled to inform the final outcome of the students work and will be used to help the whole year-group undertaking the course to understand the wider importance of the analytical skills within the course.

Increasing the range of ways employers can input into the curriculum will widen accessibility to this valuable experience for students who may be unable to undertake a traditional year-long placement. 

Aims & Objectives

The aim of this project is to examine the usefulness of novel technology (e.g. video conferencing and online meeting technology) to enable engagement between employers and students that would otherwise not be possible because to time and cost limitations.

The objectives can be summarised as:

  • To work with employers to identify modes of interaction which will embed the experiential added-value of employer engagement within the STEM undergraduate curriculum
  • To design a framework in which undergraduate students undertaking analytical science courses can participate in employer engagement via novel technology
  • To formulate a formal assessment procedure to enable students to evaluate the relevance of their skills for industry as an integral part of the curriculum
  • To provide feedback to enable the engagement experience to be enacted in other student groups.

Staff involved

Dr Carolyn Morton
Project lead, University of the West of England

Dr Adrian Crew
Project coordinator, University of the West of England

Christine Keenan
Bournemouth University

Penny Mitchell
Bournemouth University