What is Research Champions?

Research Champions is a Masters project with a difference.

I’m Annabel Lever, and I’m trying to understand whether storytelling is an effective way of teaching science. Strange though that pairing may sound, human brains are actually hard-wired to use stories as a method of gaining information. This can make them a useful teaching tool.

Throughout school, I found that the only scientists we really learnt about were historical figures: Charles Darwin; Isaac Newton; Alexander Fleming…the list of ‘stereotypical’ famous scientists goes on. While learning about these scientists and their landmark discoveries is important, they’re a far cry from the millions of scientists working today.

I couldn’t help but wonder: shouldn’t we be teaching a bit more about the discoveries that are going on right now, and the huge range of scientists in charge of producing them?

Each story in Research Champions is written about a real scientist, and the discoveries they have made. These discoveries were made in the last five years, so the stories reflect the highlights of science right now.

The scientists represented are from a diverse range of backgrounds – both academically, and as people. Part of Research Champion’s mission is to highlight that there is no real rules about what a scientist is, does, or looks like. Anyone can become a scientist, so long as they are passionate about what they do!

The stories also aim to bring readers closer to understanding what doing science is actually like. Through the eyes of our research champions, we will explore the work they do every day, and the incredible achievements have resulted.

Research Champion’s stories are suited to anyone aged 8+, and I would encourage anyone who wants to learn more about modern day science to have a read.

Additionally, I hope that they will provide parents and teachers with useful and effective teaching resources. To find out more about this, please visit the ‘User Guide’ page of the website. If you would like to receive a copy of any of the stories as a PDF, that you can easily print off and use in your classroom, please email me requesting whatever resources you would like.

Lastly, obtaining feedback from you, the reader, is a key element to the research aspect of my dissertation. Each story has a short feedback survey attached to it. I would be very grateful if, after reading the story, you could take two minutes of your time to fill this in.

For more information about the project, and how feedback is vital to its development, please visit the ‘Feedback’ page.

This project would be nothing without the people who have helped me build it. Thank you to my wonderful illustrators, and to Dr Nicola Hemmings, who made me believe that writing stories about science was worth investing in, and without whose editing they might be unintelligible. Thank you to Beccy Patterson, for being the best supporter anyone could wish for, and Jonathan Payne, whose ideas are always better than mine. I am extraordinarily grateful.

Thank you also to you, for visiting this website. I hope you learn something new, and enjoy learning about some truly inspirational researchers.

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