By Dr. Jo Montgomery, Dr. Jo Science Solutions

I am excited to be involved as a judge in Astra Zeneca’s Energy Challenge. As an academic research scientist and qualified teacher who has also spent time working in industry, I have long held a foot in both the science and education camps. I have seen what is needed in terms of scientists in the workplace, as well as the challenges of delivering this at the coalface of education.

I am passionate about inspiring young people to enjoy science and STEM, to be curious about the world and to discover more about STEM careers. I deliver hands-on, fun and engaging science workshops in primary schools to enrich the curriculum, so I am delighted that AstraZeneca is focusing the Energy Challenge at children in years 5 and 6.

Research suggests that ideas about subjects and careers are formed before children leave primary schools, so it is imperative we provide as many experiences as possible to engage and inspire children about the wider world, increase science capital, and promote scientific literacy.

Science impacts us all, from the natural world to the technology in your smart phone. We need people who can understand how these things work and can develop new ideas, but we also need a society that values these things and which can evaluate evidence to engage in informed discussion and debate.

By working together to inspire the next generation, we can foster children’s curiosity and guide them. They already have the skills to ask questions and find things out: children are amazing. I expect to be greatly impressed with the standard of entries in this competition.