Xperimania – Andy Brice’s chemical online chat

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Andy Brice from ICIS Chemical Business (first on the left in photo) was invited to host an online chat for students from 13 secondary schools around Europe on the role of chemicals in everyday life …

 

On a cold, wintry morning last month, I arrived in Brussels, Belgium, at Cefic‘s headquarters to experience first hand their efforts in encouraging students to pursue a career in the chemical industry.

 

Cefic’s Xperimania project was launched in the 27 EU member states in 2007. Its aim was to raise awareness about the importance of chemistry and its ubiquitous application.

 

In the 2007-2008 school year, around 1,000 pupils participated in the program’s various activities – including internet-based seminars and competitions. Some 50,000 students visited the web site.

 

My role was to participate in one of their online meetings with children from 13 secondary schools across Europe. The theme was based on an article I’d written in May 2008 that considered how tough it would be to live without petrochemicals – specifically, polypropylene – for a week. Inevitably, the task was a resounding failure, but it still stimulated some encouraging debate from the children, with some keen to attempt it themselves.

 

However, by the end of the session, I’d made two clear observations. Some of the students – aged 10-20 years old – seemed genuinely surprised that chemicals played such a major role in their everyday lives, while others appeared concerned that the products they came into contact with were in some way dangerous.

 

Clearly, the challenge for industry goes far beyond simply conveying the many benefits and opportunities provided through a career in the sector. Perhaps first, the priority is to work further to overhaul the industry’s image and allay the fears of those it is so keen to attract.

 

Hopefully, imaginative programs such as this will go some way to achieving both.

 

Click here for the full article in ICB

 

And click here for the questions (and answers) which Andy couldn’t get round to answering at the time – from schools in Poland, Sweden and Hungary.

 

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One Response to Xperimania – Andy Brice’s chemical online chat

  1. Will Greeley-Midland Tomorrow Economic Development Agency 18 August, 2009 at 1:25 am #

    Midland Tomorrow is the economic development organization for Midland,Michigan, home of Dow Chemical and Dow Corning.

    We read with keen interest about the “Chemical Park” concept in ICIS news.

    Could you put me in touch with a designer/key official of this park? We are considering undertaking such a park and would like to learn from their experience.

    Thank you,

    Will Greeley
    Business Attraction Specialist
    Midland Tomorrow
    989 600 7586

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