Schools and colleges

  • Young Scientist Centre

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Royal Institution (Ri) Young Scientist Centre (YSC) is a partnership between the two institutions and is modelled on the successful L'Oréal YSC at the Ri, London. The centre is a state-of-the-art lab used to deliver interactive workshops, allowing young people to creatively explore science. It is the first national branch of the YSC outside of London and it is a beacon for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in Lancashire. At the UCLan and Ri YSC we aim to provide a facility that will help inspire and engage the scientists and engineers of the future.

Please contact the YSC Manager Dr. Liz Granger for more information:
Telephone: 01772 894 286

YSC Workshops

We run a wide range of STEM workshops for students aged 7-18 years. With a capacity of 30 for most of our workshops you can bring along a whole class to take part in our fun, interactive and curriculum-linked sessions. Please see below for a list of our workshops or read more for our workshop information leaflet.

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Keep up to date with all of our events at the YSC by interacting with us on social media. Read our blog, watch our videos and keep in touch!

Cosmetic Chemistry


Duration: 4 hours

Max Group Size: 30

During this workshop students will make their own bath bombs and lip balms! The workshop gives students a chance to learn about acids and alkalis whilst experimenting neutralisation reactions and producing their own personalised bath bombs. The students will then investigate the properties of materials and states of matter whilst making their own bespoke lip balm.

This workshop is a great introduction to pH, neutralisation, properties of material and solubility and changes of state.

What is Colour?


Duration: 3 hours

Max Group Size: 30

Available from September 2015

Students will try and answer the question ‘What is colour?’ through experimentation. They will investigate how light is reflected by objects and the different between mixing coloured light and coloured paints. They will then explore how to make blue sweetie colouring and how felt-tip colours are mixed through different separation techniques (centrifugation and chromatography). During the workshop students will make their own natural dyes (using berries and algae) and use them to dye multi-fibre cloths they can take away. Finally, students will get a chance to use microscopes to observe the corkscrew shaped algae they used to make their dyes.

This workshop is a great introduction to separation techniques and light.

YSC Experiment 2

YSC Experiement 3 

Extracting DNA


Duration: 2 hours

Max Group Size: 30

This workshop is designed for students between the ages of 9 and 14 years old. Students will extract their own DNA and walk away with a small piece of it in a necklace for them to wear. Students will also get a chance to see where their DNA has come from by staining their cheek cells and view them under the microscope.

This workshop is a great introduction to DNA, genes and inheritance.

Pollutions Solution


Duration: 4 hours

Max group size: 30

Students will investigate why fish in a local river are dying by analysing water nitrate levels, microbe-content and pH. This session focuses on how science works, with students making and testing predictions. Students will get a chance to use university-level equipment including micro-pipettes and colorimeters. In the session students learn new techniques, enjoy independent investigation and use data interpretation to draw their own conclusions.

 YSC Experiment 4

YSC Cropped

Forensic Investigation


Duration: 4 hours

Max group size: 30

During this workshop students get to experience what it would be like to work in a forensics lab investigating a fictional murder. They will evaluate the crime scene and suspect DNA samples using fibre analysis and modern molecular biological techniques including restriction digests and gel electrophoresis. This workshop is a great introduction to genetics and forensic analysis.

Colour Chemistry


Duration: 4 hours

Max group size: 20

In this workshop students will discover what a colour actually is, understand how objects become coloured through their interaction with light, and how Chemists can manipulate these aspects to produce both natural and synthetic dyes. The students then discover how chemical bonding can lead to colour, and they produce both a natural and synthetic dye. The final part of the workshop pitches the students against a ‘real-life’ analytical chemistry scenario during which they will devise their own experiment using aspects of pH and colourimetry to solve a colourful problem.

YSC Experiment 6 

YSC Experiment 7 

A Question of Taste


Duration: 6 hours

Max group size: 20

In this genetics workshop, students will extract and test their own DNA using modern molecular biological techniques to compare their phenotype with their genotype. The workshop demonstrates evolution and genetic diversity by analysing the students’ ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), a chemical found in vegetables such as sprouts and broccoli. The students will perform a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction digests and gel electrophoresis in the analysis of their DNA.