Nationwide launch of UHI education packs to fuel imagination of future scientists and engineers

Experts at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) have teamed up with the Royal Air Force to launch new educational packs for schools across the UK to encourage pupils to consider a career in the alternative fuel sector as scientists and engineers.

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A group of high school students walking along a corridor in a school setting

The resource packs, to be distributed by RAF Youth STEM Team to secondary schools from June, will allow students to explore the science behind hydrogen and other fuel alternatives. They will also provide information on activities linked to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) school curriculum content. 

Each of the eight resource packs and accompanying short animations focusses on a particular area linked to hydrogen and alternative fuels and will also detail the career opportunities available and skills required to work in this sector. They are designed to allow teachers to position the materials within their own teaching practices.   

They have been developed and funded by the RAF Youth STEM Team with the support of experts from UHI and the UHI STEM outreach programme. The joint development of these materials marks six years of collaboration between the RAF Youth STEM Team and UHI in the support of students across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. 

Andrew Rae, Professor of Engineering at UHI; Mark Shiner, Assistant Principal in Maritime Studies at UHI Orkney; and Dr Neil Wright, Associate Dean for Engineering, Computing and the Built Environment at UHI have all contributed to the development of the packs. 

Andrew Rae, UHI Professor of Engineering, said: “Alternative sources of energy that replace fossil fuel will be an increasingly important part of our future, so there is a need to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers who will help deliver this global necessity. There are no ‘silver bullets’ to remove carbon from our energy system, so helping pupils understand the various challenges, and the associated opportunities, is key to making sure the vision is attained.” 

The RAF Youth STEM Programme is a completely free STEM engagement programme that provides face-to-face and virtual STEM engagement days and a wide range of STEM resources, mapped onto the curriculum for every part of the UK. The RAF Youth STEM Teams aim to inspire as many students as possible with the vast range of opportunities available to them through the study of STEM subjects.  

As part of a focus on STEM education this summer, UHI will also be running a short series of in-person and on demand public lectures throughout the rest of June:  

Thursday 20 June, 1pm to 2pm: Manufacturing sadness: the story of how Schizophrenia became Schizophrenia and why it matters with Ryan McLean, UHI Research Fellow 

Monday 24 June, 1pm to 2pm: Is Mars habitable? With Professor Javier Martin Torres from the Department of Planetary Sciences, University of Aberdeen 

Tuesday 25 June, 1pm to 2pm: Decarbonising Aviation: The Challenges and Opportunities with Professor Andrew Rae, Professor of Engineering at UHI 

Tuesday 25 June, 6pm to 7pm: A summary of ‘nature-based’ methods of sustainably managing and restoring the freshwater environment with Dr Hamish Moir, Honorary Research Fellow at UHI Institute for Biodiversity and Freshwater Conservation; and Business Development Director and Principal Designer at cbec eco-engineering  

For further information about the lectures visit