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“Why do some objects float and some sink?” “Why does food decay?” and “Why don’t we have hair on the palms of our hands?” are just a few questions posed during the pilot of Lab_13 Ghana.

Successful RSA Catalyst project Lab_13 Ghana pilot recently won a Wellcome Trust International Engagement Award to fully establish the work in Ghana.

Lab_13 Ghana, is a collaborative science education project developed by UK-based charities Lightyear Foundation and Ignite!  It started life as a joint initiative by two RSA Fellows, Rick Hall and Laura Youngson.

Lab_13 Ghana combines the science road-show approach developed by Lightyear Foundation over the last five years in Ghana, with the idea of a dedicated school space where children can explore science and learn by discovery. Lab_13 Ghana builds on the successful model in the UK, developed by Ignite! to encourage students to think and act like scientists, as well as learning science through practical hands-on experiments.

In May 2014, Rick and Laura were awarded an RSA Catalyst grant to develop a feasibility and business model for a pilot project.  The RSA also backed the Lab_13 Ghana Kickstarter campaign that, in less than one month in autumn 2014 raised over £15,000 from 211 supporters.

The Lab_13 Ghana pilot ran from March to August 2015 at Agape Academy, Jachie, Bostomtwe District, Ghana. The project was designed in response to the pressing need for practical hands-on science education in Ghana. Practical science education is rare in Ghana and as a result children are not engaging with the subject. Curiosity is not being encouraged and talent is being lost. During the six months pilot, four Scientists in Residence (SiRs), two from the UK and two from Ghana, visited 30 primary schools, involving over 700 students and 65 teachers in hands-on science lessons and workshops. The lessons were designed to answer the questions driven by the children's curiosity and were sustainable in their use of cheap, locally available material. The workshops allowed teachers to learn the know-how necessary to implement practical examples in their science teaching plans

In the words of Rick Hall FRSA, founder of Ignite!, “Lab_13 Ghana has taken the UK model and adapted and extended it in ways that now offer ideas about how Lab_13 could grow both at home and internationally”.


Lab_13 is a perfect example of how Fellows can successfully utilise support platforms and the Fellowship network available at the RSA, sharing great ideas and turning them in to real world action. If you have an idea which is in the early stages and in need of a financial boost to help it develop into a sustainable project which will deliver impact, then look no further than the RSA Catalyst support programme. The next deadline in Monday 21 September 2015. Please get in touch with me Lou Drake, Project Engagement Manager or your local Regional Manager if you have any questions about our Catalyst support programme and don’t forget to check out other examples of funded ideas at the Fellowship News pages where all our Catalyst winners are announced.

Lou Drake

Project Engagement Manager


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