FUSION: Focusing on University Science Interpretation and Outreach Needs
A brief history of FUSION


FUSION developed out of the SCI-FUN Roadshow, which in its present form has been running since 1999. The overarching objective of SCI-FUN is, in conjunction with the school curriculum, to encourage more young people to consider science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) based careers.

For pupils and teachers, the key aims of the organisation are to:

  • present an innovative science experience for 10-14 year-olds, complementing their school courses;
  • take contemporary research topics into schools and the public realm;
  • enhance awareness of the relevance of science to our society;
  • promote enthusiasm and interest in science within the pre-Standard Grade/G.C.S.E. cohort;
  • provide materials to support science teaching through the Roadshow programme and the website;
  • bring interactive science to remote areas; and to
  • provide an opportunity for senior pupils to experience a leadership role as encouraged by the Responsible Citizens capacity of the Curriculum for Excellence.

2004: PP4SS – FUSION in embryo

FUSION's origins can be traced to a particle physics project, PP4SS, which is discussed in detail in the Case Studies section of the website. The successful completion of this project, in which a set of exhibits and supporting materials were designed and built by the FUSION team members, led to the later realisation that these skills could be applied elsewhere within the College.

2006: LERU – establishing research links

In 2005 and 2006, SCI-FUN organised and ran the University of Edinburgh’s contribution towards the League of European Research Universities (LERU) Kids’ University programme, which involved eleven European institutions in total. These events allowed early secondary school pupils to experience the University environment at first hand, and they were also an outreach outlet for Edinburgh’s own researchers. LERU 2006 in particular was an opportunity for the nascent, as yet unnamed FUSION group to form links with several teams working on aspects of climate research.

Click here for the SCI-FUN page describing the LERU events.

2008: Working with the Centre for Regenerative Medicine

In 2008, the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) collaborated with SCI-FUN / FUSION in the creation and delivery of a new Roadshow presentation, the Stem Cell Show, highlighting recent developments in the field, including work being undertaken by the CRM. SCI-FUN worked with the CRM to offer a Family Day event, open to the general public at Our Dynamic Earth. The event comprised stem cell exhibits, films and activities, as well as a range of SCI-FUN's own Roadshow hands-on exhibits.

The CRM event is described in more detail at the SCI-FUN event page, and in our case study.

A useful separation of identities

The PP4SS, LERU and CRM projects were all instrumental in guiding the creation of the FUSION group. Although the FUSION and SCI-FUN staff are drawn from the same group of people, however, the FUSION name has turned out to be useful as a way of describing the work undertaken on behalf of researchers. The SCI-FUN brand is extremely well known in the wider schools community in Scotland, and people understand (and value) the services it offers. Its name is not, however, recognised as a research engagement partner, and it has therefore been useful to set up the FUSION name as an entity that can position itself as a resource to research groups, and as a liaison with the wider schools community.