Education in Scotland is a devolved power, and the Royal Society of Biology's education policy team and the Royal Society of Biology in Scotland (RSBS) is keen to support and encourage the study of biology at schools, colleges and universities.
The Biology Teachers Meeting is an annual event for secondary school teachers that normally takes place around the end of May or beginning of June. Supported by RSBS, this one day meeting gives teachers an opportunity to listen to, and question, researchers and other experts from a wide range of biology careers. A key aim of the meeting is to expose teachers to cutting edge biology research, and the many fascinating stories of their application, helping teachers bring the subject alive. This is a CPD event for biology teachers.
In November the RSBS attends the Science and the Parliament event, which is co-hosted with our colleagues in chemistry and physics. As well as a chance to meet politicians, and variety of people working in the science sector, the RSBS presents its Biology Higher and Advanced Higher Awards to the best performing school students in Scotland. In addition, the Outreach Champion Award is presented to the undergraduate student from a Scottish college or university who, in the opinion of the RSBS, has made the most significant contribution to outreach in Scotland.
Top Student Award is a national award – which is awarded to the student who has achieved the highest percentage in their bioscience degree at each university.
The RSBS supports the ASE Scotland Annual Conference, which is a festival of best practice in science education for everyone with an interest in teaching. This includes teachers, technicians, lecturers, trainees, advisors, CPD suppliers and many more.
The RSBS supports Synapse, an online forum for secondary school biology teachers giving them an opportunity to discuss and clarify a variety of issues relevant to teaching in Scotland, and a facility to share teaching material.
In addition, the RSBS plays a key consultation role with SQA, makes a significant contribution to Learned Societies Group, actively interacts with SERCC and supports a wide range of careers events. The RSB's head of education policy, Lauren McLeod, sits on the Learned Societies Group alongside members of RSBS.
Many RSBS outreach events aim to explore a range of aspects of biology. Some of these outreach events are CPD events for biology teachers, and some events are tailored to the SQA Biology curriculum.
Educational resources for teachers
Education Scotland has funded new resources for biology teachers across Scotland. Created by Lauren Millidine, a fourth-year neuroscience student at the University of Glasgow, the aim of the videos is to provide stories from Scottish researchers that will help bring current areas of research in biology to life.
If you watch any of the videos, please can you answer this short questionnaire.
Virtual Reality in Education and Research
Dr Craig Daly is a senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow, whose research is focused on the autonomic control of the cardiovascular system. However, over the past few years, this has expanded to include an interest in using 3D-modelling and VR to visualise the complex structures in human physiology. This is a short video based on an interview with him where he discusses the potential of VR as an educational tool. Visit Dr Daly’s YouTube channel for more insight into his research and access the Glasgow Life Sciences’ Sketchfab page.
The Vulnerability of Inhibitory Interneurons in Multiple Sclerosis Pathology
Dr Sam Booker is a researcher at the centre for discovery brain sciences in Edinburgh. His research is largely based around the development of the brain, and how changes in development can cause later-life diseases. In this video, Dr Booker discusses the research he was involved in which interrogates the pathology of MS, in particular the vulnerability of inhibitory interneurons to demyelination. Read the full paper the interview was based on.