March 10th 2020 | Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

Agenda 2019


Registration, Exhibition and Networking


Welcome and Introduction from Chair

Jamie McIvor, Education and Local Government Correspondent, BBC Scotland 

09:50 - 10:50 Session One

Growing STEM Ambitions

This session will explore the current STEM landscape, scrutinising where we are, what we’re doing, and where we want to be.


Scottish Government Address: STEM Unlocking Opportunities For All

Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science


How To Get ‘A Head’ In STEM: Facial Depiction For Forensic/Archaeological Investigation – An Art-Science Fusion​

  • Art in STEM
  • Women in STEM

Professor Caroline Wilkinson, BBC History Cold Case, Director of Face Lab and Liverpool School of Art & Design, Liverpool John Moores University


Questions and Discussion


Exhibition, Networking, and Refreshments

11.20–13:00 Session Two 

Break Out Sessions: Challenges & Opportunities in STEM

In this session, delegates will benefit from two interactive breakout sessions.




Breakout A: Gender in STEM

Scotland has a problem with gender equality in STEM. Societal assumptions about who is suited to STEM subjects often leads to girls being steered away from them. Those girls that do pursue STEM subjects face numerous barriers in their careers that result in lower and lower proportions of women at every stage of seniority in STEM. 

Our expert panel will examine what can be done to smash the barriers that girls and women face in pursuing STEM careers. 

Panellists include:

Chair: Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Liverpool John Moores University

Dr Mhairi Crawford, Development Director, WISE Campaign 

Talat Yaqoob, Director, Equate Scotland 

Rebekah Mayo, Physics Teacher, George Heriot's School 




Breakout B: Industry in the Classroom 

Today's school students communicate, learn, and interact with the world through technology created by STEM companies, and teachers increasingly embrace this reality by fusing technology with textbooks. This session examines the direct role industry plays in provoking the interest of children and young people in STEM – creating the next generation of innovators. 

Our panel of experts will examine how you can benefit from industry engagement in the classroom. 

Panellists include:

Chair: Jamie McIvor, Education and Local Government Correspondent, BBC Scotland 

Graeme Rough, Project Manager: Young STEM Leader Programme, Scottish Schools Education Research Centre

Christine Lester, Analyst, JP Morgan 

Professor Tony Prescott, Director of Sheffield Robotics, University of Sheffield



Exhibition, and Lunch

14:0015:10 Session Three

The STEM Toolbox

This session explores the tools that can support you to teach STEM subjects. From robots to online exam support, these tools inspire the children of today – and the STEM workforce of tomorrow. 


Robots in the Classroom: From STEM Tools to Pastoral Aids and Beyond

This presentation will review the potential for using robots in schools as a means for boosting inclusivity in STEM teaching and for promoting student-centred teaching. We will examine a robotic “classroom pet”  to assist with pastoral support, and how to help prepare children for the jobs of the future in robotics and artificial intelligence.

Professor Tony Prescott, co-creator of the award-winning animal-like robots Scratchbot, Shrewbot, and MiRo, Director of Sheffield Robotics, University of Sheffield


Supporting STEM from Early Level to School Leavers

This presentation will showcase how Bitesize has expanded from helping with qualification revision to focus on supporting learners from Early Level and through their whole school career. We’ll look at a new focus on careers and how this aims to help young people focus on how the subjects they study, including STEM, can help them consider their employment opions. 

Derek Farrell, Senior Content Producer, BBC Bitesize 




Exhibition, Networking, and Refreshments

15:3016:55  Session Four

Building a Head of STEM

We’ve talked about the challenges and opportunities for STEM. In this final session, we will be celebrating STEM success stories by exploring two case studies. Wonderful work is being done every day in Scotland to inspire, engage, and develop the STEM workforce of the future. Join us as we share learning and insights on making this a reality for all.

  • Celebrating STEM achievements
  • Linking STEM skills to the wider curriculum
  • Innovative approaches to inspiring interest in STEM

This session will be rounded up by a panel discussion that will pull together the lessons from today. 


Case Study 1: STEM-Antics

STEM-Antics is a presentation aimed at S1 – S6 that finely weaves the fabrics of science, discovery, and creativity together. After every thrilling set-piece with audience participation, there is a gradual release of secret knowledge that brings to light methods and meaning. Participants are given a step-by-step break down of all the elements that fuse together the creative art of wonder and fundamental building blocks of scientific thinking.

This is your chance to learn innovative approaches to inspiring interest in STEM.

Jody Greig, Creative Director, Flummix


Case Study 2: Aspiring To Close the Gender Gap in Computing Science

  • Senior girls bridging the divide between education and industry
  • Raising girls awareness of opportunities in Scottish tech, particularly within their region

Toni Scullion, Computing Science Teacher, St Kentigern's Academy and founder of dressCode and Turing's Testers


Panel: Inspiring the STEM Workforce of the Future

The Scottish Government has a vision of an economy driven by a workforce with STEM knowledge and skills. This vision includes women and traditionally underrepresented groups. It is an expansive vision of STEM, where young Scots are equipped with the skills to learn, adapt, and maintain new processes. But this vision is set against a backdrop of the uncertainty of Brexit, low take-up and low achievement in STEM subjects in Scottish schools, and the stark reality that changing young people's attitudes to STEM subjects is a long-term, gradual project. 

Our panel of experts examine the key themes from this conference and explore how we can create the STEM workforce of the future. 

Panellists include:

Matjaz Vidmar, PhD Researcher, Higgs Centre for Innovation, Royal Observatory 

Heather Pritchard, HR Strategic Project Manager, Diageo

Elizabeth Donnelly, Chief Executive, Women's Engineering Society (WES)

Cllr Kathleen Leslie, Member of the Board of Directors, Scottish Schools Education Research Centre


Chair’s Closing Remarks

Jamie McIvor, Education and Local Government Correspondent, BBC Scotland 


Close of Event