Future Scientists: The Reckitt Science Symposium

We’re so proud of the budding young scientists from Rokeby Park Primary School who recently shared their creative ideas with leaders behind some of the world’s biggest and best-loved brands.

World-leading health, hygiene and nutrition business Reckitt held a Festival of Science as part of its second global The Science Inside Symposium. The three-day symposium brought together 250 Reckitt scientists, partners and leaders from across the globe, in person and online, live from the company’s Hull Campus.

Organised through our platinum partnership with Reckitt, we took year five pupils from the west Hull school to meet the Reckitt experts and share their amazing ideas on creating a new Reckitt product, or modifying an existing one, focusing on target customers, packaging and sustainability.

The children impressed global Reckitt research and development (R&D) colleagues, led by Chief R&D Officer Dr Angela Naef, as part of the Festival of Science element of the event, which celebrated the power of science and aimed to inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) leaders.

Their ideas ranged from creating “Lemsip on the go”, potentially reducing the need to dissolve Lemsip powdered sachets in hot water, to creating a limited edition scented Dettol product.

They will receive a medal and awards for Best Innovation, Best Packaging Design and Best Presentation, alongside a donation from Reckitt for new science equipment at the school, in the weeks to come.

Dr Naef said: “I’m always blown away by the creativity and boundless, unexpected ideas the students share with us. It’s this little gift of great imagination.

“I fundamentally believe the responsibility of professionals, like us, is to be role models to the next generation. This is the opportunity and responsibility we have to continue to build the future of scientists, engineers and experts.

“I hope all of the children went home and shared their day with their families and loved ones and were able to shine in that moment because of the experience they had. But I also know we went home with those stories and memories too. It’s amazing to feel inspired and excited by this event and their ideas.”

The Science Inside Symposium incorporated Reckitt’s annual Sustainability Conference, reflecting the importance of science in developing sustainable solutions for a greener future.

The event was supported by The Sir James Reckitt Charity, which was founded by industrialist, Quaker and philanthropist Sir James more than 100 years ago.

Involving young people in the event underlined Reckitt’s commitment to inspiring and nurturing the next generation of scientists, especially in the city where the business was founded 184 years ago.

Since its humble beginnings as a starch mill in Hull in 1840, Reckitt has grown to become the globally trusted business it is today, and its brands, including Dettol, Gaviscon, Nurofen, Strepsils, Vanish and more, are household names.

Dr Bruce Charlesworth, Chief Medical Officer and Hull Campus Lead at Reckitt, said: “I love the students’ unfiltered enthusiasm. We often put too much realism and practicality into things, looking at what we can’t do. They have totally focused on the art of the possible.

“Days like this give them genuine presenting experience and I hope it inspires them because that’s what it’s all about. They will need these skills in the workplace in their future careers.”

The event also showcased careers in science, technology and engineering, nurturing the children’s enthusiasm to potentially follow those paths in the future.

Mark Stockdale BEM, Learning Experience Lead at the Children’s University, said: “It can be difficult for children of this age to know what happens in industry and this is an amazing opportunity to ignite that flame and inspire them for the future.

“They could work at Reckitt one day and experiences like this can show them they can achieve whatever they want.”