Innovation

What problems must we solve

Work with likeminded peers and teachers on areas of interest to research

What questions would you like answered

Work with likeminded peers and teachers to devise research projects and scientific experiments around the big questions 

What research would you like to do

Connect and engage with acedemic researchers on your climate change projects

INNOVATION CATAPULT

Young people think outside the box and we want to provide a mechanism to encourage their innovation. We aim to provide support for young people who may not know how to take their ideas further. We are seeking to provide a youth climate innovation catapult support system.

Get in touch with us with your ideas.

For students who would like to join existing an Innovation Program, we will work to connect you with live projects

Please read on

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Y-CAN aims to provide a support system for youth innovation and research in climate issues. Have you an area you particularly want to research? Have you an idea for an innovation which you think could make a difference? Have you a project you have thought about but want help developing?

Get in touch with your ideas.

The team at Y-CAN will take a good look and if appropriate we will connect you with a leading scientist from our Advisory group to see how your ideas can be taken forward. Be bold, creative, adventurous. To paraphrase Prince William in the Earthshot Prize - You can achieve great things in this decade of action to repair the Earth - and one of our main aims is to support you to do this.

 

We are also developing a brokering mechanism between your idea and academic researchers in UK universities. Certain UK Universities are very keen to work on projects with students so in this section of the website we also have notifications of new projects where you can get involved.

 

Project 1: Southampton research project – Managing seaweed through More than Maps

“Managing Seaweed through More than Maps” is a co-development project that fosters transferable skills for college students. This free workshop explores seaweed management as a climate change adaptation case study.  

 

Across the three session, students are
1. Introduced to climate change research using interactive examples from remote sensing, adaptation and governance research disciplines;
2. Guided through how to use Google Earth Engine to map the Sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean, using remote sensing data and JavaScript coding; and
3. Provided with social science frameworks for analysing the human side to environmental challenges, including case study method and key stakeholder analysis.

 

The SARTRAC (“Teleconnected Sargassum risks across the Atlantic: building capacity for Transformational Adaptation in the Caribbean and West Africa”) project run by the University of Southampton and international partners is researching how vulnerable communities in the Caribbean and West Africa can effectively adapt to the massive influx of the seaweed Sargassum washing up on their beaches since 2011. Using seaweed as a unique example, the researchers aim to learn from the students what skills are useful in ground-level climate change adaptation and how skills are best transferred.  

Project 2: Students mapped cosmic radiation in Low Earth Orbit

This research work has climate links and as an example of work done, shows you what young people can achieve and how this work can help you build your careers.

 

The LUCID experiment - releasing the potential of school students in space research

 

The LUCID experiment involved groups of students in a school in Kent, working with a huge number of scientists and engineers at NASA, CERN, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., to put Medipix technology in open space on TechDemoSat 1. Students worked on this outside their formal studies over a period of ten years and benefitted from real engagement with research. LUCID studied the radiation environment in Low Earth Orbit for three years, collecting over 2.1 million frames of radiation data from its five Timepix detectors. Students published their results in Advances in Space Research in 2019 and gave papers at scientific conferences across the world. The students who were involved in LUCID are now becoming leaders in science research themselves, working across many areas of physics and engineering.

 

Project 3: STEM learning in Africa – SIA

Fara runs a non - profit organization called STEM in Africa (SIA) and their mission is to encourage and galvanise more young African students to go into STEM careers. They do this by hosting events, through a well-established mentorship scheme and a radio show. The mentorship scheme focuses on teaching students from local communities how to tackle climate change in Africa and the importance of sustainability. In addition, SIA are building a science hub for our students in Nigeria, this building will be built from repurposed plastic bottles and run on solar energy. This project aims to tackle plastic waste pollution in Nigeria whilst providing a space for their students to be innovative.

 

Project 4: Green Batteries

 

From year 9, Saiesha has been involved in the Ionic Liquids Project with Professor Robert Palgrave from UCL. As a result of this, she has been working towards developing green batteries that substitute organic solvents using ionic liquids in order to prevent the decomposition of these solvents into greenhouse gases. This project highlights the concerning fact that our dependency on fossil fuels extends to more than what meets the eye, thus even the smallest change can help further our advancement in the field of climate action.

Project 5: Solar Technology
Caroline has been interested in doing work related to combating climate change. This year she has based her EPQ project on investigating solar technology, focusing on a novel type of solar cell call perovskite solar cells. She investigated the working principle of solar cells. She has also studied other people's research on methodologies that can improve the performance of a specific type of solar cells -perovskite solar cells. Her research product has produced a literature review of
the underlying science of how electricity is being generated in solar cells, and explain how each method works to make the perovskite solar cells better.

 

 

Project 6: Biogas Generator
Science and climate change have always been some of Alex's main interests, and when she joined STEM club in 2019 she learned through research that she could make a small impact herself. The idea she came up with was to build a biogas generator for the school, which when it is built will enable the school to produce its own carbon neutral and environmentally sustainable energy. In the coming years, once it is well established, the generator will provide electricity and help lower the schools carbon emissions immensely. 

Project 7: Renewable Energy To Power A Telescope
The technology for renewable energy is constantly improving and becoming cheaper. To demonstrate that green energy is the way to go, Sophia is building a wind turbine and installing solar panels to power a telescope. The motor of a washing machine will be repurposed to act as a generator for the wind turbine. She hopes this project will show that sustainable energy is accessible and convenient, which may encourage more people to make the switch.

If you want to start with established research projects then there are a number of citizen science projects such as those from Zooniverse, or there are projects from the Institute for Research in Schools.

 

Zooniverse opportunities

 

To start handling data for a variety of different research projects which are all accessible go to
https://www.zooniverse.org/
There is a whole section of climate associated research projects
https://www.zooniverse.org/projects?discipline=climate&page=1&status=live
It is helpful to go to the short films on the https://daily.zooniverse.org/ site which give an idea of interesting options.

Click here to submit your ideas