Brooklands Innovation Academy brought together 400 students aged 12 to 14 for an action-packed day of hands-on science, technology, engineering and maths education.

It was led by Professor Brian Cox and attended by The Duchess of Edinburgh, who spoke to the students on the importance of STEM careers and participated in industry partner Haleon’s toothpaste workshop.

The academy makes the most of Brooklands’ unique history of innovation, engineering, entrepreneurship and science. 

Combining lessons from the past with a vast variety of modern STEM education workshops and insightful guest speakers, it brings together industry leaders, multinational businesses, academics and innovators with a focus on “learning by doing”.

The students were organised into groups of ten and rotated through a selection of 20 workshops and six guest speakers, in one of the most comprehensive single-day education events in the UK. 

Workshops were hosted by Brooklands Museum and a number of well-known industry partners, including Haleon, McLaren F1, Airbus, British Airways and Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The workshop subjects covered everything from sustainable pipelines to pilot training, safety-testing Formula 1 components, fighting plastic pollution and saving lives with healthcare.

Professor Cox said: “This year’s Brooklands Innovation Academy has been even more impactful than last year. 

“The stories of Brooklands serve as an unparalleled backdrop for these gatherings. Its legacy is one of audacious engineering feats and a quintessentially British spirit of adventure. 

“The trailblazers who once roamed its grounds – architects of future aviation and automotive technologies – were doers, not just deliberators. This has been a wonderful day, combining history with modern science and engineering.”

Tamalie Newbery, director and CEO of Brooklands Museum, added: “We are delighted to have demonstrated, and drawn upon, the site’s legacy of innovation to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

“The Brooklands Innovation Academy is becoming a key event in the nation’s educational calendar.”