How do you know the Lab in a Lorry volunteer operation will work?

We know that Lab in a Lorry works because we've completed a very successful pilot programme which convinced us of the benefits of a national roll-out. The pilot was funded by the Institute of Physics and the Schlumberger Foundation, with assistance from the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. The pilot Lab in a Lorry was a hired 7.5-ton truck that ran three one-week tours in North Eastern Scotland, East Anglia, and West Wales. Volunteers from Schlumberger and the Institute staffed the vehicle and everywhere we had a very positive response.

Here's feedback from a teacher at one of the schools visited:

'The novelty stimulated interest in the subject and the very presence [of the Lorry] made them feel special, which raised self-esteem and increased positive attitude to the subject'


Do I have to be currently working in the Physics industry?

No. All we ask as a minimum is that our volunteers have studied science at school and have an interest in communicating science to young people. Full training is given on the Lab before the event.


What is the minimum amount of time I am required to staff the vehicle?

We ask each volunteer to commit a minimum of one day as a volunteer in the Lab. This will streamline the management and communication with each team of volunteers and ensure that five volunteers are present at all times. Our goal is that everyone is safe to enjoy the fun.

We recommend that all volunteers register through the Science and Engineering Ambassadors (SEA's) Scheme.  This is recommended to those volunteers who want to continue to work with schools in their area with or without Lab in a Lorry. However, we still recommend volunteers to become SEAs and we can arrange SEAs induction during your Lab in a Lorry briefing.


What does this mean?

The Science & Engineering Ambassadors (SEA) programme aims to promote science, technology, engineering & maths (STEM). It does this by providing enthusiastic volunteers to work with young people and teachers in schools. SEAs all have backgrounds in, or simply an interest in, any aspect of STEM. SEAs aim to inspire children and young people about these subjects and the careers they can offer. SETNET manages the SEAs programme. The Institute of Physics and SETNET have teamed up to support Lab in a Lorry volunteers because of our mutual interests in firstly promoting volunteering within the STEM community and secondly strengthening individuals' and society's opinion of science and scientists.

When you register to become a SEA, for security and child protection purposes this form will be processed and verified through Criminal Record Bureau checking procedures.

What will security checks entail?

For the CRB check, you will need 2 proofs of address and 2 current passport sized photos. The results of the CRB check will be sent directly to the applicant and SETNET. The Lab in a Lorry program team at Institute of Physics will NOT receive any information related to the CRB check.

Are there a maximum number of days I can staff the vehicle?

No. Volunteers are welcomed to participate as much as their interest and schedules allow. After volunteering for one day, you'll be very familiar with the experiments. Why not volunteer again and share your knowledge with a new set of young people?

How far will I have to travel to staff LIAL?

Most volunteers will staff the Lab in their immediate community. Any travel depends on the visit schedule and your willingness to travel if there is no visit planned in your immediate community. The Lab in a Lorry registration form asks whether you have any travel restrictions. Please note whether you have any travel restrictions or requests, so that our Programme Manager can contact you about appropriate opportunities.

What if I know a company interested in partnering the programme?

We have agreed that all partnership negotiations will be handled centrally to avoid any confusion, scheduling problems, and conflicts of interest. It's vital therefore that volunteers pass on all partnership leads (however small) to the Lab in a Lorry Programme Manager rather than enter into negotiations themselves. Please send an email to us including the company name, a contact name and details, and a short explanation of your connection to the company or contact. The Lab in a Lorry partners have agreed to this process to ensure that the amicable partnership is maintained, while absorbing new partners as the programme expands. Support is needed on many levels, so please contact us about your company's or organisation's involvement.

What if a journalist comes and wants to interview me?

Only official spokespeople should be interviewed.

You can run your experiment normally in front of the journalist, but any questions about the Lab in a Lorry project should be handled via our press office.

All relations with the media are handled by our media office so please politely direct the journalist to these people.