Get your students excited about the world of research

A free event where school students get to meet and interact with researchers online. Your students challenge the researchers over fast-paced online text-based live CHATs. They ASK the researchers anything they want, and VOTE for their favourite researchers to win a prize.

Students see that researchers are normal people, and learn that their lessons relate to real life.

The first event will take place 11th–29th September for secondary schools in Oxfordshire.

I’m a Researcher is based on the long running I’m a Scientist project, where school students put their questions to real scientists online. The only differences? I’m a Researcher will not be having evictions, and the winning researcher is decided in an opt-in LIVE FINAL taking place at the University of Oxford on the night of the Curiosity Carnival. Take a look at the video to see how the I’m a Scientist events work.

How it works

1. Register your interest and apply to take part

The event is completely free for schools in Oxfordshire. Use the form on the right to register your interest in the project.

After you register you will receive an email asking if you would like to take part in the next event. Follow the instructions in this email to apply for a place.

2. We post you your teacher pack

Once we have allocated you a place in the event, we will post you a teacher pack.

Your teacher pack contains everything you need to run the I’m a Researcher event with your class, including suggested lesson plans and adaptations; and unique login cards for your students.

3. Run the lessons with your students

Run the lessons with your students, where students ASK questions to the researchers, take part in live CHATs, and VOTE for who they think deserves to win!

4. Students understand the relevance and excitement of academic research

Students become more enthused about the world of research and gain an understanding of how the subjects they are studying fit in with current research and future careers.

Who’s it for?

In partnership with the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes and MRC Harwell, the next I’m a Researcher is open to secondary schools in Oxfordshire.

Researchers will come from all areas of academic research. People from all levels of Humanities, Science, Arts and Engineering research will take part, meaning teachers can sign up all subject classes to take part, from Geography to D&T, and Biology to History classes.

Much of the activity is pupil-led (the students ask the questions they want to) so different age groups, ability levels, and backgrounds all get something out of it.

  • Year 7 to Year 11
  • Secondary schools, academies, special schools, pupil referral units and other non-mainstream educational settings


What happens?

The main Curiosity Carnival Zone takes place over a 3 week period, though students can log in from 1 week before to begin reading the participants profile pages, and do any background work.

During the 3 weeks of the main event, students can log in at any time:

ASK CHAT VOTE I'm a Scientist science education activityStudents can ASK researchers about anything they like, from robots to pizza toppingsQuestions are sent to the researchers and we expect an answer within about 24 hours.

You book a 30 minute live text-based CHAT. Chats can be booked between 9am and 5pm, at a time to suit your lesson. You specify the lesson you’re doing the chat in and suitable researchers will then sign up, for example historians will attend a chat with a History class. In the chat your students interact directly with the researchers, ask questions, and let them know their opinions.

Students VOTE for the researcher they think should be in the I’m a Researcher LIVE FINAL. Five researchers, from different disciplines and determined by student votes, will take part in a live final held at the Curiosity Carnival itself. Students can choose to attend on the night and meet the researchers in person before voting for the overall winner of I’m a ResearcherFind out more about I’m a Researcher – Live!.

How much time will it take?

We provide all the resources and materials needed, whether you’re running I’m a Researcher with just one class or a whole year group; including suggested lesson plans and modifications to suit different students’ abilities.

We recommend spending at least 2 hours on the event. This will usually be 1 introductory lesson, 1 homework of reading more about the researchers and submitting questions and 1 lesson of live chat with the researchers.

Why take part?

  • Whole class activity — Engage with all young people regardless of their academic ability and attainment; students will have the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of researchers from across academia.
  • Improve students attitudes towards research in general and see how the subjects they study at school link to real academic research being done in their local area.
  • Young people see that academic research is a realistic possibility for them.
  • Young people are more enthused to study; especially those who “could try harder”.
  • Being online gives all students a voice: “The set up allows everyone to have their chance to ask questions, whether they are the loudest person in the class, or the quiet curious student.”
  • The students guide the event – they ask the questions and vote for their favourite researchers.
  • Creates a ‘buzz’ in the classroom.

How much does it cost?

This activity is completely free for schools in Oxfordshire. Our funding covers all the costs for the schools.

Do I need any special software or equipment?

All you need are computers with internet access for your students. The live chats are text-based (no video or audio needed) and run through this site.

How secure is it?

No personal details are shared on the site, and we moderate all content on the site. The only students who can log in are those who’ve been given access by their teacher.

How do I apply?

register your interest to take part
Fill in the form on the right hand side of this page (scroll up), selecting you’re interested in I’m a Researcher – In General,  and we’ll email you before the event asking if you want to take part with your students.

Want to know more? Have look at the Frequently Asked Questions or get in touch with us at