eExperimenting with MEL Science – Nesta Impact Investments supports a new educational platform

Nesta Impact Investments recently completed a £1 million investment into MEL Science, a London-based science educational platform. Manish Miglani from the Investments team, explains the added value of this acquisition and how it will help Nesta close the attainment gap.

Investing in scalable solutions to tackle the world’s biggest challenges 

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and vaccination rollout has shown us yet again the power of science to help solve some of the biggest challenges. And yet many schools continue to see a reduction of interest and attainment of pupils in science subjects, especially in disadvantaged groups. 

So we’re delighted to share that Nesta Impact Investments has completed a £1 million investment into MEL Science, an exciting new platform that brings science to life through educational kits that combine hands-on experiments with interactive VR simulations and live lessons for use at home, in afterschool clubs and at school. This is our first investment since Nesta published its new strategy earlier this month, featuring its fairer start mission.

The attainment gap is high in science for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and in disadvantaged schools. Our due diligence reinforced that this leads to both lower science take-up and lower attainment, and key reasons have been lack of resources. There is also evidence of gender imbalances in STEM education. 

Therefore, there is a real need for a product like MEL Science to make science more accessible and engaging, specifically in secondary schools, and increase weaker pupil interest in science, all at a cost aligned with budget-stretched schools.

There is existing evidence from the results of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)’s research into how MEL VR Science Simulations improve learning outcomes which suggests that integration of such tech into the school curricula could be a viable solution to improve pupil engagement and outcomes in STEM education.

Nesta’s investment follows on from  a recent round of funding that the company raised in late 2020 from international investors such as Mubadala Investment Company, Channel 4 Ventures and other entities from Europe and China.

Vassili Philippov, Founder and CEO of MEL Science commented: “MEL Science is on a journey to build a new class of science education platform. One of our areas for growth is to deepen our educational impact. We want kids who use our products to be more curious and seek to solve problems. We want our kids to think like a scientist, to do better in exams, to study science at university and maybe even become scientists in future. We know society needs more scientific literacy for mankind to have a sustainable future. We are delighted Nesta is joining us on this journey. We hope Nesta’s support can help MEL Science deepen its impact with schools, after-school clubs and other institutions around the world.”  

This investment complements our investment backing last year for Empiribox, which is helping primary science education in the UK through its lesson plans, assessments, equipment and termly CPD. Empiribox has also launched an introductory free blended learning platform to assist schools continue their science education through lockdown.

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