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Diversity and inclusion

Groundbreaking IOP-funded careers project launches to attract young people to physics

23 June 2022

Planet Possibility – with its aim of improving diversity among physicists – is the first initiative backed by our Challenge Fund.

A new drive to attract young people from under-represented groups to, and get more young people to consider, careers in physics in the UK launched today funded by the Institute of Physics (IOP) Challenge Fund.

Planet Possibility is a project designed and run by a consortium made up from charities, universities and business. It is the first initiative funded by the IOP’s Challenge Fund.

It is a wide-ranging, pioneering digital platform with engaging and inspiring careers content and co-ordinated programmes of activity run by a team who will receive £1.9m from the IOP’s Challenge Fund to help deliver against the IOP’s strategic aim of improving the diversity and the number of young people doing physics in education, research and industry.  

The project will challenge some of the misconceptions and stereotypes that put some young people off studying and taking up careers in physics, and address the fact that others are denied the opportunity to study physics due to the prejudice and stereotypes that they experience because of who they are, based on their gender, ethnicity, their sexual orientation, their disability or their social background.

Planet Possibility will build networks of students interested in physics in schools, colleges and universities; give more young people access to physics specialists and role models; support teachers to teach physics in engaging and inclusive ways; encourage and develop talent; and promote awareness of physics-related careers.

Underpinned by a bespoke digital platform, the consortium plans to expand its reach through events, webinars, content, games, guides, jobs, work experience, mentoring and other tools and channels to help create a flourishing physics community.

The consortium partners include the University of Southampton, the University of Birmingham, The Blair Project, Future First and AllAboutGroup, and boast vast experience in the areas of diversity, inclusion, engaging with young people, STEM and specifically physics, careers and digital projects.

IOP Challenge Fund Planet Possibility logo including a physics graphic

“The IOP is thrilled to be funding ambitious new consortium Planet Possibility and its plans to reach young people across the UK and open their eyes to the magic of physics,” says IOP Director of Science, Innovation and Skills Louis Barson.

“By firing up their imaginations with the opportunities that physics presents, Planet Possibility will help a new generation of young people, and especially those from under-represented groups, unlock their full potential and seize their chance to help change the world for the better.

“This is the first initiative funded by the IOP Challenge Fund and represents an exciting new way of working for the IOP, and delivering its strategy, harnessing and investing in innovative ideas to maximise the potential of physics for our economy and society.”

The first version of the Planet Possibility platform, live now, is where people can find out more about each partner and the Planet Possibility programme.

For press enquiries, please contact IOP Communications Manager Charles Howgego: [email protected].