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Robertson scholar breaking new ground with science sign language

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Liam McMulkin, a second year Life Sciences student who has been deaf since birth, came up with the idea after becoming frustrated by the lack of complex scientific terms in BSL. 

Alongside his communications support worker, Anne Whittaker, Liam is developing over 100 new signs which it is hoped may allow more students to access the sciences in further education.

BSL is used by approximately 87,000 people across the UK but the scientific lexicon effectively stops at advanced higher level/A-level in school, meaning complex terms which are used in cutting-edge research have to be finger spelled for hearing impaired students.

Having received funding for the initial project from Gurdon / Company of Biologists Summer Studentship, Liam is now using his Self Development Award from The Robertson Trust to deliver workshops to introduce the signs to BSL users who have knowledge and experience in biology.

Find out more about the project in the video below.

The Robertson Trust Scholarship provides bursary support and targeted mentoring to undergraduates to help them fulfil their potential at degree level and access graduate recruitment with increased self-confidence. As part of our talent management programme, we offer our second and third-year scholars the opportunity to apply for Self-Development Awards of up to £4,000. These are used to fund projects of the scholar's choosing which aim to develop communities as well as a scholar's own philanthropic potential.

Photos and videos courtesy of the University of Dundee.