The Salters' Institute


Founded in 1918, The Salters’ Institute, is the flagship charity of the Salters’ Company. As part of the Centenary celebrations in 2018, a detailed history was produced to highlight the important role the Institute has played in supporting science education, with a particular focus on Chemistry.  The Salters’ Institute – Celebrating 100 Years  can be read here.


The Salters’ Institute was founded at the end of the First World War in order to help young men continue chemistry studies that had been interrupted by the conflict. The Institute began by awarding annual research fellowships in chemistry, in order to equip recipients for work in the industry. This began a strong relationship with educational institutions and with the chemical industry which continues today.


The Salters’ Institute shifted the focus of its work towards the support of secondary school teachers rather than postgraduate fellowships and scholarships. As well as annual teachers’ conferences, the Institute funded teachers (and their schools) to spend a term’s sabbatical at the University of York to commence an original research project, which could be continued back at school.


The Salters’ Institute began working on curriculum development; the most far reaching change of direction it has made. This change, instigated by David Waddington, Professor of Chemical Education at the University of York, was to bring about a much larger concept – a range of new science courses at GCSE and A Level based on teaching science in context. This is known as ‘The Salters’ Approach’. The courses focus on the use of chemistry and other sciences in real life, with an emphasis on practical chemistry. The Salters’ Approach has been taken up in many other countries with resources written in several different languages.


The Salters’ Institute is a leading educational charity in the promotion of the teaching and learning of chemistry, the support of young people to engage with chemistry and chemistry related sciences, and the encouragement of young people to explore and pursue chemistry related careers in and beyond the chemical industry.

Our work engages with learners, teachers, technicians, chemists and scientists across schools, universities and industry across the UK. Through our programmes and outreach we want to inspire the next generation of chemists and scientists to make a positive and lasting contribution to their community and the wider society. The Salters’ Institute is the flagship charity of the Salters’ Company.

The Salters’ Institute is a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number: 328463).

What We Do

The Salters’ Institute’s influence stretches across the world. Its aims are clear: to promote the appreciation of, and interest in, chemistry and the related sciences amongst young people and to encourage chemistry-based careers. This is achieved through the Salters’ Education Team and their support of, and work with, teachers, technicians, young and adult learners and families across the UK through our outreach programme, educational activities and curriculum design and development.

Salters' Festivals of Chemistry

The Salters’ Institute Festivals of Chemistry have traditionally been one-day events for students aged 11-14, which involve teams of students visiting their local universities to take part in Salters’ Chemistry Challenges and other chemistry-related activities.

Since 1991, over 50,000 students at more than 900 Festivals have experienced the fun of practical chemistry. None of this could have been achieved without the continual help, support and sponsorship from over fifty universities and organisations. The Festivals were expanded in 2019 to incorporate the participation of students aged 13-14.

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are taking our Festivals of Chemistry online. Our focus this year will be regional with six Festivals across the UK: Festival ScotlandFestival NWFestival NEFestival SEFestival SW and Festival Wales. Students, teachers and technicians in Northern Ireland will be able to join any of the Festivals remotely. Festival Scotland will launch online in mid-June, with the other Festivals going live from late June to mid-July 2021. Each festival will run for approximately one week and content from host universities within that region will be hosted online on our Festivals 2021 platform.

For more information about our Festivals 2021 programme please contact:

Chemistry Camps

The Salters’ Chemistry Camps were founded in 1998 and paused in 2015. A total of 185 camps took place during this time, hosted by 15 different universities across the UK, with 9,500 students having had the opportunity to participate.

Chemistry Camps in India

Thanks to the generous support of Dr Yusuf Hamied, the model now forms part of a project in India run in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) to deliver a joint five year “Inspirational Chemistry Programme”, which has been extended. The Chemistry Camps in India focus on engaging with students facing significant socio-economic disadvantage.

Dr Yusuf Hamied is leading Indian philanthropist and pioneer in the pharmaceutical industry. The Salters’ Chemistry Camps in India hope to enhance the skills and knowledge of Indian chemistry teachers and inspire students to study chemistry at university by applying their own expertise in education and combining this with the experience of partners in India. During the initial five years of the programme, it is planned that at least 1650 students will participate in around 30 Chemistry Camps across India.

At each of the Chemistry Camp approximately 60 students in 9 Standard Grade (14-15 year olds), from Government schools, participate in a varied programme of practical activities (delivered in local languages), chemical demonstrations and fun lectures. Participants also have time to enjoy a different institutional setting and have fun with their peers. University faculty members and or team of local teachers mentor the students at each of the three-day Chemistry Camps (depending on the venue).

Awards and Alumni Programme

The Salters’ Company and Institute has a programme of awards, scholarships and prizes to recognise excellence in chemistry and chemistry-related teaching and learning, academic, vocational and professional achievements. The awards are presented at our Annual Awards Ceremony.