Generations of curious minds have made Henkel a leading innovator today. Researchers’ World, a new Henkel initiative in North America will cultivate curiosity and build science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills for the generations to come.
A Global Tradition Comes to North America
In partnership with Mill River Park Collaborative and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Henkel launched its Researchers’ World program in North America in June 2021, continuing a decade-long global tradition at Henkel.
The program, developed by Henkel scientists, made its debut at Henkel’s Düsseldorf headquarters in April 2011. Henkel Researchers’ World provides an educational curriculum, enriching scientific learning through a multisensory approach, relying on research and development-based teaching. Since 2011, more than 62,000 children around the world have taken part in Henkel Researchers’ World programs.
“As a leading producer of adhesives, laundry and home care, and beauty products, we are passionate about science at Henkel,” says Nicolas Krauss, Global Head of Industrials & Electronics and Regional Head of Adhesive Technologies Americas, and co-executive sponsor of Henkel Researchers’ World in North America. “Henkel Researchers’ World aims to spark curiosity and engage young people in the fascinating world of science. We are delighted that we could bring this program to North America and help make STEM education accessible and fun.”
Putting theory into practice is the heart of Researchers' World. Students ages 8 to 10 step into the role of researcher through hands-on activities related to sustainability and research areas relevant to Henkel. For example, drawing on Henkel’s leadership in the adhesives market, a workshop entitled “A Sticky Situation” teaches students about the natural world of adhesives through experimentation, and how to use them to make our lives better — much like Henkel researchers do.
Partnering to Promote STEM
Mill River Park Collaborative proved the perfect partner to bring the vision behind Researchers’ World to life for the North American program launch. Located in the heart of Stamford, Connecticut — just blocks from Henkel’s Consumer Goods North American headquarters — the nonprofit brings expertise in environmental stewardship and education, along with 30 acres of reclaimed green space and a thriving natural ecosystem.
Following a successful pilot program, Researchers’ World at Mill River Park began offering free workshops in June 2021, introducing students to the concepts of sustainability, consumption, recycling, materials science and more.
“We are proud to partner with Henkel to deliver Researchers’ World to the students we serve. Both organizations value a pragmatic and honest approach to environmental education,” says Arthur Selkowitz, Chairman, Mill River Park Collaborative. “It’s really powerful to help kids understand their relationship to nature and how to use their scientific knowledge to make the world a better place.”
While the original vision aims for in-person classes, Henkel and Mill River Park worked together to adapt curriculum for virtual delivery so students could learn safely during the pandemic.
“These lessons do a great job because they’re grounded in average, everyday things kids are familiar with,” says Trent McCann, Professor for Henkel Researchers’ World at Mill River Park, and the face behind many of the workshops. “We empower students with the tools, language, and skills to employ what they learn outside of class. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing those ‘light bulb’ moments when students realize their power to create positive change.”
Expanding the Henkel Researchers’ World Program with Virtual Lesson Series
In commemoration of National STEM Day, Henkel is launching a limited virtual series of Researchers’ World lessons. The three-part online series includes topics on the process and importance of the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, exploring the natural world of adhesives, and detecting the presence of acids and the effects on everyday life.
The first lesson in the limited series will center around the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), and will premiere on Henkel’s YouTube channel at 6 p.m., ET, on November 8, and available on demand afterward.
Tune in on the second Monday of each month through January for additional lessons at 6 p.m. or view on demand afterwards. Participants can access the lesson and view the experiment materials needed on Henkel’s website. Lessons are free and no registration is required.
Looking Forward: What’s Next for Henkel Researchers’ World
While Henkel provides the educational curriculum, lesson structure, funding and other support, the goal is to partner with community organizations across North America to deliver Researchers’ World programs. The ideal partners are those that specialize in environmental education and have established relationships in locations where Henkel operates.
“Sustainability drives everything we do at Henkel. Our goal with Henkel Researchers’ World is to create sustainability ambassadors who are equipped and empowered to use their STEM knowledge to better the planet,” says Krauss. “We look forward to expanding our program both in Stamford, and beyond to reach more children in the years to come. The potential of this program is really limitless.”
To learn more about Henkel Researchers’ World, as well as Henkel North America’s broader commitments to sustainability, please visit Henkel’s dedicated sustainability webpage.