In the late 1990s, the pharmaceutical company Zeneca considered several ways to mark the millennium in 2000. The Research Director, Dr Peter Doyle (now Patron of PSTT), persuaded the Board that a good approach would be to set up a charitable trust to support science teaching in UK schools. In 1997, the Zeneca Science Teaching Trust was established as an independent charity with a trust fund of £20,000,000.
At the time, many industries contributed to promoting science education but most concentrated on secondary schools and universities. The Trust therefore decided to support projects with a particular focus on primary schools – especially developing the confidence and competence of primary teachers.
In 1999, the Zeneca Group merged with the Swedish company Astra AB to form AstraZeneca PLC. The Trust became the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust (AZSTT).