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The University of Southampton

Teenage scientists recognised at Hampshire event

Published: 7 March 2024
Two people stand by skeleton
Young researchers were celebrated at the event

Young researchers lit up the sky at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium for a glittering film premiere and awards ceremony to celebrate their achievements.

Hosted by local radio star Zoe Hanson, the red carpet event shone a spotlight on the work of LifeLab’s Young Researcher Training Programme and its Youth Panel.

LifeLab is a unique research-based educational programme that empowers children and young people to understand the science behind their health, and to inform the choices they make for their own lives – for their health now, in the future, and for their future families.

Created by the University of Southampton, in collaboration with the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and University Hospital Southampton, where it is based, LifeLab will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer, having welcomed more than 15,000 students through its doors.

The films premiered at the event are part of an initiative called the Young Researcher Training Programme which was initially developed through the Pathways to Health Project. The young people involved are all aged between 14 and 17 and employed by the University of Southampton to research the issues that matter most to them.

In the short videos - filmed by local agency RCM - the young people took centre stage to devise, script, act in and direct, to introduce and explore important issues in the field of research such as ethics, methods, and data analysis, bringing these topics to life with their own unique energy, fun and humour.

LifeLab Programme Director, Dr Kath Woods-Townsend , said: “This was a wonderful celebration of the work of the young people.

“I am constantly amazed by the extraordinary young people we work with. They are the teenagers you walk past in the supermarket, the young people you see hanging out at the bus stop, the teens meeting in the park and the students you walk past in the school or college corridors.

“They are all extraordinary and it’s up to all of us to work together, with them, to make sure their futures are as bright as possible.”

The event also saw the launch of LifeLab’s vaping resources toolkit which was co-created with the Youth Panel to help schools and youth organisations tackle the issue of vaping and its possible health impacts. LifeLab is making these resources available free of charge to organisations who feel they could benefit.

An awards ceremony brought the evening to an end, with categories celebrating the young people’s flair for research and communication skills, as well as others that honoured best catchphrase and best facial expressions.

The Star of the Night award was voted for by audience members and was won by Vishaan Vohra, a student at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College.

Vishaan said: “Stepping onto the red carpet was a surreal dream come true. I’m honoured to have clinched not just one, but two awards, for best drama queen moment and Star of the Night.

“I’d like to thank the University of Southampton and LifeLab for the Young Researcher Training Programme and for recognising young talent and achievements.”

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