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Young people attend research masterclass in south London

Eleven 15-19-year-olds attended a master class in research fundamentals, vital signs monitoring and communicating research findings at the youth workshop organised jointly by the NIHR CRN South London’s Inclusivity Panel and The Hebe Foundation. The group toured the NIHR Wellcome Trust King’s Clinical Research Facility (King’s CRF) and had the opportunity to enter a poster competition.

The day began with a simulation of a scientific experiment based on the Cookie Experiment teaching technique. Students were invited to “test” two types of cookies, complete an assessment tool and analyse their data. Through this exercise, young people learned about the scientific method and its fundamental concepts such as hypothesis testing, falsifiability and replicability, quantitative and qualitative data.

We then looked at how this works in the context of health research. We looked at an example of an imaginary clinical trial and learned some basic principles of health research, including informed consent and ethical review, randomisation, inclusion and exclusion criteria and representativeness.

Young people then had a workshop on vital signs monitoring. Chifundo Stubbs, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for CRN South London, who previously worked as a Research Nurse at King’s CRF, told the students about research nursing and demonstrated what a typical research visit looks like. She then showed how a vital signs monitor works and demonstrated how to use it to measure blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygenation and temperature. Young people then worked in pairs to take each other’s vital signs.

In the afternoon, Holly Lovell, a Research Midwife currently working on her PhD and a member of the Inclusivity Panel, joined us to talk about her research career path and research interests. Holly explained how scientific communication works and showed her own scientific poster on inclusion in maternity research that won a prize at the CRN South London’s Annual Research Forum this year. Holly also spoke about health inequalities and why inclusion in research is important to tackle them.

Chifundo Stubbs, who leads the Inclusivity Panel, said:

“Engaging the next generation in research provides us opportunities to develop and empower young people to consider a career in research, hopefully. We want the researchers of tomorrow to come from multiple disciplines, specialisms, geographies and backgrounds. I also want to thank everyone who supported the workshop, and I hope the young people had a great time.”

The young people then visited the King’s CRF trial procedure room, clinical examination room and patient lounge area and learned about what happens in each area.

The Inclusivity Panel ensures research is representative of the south London region and is based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

The Hebe Foundation is a Christian youth organisation that works with young people aged 13-20 to help them to discover and use their talents.
Amie Buhari, Chief Executive and Founder of The Hebe Foundation, said:

“Our aim is always to provide space for young people to explore and develop their gifts. Partnering with NIHR CRN South London has provided a quality dip into the world of research, giving our young people the opportunity to take this interest further. It was great to see them engage in this new territory. Thanks to all those who supported the day.”

Email if you’d like to learn more about our youth research engagement events.