Since 1995, Cardiff University’s School of Medicine has welcomed sixth form pupils from across Wales with the aim of engaging and inspiring them with the exciting science underpinning clinical management of disease and medical research.
This year, as the event celebrates its 25th anniversary, pupils will once again be participating in laboratory tours to gain a feel for the excitement and challenges of biomedical research; visiting a wide range of interactive exhibitions; listening to a series of talks on various hot topics in biomedical science; and meeting and question scientists and clinicians from across the whole spectrum of scientific and healthcare careers.
A key feature of this event is to show how scientific curiosity can sometimes quite unexpectedly lead to major breakthroughs in medicine. A classic example includes how the study of a luminous jellyfish led researchers in the School of Medicine to develop a technology now used in several hundred million clinical tests per year worldwide.
Over the years, it has become clear that Science in Heath LIVE, alongside other Science in Health initiatives is having a positive impact on influencing career choices and supporting pupils to realise those choices in terms of gaining university entrance.
Thomas Grother, a fourth-year medical student, who intercalated in medical education last year, said: “I attended the Science in Health Live event when I was a sixth-former. It gave me the opportunity to explore lots of different science courses on offer in university. I had already considered medicine, and it was great to have the opportunity to have hands-on experiences and ask staff and students questions throughout the day. I went on to apply to study medicine, and was offered a place here in Cardiff. If you think you may want to study a science course in university, then definitely come along to Science in Health Live!”
Lisa Jeffers, 5th year medical undergraduate, attended Science in Health LIVE and work experience in 2012. She said: “My time at medical school, now sadly coming to an end, has been shaped for the better thanks to Science in Health. I am extremely grateful to the event and the individuals involved in its running. I have been heavily involved in academia and research throughout my degree, I believe this interest all began back in 2012 with this event. The opportunities I’ve had have been endless including an intercalated degree at Imperial College London, publications and an elective placement opportunity with the University of Toronto. The friends I made back in 2012 have also become friends for life. Thank you, Science in Health!”
Nicholas Alford, Deputy Director of Faculty of Science, St Cyres School, has been bringing year 12 pupils to Science in Health LIVE for over 10 years. He said: “I look forward to bringing our students to the event. They get to see the great breadth of opportunities for careers in the medical professions. The laboratory tours are a highlight of the day; showing the diversity of techniques used in modern diagnosis and treatment. The hands-on activities are great fun and an ideal time for students and teachers to network. It is great to see how the event has evolved over the time I have been bringing students. The Science in Health team are an inspiration to all; their love of their work shows through in their enthusiasm for the event. I highly recommend Science in Health Live to any science teacher; it is consistently the best A level trip we take the students on.”
Dr Matt Morgan, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Honorary Senior Research Fellow, attended Science in Health LIVE when he was a year 12 pupil. Matt said: "I would never have guessed that attending this brilliant event over 20 years ago would be so important for my future. I am not sure I would have still become a doctor, a researcher, an author and a teacher without this. Thank you.”
Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, encouraged and supported the very first Science in Health Live, in 1995. On Wednesday 13th March, he will be giving the plenary talk ‘Health Care - 25 years of progress but more to come?’.
Professor Borysiewicz is a Welsh immunologist and served as the 345th Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University. He also served as Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council from 2007- 2010 and presently is Chair of Cancer Research UK. On his return to Cardiff to attend the 25th Science in Health LIVE event he said: “The last 25 years have been the most exciting years of new insights and discovery. It is likely the next 25 will be more exciting still. This meeting is a great opportunity to look forward and to engage with those who will be lucky enough to take the next steps in mankind’s development.”
Professor Anthony Campbell, a longstanding Chair of the Science in Health group, will be giving the plenary talk on Thursday 14th March entitled ‘25 years that have revolutionised medicine’. He added: “The Science in Health live initiative has been an inspiration to me, hundreds of staff, and thousands of pupils and teachers, since we started it 25 years ago. Grass roots involvement has been crucial to its success and sustainability. It has pioneered engagement with schools and the public, not just in Wales, but throughout the UK and internationally. Central to our mission was to excite budding young scientists and health care professionals about what science we do in a medical school, and University, and how this can impact on patient care, technology, and the economy. Long may it continue!”
Dr James Matthews, School of Medicine and current chair of the Science in Health group, who has attended all 25 Science in Health LIVE’s, said: "A great deal of effort goes into the design of the individual tours, talks, panels, quiz and exhibits for SIH-Live but it is very clear that this effort pays dividends in inspiring the next generation of scientists and clinicians.
“This year, we are introducing a CPD session for teachers which we hope will be useful and a developing part of what Science in Health LIVE will offer in the future.”
Professor Gary Baxter, Pro Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University’s College of Biomedical and Life Sciences added: “This is a massive achievement for Science in Health LIVE and congratulations to all academic and administrative staff and students at all levels, from postgraduates to Professors, representing the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Healthcare, Dentistry and Optometry within the College, who successfully deliver this event. We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude for their hard work.
“It clearly impacts on budding scientists and healthcare professionals at a crucial decision-making time in their lives. This first contact with University Schools across the College has seeded many inspiring career paths and demonstrates the important role that University’s play in delivering inspiring events such as Science in Health LIVE.”
Pupils stimulated by what they witness during SIH LIVE can apply for a week-long ‘Science in Health’ work experience scheme at Cardiff School of Medicine. For further details please visit: www.cardiff.ac.uk/medicine/about-us/engagement/science-in-health