25 May 2017

More than 100 students learned more about clinical research at a flagship event hosted by the National Institute for Health Research.

Students watched a film called People are Messy before discussing and voting on key themes and issues exploring the value of patient and public involvement in health research.

It was one of only 11 events of its kind being held across England by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network as part of International Clinical Trials Day. The global annual awareness raising day on 20 May coincided with the anniversary of the achievement of Royal Navy officer James Lind in 1747 when he trialled different treatments of sailors for scurvy and discovered that it a lack of Vitamin C responded best to citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.

Over 24,800 people took part in clinical research studies in 2016-17 in the South West Peninsula (Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly) according to the NIHR Clinical Research Network for this region. Hundreds more volunteers shared their experience and skills to help with the design, set up, review and promotion of research studies.

Local Clinical Research Network event lead Wendy Shaw said: "We were delighted when Stoke Damerel Community College agreed to partner with the National Institute for Health Research to hold this engagement event for young people. There are many aspects of our lives and that of our family and friends which have been informed and improved thanks to health research. We hope that the students who took part in this event learned more about the opportunities for them to get involved in research by sharing their views and experiences now and throughout their lives.”

Mrs Carlson, Subject Leader for Health and Social Care at Stoke Damerel Community College, said: "It was a real privilege for us to be chosen as one of only 11 schools in the UK and the only one in the South West to take part in the event.

"We have built good relationships with many healthcare providers and organisations across Plymouth and the South West through initiatives like our Dementia Project and the new medical and healthcare school Stoke Damerel is sponsoring, Scott College.

“Being part of International Clinical Trials Day 2017 was a great opportunity for our students to find out more about clinical research, why and how it’s conducted as well as the many career choices it presents."

Year 9 student Georgia said: "It’s been really inspiring. The film was really interesting and I’ve learned lot today about what is involved in research like this."

Describing the event as "eye-opening," fellow Year 9 Kiera said: “It wasn’t what I was expecting – we found out so much about all aspects of research and how many different roles there are and how each is as important as the other. It’s been a really interesting day.”

The event also included an I Am Research challenge where the students quizzed mystery guests who play a part in health research to find out what it is they do.

'Eye-opening' look at clinical research

Tags: Dementia Project News: Academic Year 2016-17