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Young Scientists Programme

Since 2001 the School has been offering its award-winning Young Scientists Programme to students aged 14-18 from London state schools. It gives young people the opportunity to see and experience first-hand how biomedical research is conducted and aims to inspire the next generation of public and global health researchers.

What does a Young Scientist do?

Students in the Young Scientists Programme spend 1-2 weeks at the School where they are immersed into the world of health research. Working in pairs or small groups, they devise a biomedical research question and hypothesis, conduct original research and prepare a final presentation to be given at an open scientific seminar on their last day.

During their time at the School, the students engage with designated members of staff and students who mentor and supervise the students, supporting their day-to-day development as well as their research plans and methodologies.

How can schools get involved?

The London School generally works with local authorities in Camden, Westminster and Islington and schools with which it already has a relationship, organising participating students through them. We will post updates on this page if we are in a position to form new partnerships. If you have any questions, please contact the Public Engagement Coordinator at publicengagement@lshtm.ac.uk.

Please note that the Young Scientists Programme is fully subscribed for the 2016/2017 academic year and we are unable to arrange individual work experience placements at the School.

Programme history

In 2001, 15 secondary school students from Barking & Dagenham, asked Carolyn Stephens if they could come to the school for work experience. Without any funding, the Programme ran initially with voluntary support from staff across the school.  From 2002-2008 the Programme offered work experience to over 300 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. In 2009, Anna Goodman took over as lead organiser before the Programme became centrally coordinated in 2012.   

Past and current Programme funding includes:

  • The Health and Environment Alliance, European Commission, and UK Health Protection Agency funded 10 students, along with students from Belgium and Russia, to attend the first World Health Organization supported Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in 2004. The students presented an award winning film on environment and health problems.  
  • The Wellcome Trust funded a public engagement Society Award from 2004-2006 to allow the school to work with students from three schools in Barking & Dagenham, exploring the impact of this work on both students & scientists.
  • The European Social Fund/Aimhigher Higher Education provided funding for summer programmes from 2003-2008.  This was a UK wide initiative designed to raise the awareness, aspirations and attainment of under-represented groups towards higher education.
  • Tony McClellan, a long-standing friend of the School who is currently on the Board of the American Friends, has generously funded the Programme since 2010.
Awards & accolades
  • 2004: Dr. Roberto Bertollini Director, Special Programme on Health & Environment, World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe stated:  “through the visible input of young people involved by Carolyn in the Budapest Conference in 2004, a “youth process” has been initiated in Europe over the last 3 years: a mechanism for young people’s systematic contribution in the policy development at the European level has been set up with the engagement of several countries”
  • 2007: Carolyn Stephens was awarded the Royal Society Kohn Award for Science Engagement
  • 2007: Carolyn Stephens was awarded the first London Education Partnership Award
  • 2010: Anna Goodman was awarded the Higher Education Student Volunteering Award
  • 2011: 16 year old Tabitha Manzuangani won the ‘Young Star’ category of the prestigious ‘Women of the Future’ Award after being nominated by Andy Haines. Tabitha was part of the ‘On the Buses’ study examining the public health impacts of introducing free bus travel for young people in London

"The best thing was being able to do work and having fun at the same time"
- Student age 18

“It has been an amazing experience. It has helped me to work really hard and improved my confidence in presenting”
Student age 15

"There's always a great sense of surprise and achievement amongst our students at the end of the placement once they realise they've essentially created, designed and carried out their own public health projects - and defended their work in front of some pretty rigorous questioning by academics. The success and longevity of the YSP programme is testament to the fantastic support by mentors, organisers and the schools we work with - and most importantly the enthusiasm of the students themselves."
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Dr. Seyi Soremekun, Academic Lead

"The students who attended work experience at the School had only positive things to say about it. They found the placement very enriching and this motivated them even more to follow medical science and research paths. This experience stimulated them to reach greater heights in their own practical investigations in science at GCSE level."
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Science teacher from a participating school

"It has been impressive to see how many young people have excelled as Young Scientists.  Many participants have gone on to study science subjects at University with the prospect that they will occupy leadership positions in the future. The Programme provides a taste of working in an institution committed to high quality science with a global impact. It has widened opportunities for participants but also forges invaluable links between the School and its local community." 

- Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Public Health & Primary Care

What kind of research questions do our Young Scientists ask?

Are pharmacists being used to their full potential? Does media influence body image for young people? What are people’s attitudes to human cloning?
How does computer gaming affect reaction time and memory? What do students think schools should do to encourage cycling? How much do people know about dementia?
Who is more stressed: men or women? Does skin cancer knowledge influence sunscreen use? What do you know about health eating?
Do factors effecting partner preference change with age? Does hand hygiene effect how often we get sick? Is yawning contagious?
Can chocolate improve your math skills? Does music effect concentration? Has laptop use contributed to increases in back pain?