The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) aims to inspire future global health leaders and to improve health equity around the world. Thanks to the support of donor Tony McClellan, our award-winning Young Scientists Programme is doing exactly that – inspiring.
In July 2019, LSHTM opened its doors to welcome another cohort of ambitious young scientists. Twelve new students aged 14-18 worked together on a two-week work experience placement. The aim is to give young people the opportunity to see and experience first-hand how biomedical research is conducted.
The programme began in 2001 and continues today through philanthropy. Tony’s generous support inspires many students to pursue further education in global health and, over the years, more than 600 students have taken part in the programme.
On why he chose to support the programme, Tony McClellan said: “I was persuaded by Anna Goodman of the importance of this initiative in giving young people, from the local area, the opportunity to see how scientific research in a major academic institution worked and to involve them in the process. I was totally convinced, after the first session.
“The enthusiasm and commitment shown by both the staff of LSHTM and the pupils was infectious! The pride of the parents and school staff who came to the presentations even more so - they saw their children in a new and very positive light. This programme had to continue, so helping to fund it was an easy decision.”
Last academic year participating students chose a variety of topics around which to conduct research. Subjects of study reflect the diverse interests of participants, including:
- the accessibility of the underground for those with disabilities
- the effect of caffeine on cognitive ability
- the perception of vaccines.
Students work together in teams with the programme culminating in presentations to peers and staff at LSHTM.
Afet Aygin, a Work Experience Co-ordinator from a local school, has seen first-hand the effect on participants: “The Young Scientists Programme is tremendously impactful! It not only gives students an insight into LSHTM but raises their aspirations, and ability to present and research, which equips them with valuable skills. Being involved with an organisation so close to their interests and being offered such placements is invaluable to our students.”
By opening LSHTM’s doors to young students, they are given an opportunity to sample real-life biomedical research. Many participants in the programme have pursued further education in related fields proving the success of the initiative.
"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 LSHTM and its local community."
Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Public Health & Primary Care
Gifts to LSHTM help support students and researchers, fund scholarships and bursaries, and contribute to our world-class research and teaching. All donations, big and small, make a huge difference to our School. Tony McClellan’s long-standing donation has inspired many to pursue careers in public health ensuring the continued development of the field. Overall, donor support provides opportunities to deserving students.
The most valuable part of the whole initiative is what students walk away with. Reflecting on their experience, a student from 2018 said: “It has been amazing. It has helped me to work really hard and improved my confidence in presenting.”
Highlighting what they liked about coming to LSHTM, students said: “To be honest, I enjoyed everything. Everyone was awesome and I had a great time throughout the whole programme.”
This continues to inspire our team at LSHTM to grow and develop the Young Scientists Programme and to welcome more pupils each year.