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Next generation of scientists attend Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival

Budding young scientists from schools across London attended the Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival held at Queen Mary University of London.

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The festival, held at Queen Mary’s Mile End campus, is aimed at young people interested in a career in science and medicine.

Now in its ninth year, the 2019 festival was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Barts Biomedical Research Centre, Queen Mary University of London (NIHR Barts BRC) and Trials Connect (a project to develop and share resources that enable cross-generational, shared learning experiences which encourage public knowledge of, and participation in, clinical trials).

Jane Batchelor, Centre and Events Manager at Queen Mary’s NIHR Barts BRC, said: “All the staff, students, volunteers and of course attendees make this such a fun event to run.

“We had a fantastic turn out this year; it was great to see the children engaging in the activities and developing their interest in science.”

Exhibitors at the festival included Let’s talk hearts (free heart talks for the general public supported by the BRC), the Wellcome Trust, NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames and Barts Community Smiles, where attendees could learn about how good dental care keeps everyone smiling.

Talks were given Mohammed Khanji (Barts Health NHS Trust), Chris Primus (Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute) and the team from Centre of the Cell, Queen Mary’s informal science learning centre.

Attendees could also vote for their favorite image in Queen Mary’s Life Science Image Awards Exhibition. The Life Science Image Awards are created as an opportunity for Queen Mary staff and students to present their artistic perspective within the world of Life Sciences.

Raising conversations

One exhibitor included the My Asthma In School project which goes into schools to find out what students know about asthma, and educate students on asthma through interventions, workshops, games and activities.

Stuart Macfarlane, from the My Asthma In School project, said: “The stand that we have here today at the Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival incorporates some of the things that we do in schools.

“We have an activity about a group of celebrities ranging from cyclists, swimmers, actors to politicians, and we ask the children to put them into categories of who has asthma and who does not.  

“The plot twist is that they all do have asthma. The activity raises conversations about what having asthma means and shows the children that it’s not necessarily restrictive on what we can keep on doing.”

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