Centre for Inflammation Research

CIR welcomes Youth Grand Challenges prize winners

July 2018: Runners-up of this year's Youth Grand Challenges STEM competition paid a visit to CIR as part of their prize.

On 3 July 2018, five pupils from Fitzalan High School in Cardiff came to visit both CIR and the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine for a 'behind-the-scenes' day to see what it is like to work as a research scientist. They were offered the chance as part of their prize for being the runners up in a national STEM competition, called Youth Grand Challenges.

Launched by the British Science Association and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this exciting and innovative competition aims to engage 11-19 year old students by looking at how science and technology can be used to tackle global health and development issues.

The theme for 2017 was infectious diseases. With one third of deaths in the world’s poorest countries caused by infectious diseases such as HIV, diarrhoea, malaria and tuberculosis, the competition challenged young people to come up with ideas to stop their spread.

The pupils at Fitzalan High School were tasked with designing a hand-washing system that collected and used rainwater efficiently that could be used by children in Kenya. They then had to develop a way to explain the science and how it works to children of Primary school level. The design made by Maya Velani (aged 12), Labiba Tarafder (aged 13), Afsana Ullah (aged 14), Yasmin Al-Sharki (aged 13), and Madiyah Awan (aged 14) was submitted for the "Discovery" category of the competition.

The winners were announced at an event in London, where they were addressed by Bill Gates via video. 

During their visit to CIR, the pupils were hosted by PhD student Lisa Kelly and postdoctoral researcher Dr Matthew Burgess. They got to visit the zebrafish and flow cytometry facilities, and visit Matthew's lab. They rounded off their day with a fun game of "Supercytes".

Congratulations to them, and thank you to everyone at CIR who helped make their day a memorable one.



British Science Association (external website)

Youth Grand Challenges (external website)