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Young researchers celebrated

03 October 2013

Rachel Atkinson

Poster exhibition displayed academic talents of A-Level and undergraduate degree students

The research talents of local schoolchildren and university students have been celebrated by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Youngsters from colleges across the county joined 50 UCLan undergraduates at a poster exhibition to display their work from the pioneering summer research internship project.

The 16 A-Level students took part in a first-of-its-kind Young Researchers Scheme which gave them the opportunity to play an active role in current research programmes taking place at the University. In addition 50 research projects were undertaken by undergraduate student interns as part of the annual UCLan Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme.

Kirsty Brocklehurst, from Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School, was named the winner of the Young Researchers Scheme. She worked with UCLan astrophysicists to produce interactive promotional materials showcasing the University’s collaborative project with NASA to capture high-resolution images of the Sun.

The 18-year-old said: “In only a week I learned the essentials of computer coding and I really enjoyed working with both UCLan undergraduate students and academic staff. The project has given me a feel for university life and stretched me academically by giving me the chance to work at a higher level.”

The UCLan Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme students spent 10 weeks working with academics in a variety of subject areas including science, psychology, health, sport and the arts.

“The project has given me a feel for university life and stretched me academically by giving me the chance to work at a higher level.”

The winner, announced at the academic poster exhibition, was Jessica Oliver from the School of Forensics and Investigative Sciences whose research involved the rapid diagnosis of brain tumours.

Commenting on her work the 19-year-old from North Wales said: “I’m amazed to receive such an accolade from the University. My research focuses on developing a less invasive way to diagnose brain cancer and I was able to work with 97 patients at Royal Preston Hospital; this was invaluable and not something I expected to do as a first year student.

“The project has opened my eyes to the many career prospects available to me and now my long term ambition is to work in cancer research.”

The runner-up was Karl Povey whose research focussed on the Roman settlement in Ribchester.

The 21-year-old, from Nottingham, said: “I’m very pleased to have been named the runner-up as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on this project. I unearthed a range of artefacts in the 5x2metre trench, discovered the shape of the Roman fort was very unusual and did lidar research on the River Ribble.” 

“UCLan has an absolutely outstanding reputation both nationally and internationally for engaging with young researchers and I’m enormously proud of what I’ve seen today.”

 

New UCLan Vice-Chancellor Gerry Kelleher addressed the exhibition and presented the students with their certificates.

He said: “The work on display has shown the real quality and breath of research produced by all the students involved. UCLan has an absolutely outstanding reputation both nationally and internationally for engaging with young researchers and I’m enormously proud of what I’ve seen today.”

Four other students were given highly commended awards for their work. Tyrone Moore from the School of Education and Social Science, Jonathan Ferris from the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Colette Miller from the School of Health and Monica Deypurkaystha from the School of Social Work were recognised by the University.

The UCLan Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme is co-ordinated by UCLan’s Centre for Research-informed Teaching. Professor Stuart Hampton-Reeves, Director of the Centre for Research-informed Teaching, added: “The work has been really outstanding this year, both with our undergraduates and the young researchers. The initiative goes from strength-to-strength and I’m delighted to see so many students showing an interest in the world of academic research.

“The Young Researchers Scheme has been fantastic and the level of work they’ve produced has been outstanding. It’s also been great to see some of our staff, who were involved as students back in 2008, help out with this year’s students.”