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Teens premiere short films to inspire young people into research

Young researchers took centre stage at a glittering film premiere and awards ceremony.

The LifeLab celebration lit up the Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium on Friday.

LifeLab is a unique research-based educational programme. It is a collaboration between the University of Southampton, NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre and University Hospital Southampton.

The red-carpet event spotlighted a series of short videos created by young people for young people.

Highlighting health

LifeLab empowers children and young people to understand the science behind their health. This informs the choices they make for their own lives – for their health now, in the future and for their future families.

The programme will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer. It has welcomed more than 15,000 students through its doors at Southampton General Hospital.

LifeLab’s Youth Panels employ teens aged between 14 and 17 to research the issues that matter most to them.

The films premiered at the event are part of an initiative called the Young Researcher Training Programme. This was developed through a Pathways to Health Project.



Lights, camera, action!


The films were created by young people to empower others their age to lead their own research projects.


The teenagers devised, scripted, acted in and directed the whole series. The short videos were filmed by local agency RCM.


Each video introduces and explores important issues in the field of research. These include ethics, methods, and data analysis. The young people bring these topics to life with their own unique energy, fun and humour.


LifeLab Programme Director, Dr Kath Woods-Townsend said:

“This was a wonderful celebration of the work of the young people.

“I am constantly amazed by the extraordinary young people we work with. They are the teenagers you walk past in the supermarket. The young people you see hanging out at the bus stop. The teens meeting in the park. The students you walk past in the school or college corridors.

“They are all extraordinary and it’s up to all of us to work together, with them, to make sure their futures are as bright as possible.”

Vaping resources


The event also saw the launch of LifeLab’s vaping resources toolkit. This was co-created with the Youth Panel to help schools and youth organisations tackle the issue of vaping and its possible health impacts.


LifeLab is making these resources available free of charge to organisations who feel they could benefit.


An awards ceremony brought the evening to an end. The Star of the Night award was voted for by audience members. It was won by Vishaan Vohra, a student at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College.

Vishaan said: “Stepping onto the red carpet at LifeLab’s Celebrate the Stars event was a surreal dream come true. I’m honoured to have clinched not just one, but two awards, for best drama queen moment and Star of the Night.

“I’d like to thank the University of Southampton and LifeLab for the Young Researcher Training Programme and for recognising young talent and achievements.”

The Young Researcher Training Programme has been funded by:

  • LifeLab

  • NIHR Research Support Service

  • NIHR-funded EACH-B programme

  • Southampton Institute for Arts and Humanities

  • UKRI-funded Pathways to Health project

  • Regional Innovation Fund and the Policy Fund, both from the University of Southampton

  • Widening Participation and Social Mobility Directorate, University of Southampton



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