SRP high school programme 2017 was a great succes – University of Copenhagen

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22 November 2017

SRP high school programme 2017 was a great succes

OUTREACH

On November 16-17 2017, 15 students from Danish high schools across the country participated in the two day SRP course on radiation and DNA damage. It was the second time that BRIC hosted this course and this year 55 students applied for a spot at in the programme. This is more than double the amount of last year and proves that there is a great demand for this type of events.

During the 2 days, the students carried out a preplanned experiment about radiation and cell damage with the help of PhDs and postdocs. The first day was spent in the lab and the second analyzing the results of the experiment – providing the students with a dataset to take home and include in their SRP assignment.

 

SRP ASSIGNMENT

SRP is an obligatory written assignment in Danish high school, in which the students must answer a question involving methods from at least two academic subjects.

Knowledge and insight: Participating in the SRP programme

One of this year’s participants is Sofie from Roskilde high school who is writing her SRP on liver cancer in Biology and Chemistry. She applied to the course because she wanted to write about a subject that she felt was both exiting and meaningful. She feels that the experiment has given her concrete knowledge and insight into life as a researcher and also a concrete advantage in regards to her assignment:

"You acquire some concrete data to work with – something that you have produced yourself, instead of just having to examine the results of others – it feels much more exiting and relevant."

Besides the content of the experiment, she mentions working so closely with the researchers as a special highlight:

"It was really cool, that so many researchers were there to help us during the experiment, so we were so well taken care of. All the involved researchers were so nice and pedagogical and willing to answer all kinds of questions during the course."

Besides the practical assignment, the students were presented with talks about cancer treatment, ongoing research projects at BRIC and life as a researcher, and given a tour of the animal facility.

A small reality check  - hosting the SRP programme

Anette Høye from Erler Group has been this year lab manager, and has been in charge of quality proving the setup prior to the course and coordinating the different tasks and teams during the course days.

 

OUTREACH OBLIGATION

Postdocs and PhDs on Marie Curie and ITN grants are obligated to participate in outreach activities aimed at a non-academic audience.

She signed up to be a part of the project because she thinks it’s important to show what researchers actually do and how quality research is necessary to develop new treatments and therapies and because she believes that courses like these can inspire students to be excited about science.

"It was a pleasure to interact with the students and to learn about what they do in high school now. It was also interesting to discuss what they would like to study after high school. The students also ask different types of questions that challenges you as a scientist in a different way compared to an everyday working situation."

Even though the project has taken some time and effort she has enjoyed being a part of it and in her opinion it’s important for BRIC to offer outreach events because it gives something back to both society and the researchers involved:

"In addition to the experience of planning and coordinating the course I have gotten to know new colleagues at the institute. Also, it is a small “reality check” to talk to high school students in the sense it makes us think about the wider impact of what we do and why we do it."

The SRP programme was organized and carried out by:

Anette Høye (Erler), Mei Qi Kwa (Brakebusch), Luka Bevc (Sørensen), Sebastian Nielsen (Erler), Colm O Rourke (Andersen), Emilie Tresse-Gommeaux (Issazadeh-Navikas), Alejandro Enrique Mayorca Guiliani (Erler) with assistance from Yasuko Antoku, group leaders Joachim Weischenfeldt and Claus Sørensen and communications officer Anne Rahbek-Damm (practical coordinator)