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Taking science into school: why both sides benefit

Colin Plumb PhD researcher at MRC CRM

Colin Plumb, PhD researcher at MRC-CRM

Science fascinates people of all ages. But for interested young people, higher education and a career in the lab can feel like a daunting and distant prospect. Colin Plumb is a PhD researcher at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at the University of Edinburgh, where an unexpected collaboration with a local school is inspiring the next generation of researchers and even refuelling his own passion for his work.

Researchers don’t always make the best teachers. We’re prone to getting caught up in small details, which can consume our thoughts and divert attention away from the bigger picture. It’s unfortunate, because the big questions in science are often the most interesting. They’re the reason many of us were seduced by science when we began studying it in school. Helping to mentor young science students at Castlebrae High School has forced me to examine why I got into science, and I think in many ways re-learn things I had forgotten. Read more

Working life: Professor Janet Darbyshire

Professor Janet Darbyshire worked in medicine and then clinical trial based research from the early 1970s. Playing an instrumental role in the development of HIV treatment, she’s worked on and coordinated many clinical trial programmes in the UK and Africa. Last month we celebrated her achievements at a ceremony held within the Houses of Parliament, awarding Janet our most prestigious award, the MRC Millennium Medal. Here Janet tells us about her early memories of medicine, giraffes in Africa and the changes she’s seen her research make to people’s lives.

Career in brief

  • Qualified in medicine at The University of Manchester in 1970
  • MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 1990
  • Became head of the MRC HIV Clinical Trials Centre in London in 1989
  • In 1998 established, and became director of, the MRC Clinical Trials Unit (CTU)
  • Awarded an OBE in 1996 and a CBE in 2010 for services to clinical sciences

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Why research has a bright future in the UK

The Rt Hon Lord Henley present Professor Janet Darbyshire with the MRC Millennium Medal

The Rt Hon Lord Henley presents Professor Janet Darbyshire with the MRC Millennium Medal

Last week we awarded the MRC Millennium Medal to Professor Janet Darbyshire, whose world-leading research on clinical trials and epidemiology has prevented disease and saved lives across the world. Here the Rt Hon Lord Henley, minister with responsibility for life sciences and Industrial Strategy, reflects on the ceremony and the importance of sustained support for scientists, scientific discovery and its translation into health and wealth benefits.

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