Students from an Offaly primary school will travel to Galway today (Friday) for the finals of a novel competition aimed at educating young people on the importance of clinical trials in the national and global healthcare sector.
Gaelscoil an Eiscir Riada in Hop Hill Grove, Tullamore is one of just three primary schools to make it to the finals of the prestigious START (Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials) competition, which take place later today in NUI, Galway.
The students, under the guidance of teacher, Aoife Ní Fhlannagáin, conducted a randomised clinical trial titled “Does listening to the same music while studying for, and completing a test, improve your scores?”
Dr Sandra Galvin, Programme Manager at NUI Galway, acknowledged that clinical trials can be “complex and challenging for people to understand” but she praised the three finalists in the START competition and said “here we have children rising to this challenge so well.” She added that START is “about breaking down the barriers in the undertstanding of trials, and helping to understand the power trials have to improve healthcare for all.”
Speaking about the many competition entries which were received from primary schools right across the country, Dr. Darrin Morrissey, CEO at the Health Research Board, said “the ingenuity and approach that these young primary school students have taken in designing their own trials to inform decision-making is incredible.”
Dr Morrissey said he hoped that, as the young people talk about their research, at home and with friends, “it will help to demystify the idea of clinical research and encourage more people to ask about what trials are available to them in relation to their own healthcare.”
The other two schools who will be bidding for the overall prize against Gaelscoil an Eiscir Riada later today are Scoil Mobhí NS, Glasnevin, Dublin and Ovens NS in Cork.