Let’s Chat Medicine: An innovative public engagement and involvement programme in health-related research

Written by: SBI Staff
Written on: Friday, 02 February, 2024

[UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, 1 JANUARY 2024]: Systems Biology Ireland at UCD has launched Let’s Chat Medicine (LCM), a new public engagement and involvement (PEI) initiative in the health-related research area, working in collaboration with Barretstown and the Young Person’s Advisory Group at the National Children’s Cancer Service. The overall objective of the LCM programme is to bring young members of the public together with STEM researchers, artists and a broad spectrum of professionals to work inclusively and in partnership towards a common goal of enhancing public understanding of personalised medicine.

The initiative will provide young people aged 15-18 years the opportunity to come on site to UCD for two days over Easter Break 2024 to participate in a structured workshop on the topics of genomics and personalised medicine. The workshop will provide ample opportunity for engagement with researchers and will include ice-breaker activities, lab tours, flash talks and focus groups. The participants will then spend three days on the Barretstown campus working with researchers, artists and experienced science communicators to co-create a portfolio of accessible multi-media content covering what they’ve learned, which will be shared on various public and social media platforms.

Young people will not only acquire knowledge of what personalised medicine and genomics are, but will also gain insight into the many potential careers available through their extensive interactions with professionals in the research, teaching/learning, education and public engagement, science communications and charity/non-profit spaces. It is hoped participants will leave the programme with a developed sense of personal agency and health research literacy. They will also receive a letter of programme completion which may open the door to future opportunities.

Target audience: This initiative is open to young people aged 15 - 18 years, specifically those with an interest in health-related research or seeking experience in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) plus the arts e.g. transition year students. Spaces are limited and will be allocated via an open and transparent application process (see details below).

Programme structure:             

Workshop 1:  25th – 26th March 2024
UCD: Introduction to genomics and its role in personalised medicine
Travel to/from UCD daily required.

Workshop 2: 1st – 3rd April 2024
Barretstown: Co-creation of accessible multi-media content on the topics of genomics
Overnight stay (2 nights) in Barretstown required.

Costs: Every effort will be made to facilitate transport from pre-agreed locations in the Dublin region to UCD/Barretstown. Any further costs associated with participating in the initiative such as food and accommodation will be covered in so far as is possible under the programme guidelines.

Application process: A short application form will be made available for download from Friday 2nd February 2024. Application requirements include personal details, two short questions relating to motivation and skill set, two references (at least one of which must be from a non-family member) and a parental consent form. The application window will remain open until 5pm Monday 12th February 2024. Completed applications will be accepted by email to lcm@ucd.ie. Successful applicants will be notified by 29th February 2024.

Application templates can be downloaded below in either Word or fillable PDF formats:

Application Form - WORD

Application Form - PDF