Cardiff University has teamed up with the Wales Cancer Research Centre to launch a competition and education pack to mark World Cancer Day.
Developed with teachers, researchers and poets, the new education pack aims to inspire a future generation of cancer researchers while improving skills in literacy and digital competency.
The Research Inspires Me project (RIME) features a quiz to educate about cancer risk factors, a tool to help children assess the validity of medical research claims they find online and a competition that challenges them to get creative and write a poem about cancer research.
The free resource is designed for use by English, Welsh, PSE and science teachers who work with key stage three pupils (age 11 - 14). Anyone can download the resources; they might be of particular interest to parents looking for home school activities during the current lockdown.
The competition launches today and invites school pupils to write a poem about cancer research. To inspire them, poets Ifor ap Glyn (National Poet of Wales) and Owen Sheers have composed works of their own, based on conversations with some of the researchers tackling cancer in Wales.
Dr Joanna Zabkiewicz, a Cardiff University researcher who develops new treatments for cancer patients, said: “It’s really important to encourage young people to think about careers in cancer research. Tackling cancer requires people in all sorts of roles: pharmacists, nurses, engineers, data managers... the list goes on!
“I hope these films and the education pack will encourage more people to take up careers in medical research.’
Dr Kieran Foley, a clinical researcher at Cardiff University and consultant radiologist, helped to develop the project.
“It’s wonderful to know that my work helps improve the lives of cancer patients and I hope this education pack will encourage young people to consider taking up a career in the field,’ he said.
Poet, author and playwright Sheers, who wrote the English-language poem, said: “I found my conversations with the researchers truly inspiring and I hope the film-poem goes some way towards inspiring a future generation of researchers.’
Ap Glyn, who composed the Welsh-language poem, said: “It was a privilege to contribute to this project, especially because of the opportunity to speak directly to some of the scientists and medics who are constantly working on cancer research here in Wales.’
The poetry competition is open until 30 April 2021. The poets will pick one winner in Welsh and one winner in English who will receive £150 each in book tokens for their school and have their poem displayed publicly at a cancer research facility.
The films and education pack are available in Welsh and English and are free to download here. They have been produced in a collaboration between Cardiff University, the Wales Cancer Research Centre and the Centre for Trials Research, with funding from the Wellcome Trust.