Young researchers lit up the sky at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium for a glittering film premiere and awards ceremony.

Hosted by radio star Zoe Hanson, the red-carpet event shone a spotlight on the work of LifeLab’s Young Researcher Training Programme and its Youth Panel.

LifeLab is a research-based educational programme that empowers children and young people to understand the science behind their health. The young people, aged between 14 and 17, are employed by the University of Southampton to research issues that matter to them.

The films premiered at the event were part of an initiative called the Young Researcher Training Programme which was developed through the Pathways to Health Project.

In the short videos - filmed by agency RCM - the young people took centre stage to devise, script, act in and direct, to introduce and explore important issues in the field of research. Many also featured running jokes around a skeleton called Skelly. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Eva Morrill, LifeLab Vaping Youth Panellist, Aananya Mahajan and award winners Madeleine Harris,

LifeLab was created by the University of Southampton in collaboration with the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and University Hospital Southampton, where it is based, and will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer, having welcomed more than 15,000 students through its doors.

Programme director, Dr Kath Woods-Townsend said: “This was a wonderful celebration of the work of the young people.

“I am constantly amazed by the extraordinary young people we work with. They are all extraordinary and it’s up to all of us to work together, with them, to make sure their futures are as bright as possible.”

The event also saw the launch of LifeLab’s vaping resources toolkit which was co-created with the Youth Panel to help schools and youth organisations tackle the issue of vaping.

Hampshire Chronicle: Jesmeen Kaur, Kemi Hussain and Sophia Njenga-Kuria, all Young Researcher Training Programme members

An awards ceremony brought the evening to an end, with categories celebrating the young people’s flair for research and communication skills, as well as others that honoured best catchphrase and best facial expressions.

The Star of the Night award was voted for by audience members and it was won by Vishaan Vohra, a student at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College.

Hampshire Chronicle: Abigail Batt, from the LifeLab social media team, and Vishaan Vohra, winner of Star of the Night

Vishaan said: “Stepping onto the red carpet at LifeLab’s Celebrate the Stars event was a surreal dream come true. I’m honoured to have clinched not just one, but two awards, for best drama queen moment and Star of the Night.

“I’d like to thank the University of Southampton and LifeLab for the Young Researcher Training Programme and for recognising young talent and achievements.”

Click the top image to see pictures from the night.