Due to the current pandemic and the significant pressure this has placed on Irish primary school Teachers, Principals, Parents and Students, START 2021 will not go ahead as planned.

We look forward to welcoming you all to apply for START 2022.

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The Need For Critical Thinking Among Children Is Now!

Everyday children are faced with health claims, some reliable and some not so reliable, but how do we help children see the “fake news” from the credible information? How do we teach our children to develop a critical eye when it comes to all of the information they encounter every day. The pandemic of 2020 has taught us all about the need to be critical when we read about health claims, and that we need to explore where claims are coming from.

We think we have the answer to helping children learn about this process… and its a lot of fun!

notification of shortlisted schools


What is the START Competition?

Every year the world celebrates International Clinical Trials Day on May 20th. This event marks the anniversary of the first well-documented randomised clinical trial which took place in 1747 in the British Navy. The Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) celebrates this important occasion with the help of the younger members of our community. We invite primary school students in 4th, 5th & 6th classes to lead on an exciting project and create their very own fun randomised clinical trial in the classroom. Primary school students are invited to recreate their very own randomised trial, following the resources provided.

Not only does this competition align with subjects within the primary school curriculum, this competition helps develop critical thinking and has been described by teachers as a new teaching tool.

START can help your students become the scientists of tomorrow, and the critical thinkers of today.

Teachers and students are asked to identify a suitable research question they can answer scientifically using the information provided. The purpose of this competition is to help students become aware of the randomised clinical trial process, rather than answering a groundbreaking question. Pick a simple, easy to answer question, but use the proper steps of a clinical trial to answer it.

The best part is that you can report the findings in any way you like, podcast, video, collage or poster, report, it’s up to you to be as creative as you like! The deadline for receipt of completed projects is April 22nd 2022.

Given the current pandemic, a new awards ceremony format will be in place for START 2022. This is to ensure social distancing and the safety of everyone involved.

The top 3 schools will win a crystal trophy and will participate in a unique online awards ceremony live streamed from NUI Galway on Thursday, May 20th 2022. Classes and schools will be able to join this event online. The START team will ensure a special event for everyone involved and that the achievements of the classes are celebrated.

Lets Get Started >

To get started, Simply download the relevant helpful documents below.
schools invitation letter
competition rules

News & Events

2022 judging panel
Check back to meet our Judging Panel for 2022.
The First Randomised Clinical Trial
Learn more about the first Randomised Clinical Trial and Dr James Lind.
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2017 Videos
Check out all of the fun of our 2017 event.
The Irish Times
Clinical trials: how oranges and lemons ensured we don’t compare apples with oranges.
The Irish Times
‘START’ competition lets pupils create clinical trials.
The Irish Times
‘START’ competition introduces pupils to the scientific way of problem solving.
Evidently Cochrane

Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials (START). Can understanding trials really be child’s play?

Check out Past Events

Previous Events

Click here to view the 3 shortlisted entries for 2016, 2017 & 2018. Each shortlisted school received a START trophy and attended a fun interactive day in NUI Galway to meet with people working on randomised clinical trials.

Need Support?

Contact one of START Clinical Trial Ambassadors who are happy to help you with any queries.
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