Leeds Young Research Owls

Leeds Young Research Owls formed in October 2019. We started off as a group of 2 children and young people, and have now grown to over 20 members. We feel very privileged to have joined the well-respected GENERATIONR Alliance. Some of us are patients, and some of us are aspiring healthcare professionals and scientists.

We meet every other month, alternating online and Face to Face. Occasionally we can accommodate extra, bespoke meetings according to researchers’ needs. Our group is made up of 10-18 (ish!) year old children and young people who are passionate about being involved in and supporting research.

We usually meet on a Thursday tea-time (17:00-19:00) and are always looking for new members. All enquiries are welcome. Please email: leedsth-tr.lyro@nhs.net

Leeds Young Research Owls

Meet the group

Upcoming meetings:

2024 meeting dates:

  • Thursday 11th April (F2F)
  • Thursday 20th June (F2F)
  • Thursday 19th September (F2F)
  • Thursday 7th November (online)

Contact details

Heather Rostron (Leeds Young Research Owls lead), can be contacted at leedsth-tr.lyro@nhs.net or Leeds Children’s Research Team, D Floor Martin Wing, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds LS1 3EX.


About Heather                                Heather Rostron is a PhD student funded by the NIHR and Senior Research Nurse at Leeds Children’s Hospital. Heather has worked in clinical research with children and young people since 2005 at the University of Nottingham, Central Manchester NHS FT, and Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Heather leads Leeds Young Research Owls.



What the young people say

My name is Libby and I am 18 years old. I joined the group after being recommended last year in the hope of gaining experience into the world of healthcare research and the chance to speak with people in the industry. As well as meeting new, young people with similar interests, I believe the group also provides the chance to learn and comment on various different trials and projects. For example, we provided feedback on the ‘scan-me project’, which involved looking into how children and their families felt about having scans after brain tumour treatment and ways in which this could be improved. We also got to speak with a Cardiac surgeon, who demonstrated 3D printed heart models and holograms. As well as getting to try these out for ourselves, we also learnt about the importance these provided for improving the accuracy of surgery. I love being a member of the owls as we are given lots of opportunities to learn about health research and to make an impact on future generations. 

Thank you so much for the certificates and the vouchers the certificates will definitely help me for when I am looking for jobs such as care assistant jobs so thank you once again I appreciate everything you have done and all the opportunities you have provided me with!

What do our researchers think about our involvement?

“What was really good for my project was that the ages of the group fitted so well with my study… some that fall into my 11-16 age range and a few members that fall just either side- that gave me a really good idea whether my study info was well-pitched for the very youngest and eldest in my target group.”

Grace Lewis, University of Leeds Postgraduate Researcher, regarding her children’s asthma project


“Thank you very much for taking the time to review the documents for me. Your feedback is clear and very helpful!”

Laurie Cave, HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow and Specialist Children’s Cystic Fibrosis Dietitian


“We were impressed with how the young people engaged with our project. Their feedback was really clear and will help us as we develop our methodology as well as our information. It gave us a lot of confidence for the next steps. Thank you research owls!”

Professor Adam Glaser, Paediatric Oncology & Late Effects, University of Leeds; Consultant Paediatric & Adolescent Oncologist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

“Your members should be so proud of themselves.  I can’t believe how knowledgeable and professional they all were, especially the younger ones.”

Ms Aimee Charnell, Surgical Review Fellow & PhD candidate, University of Leeds


“I really enjoy working with the LYRO group, to gain insight into the views of young people on research, which improves the studies and my skills in explaining our work.”

Dr Bob Phillips, Senior Clinical Academic, University of York & Honorary Consultant in Paediatric / Teenage-Young Adult Oncology at Leeds Children’s Hospital


“We asked the the Young Research Owls to help us understand findings from our project exploring empowerment. Heather helped us to organise and work with the group and provided excellent background support and guidance. The Young Research Owls were amazing to work with. We found them fully engaged, deeply thoughtful and they provided so much insight and guidance to us. We are very grateful to them for spending their valuable time with us and hope that they enjoyed our time together as much as we did!”

Dr Amanda Mason-Jones, Associate Professor in Global Public Health, University of York

”it was tremendously humbling to meet the Young Owls and the role that they undertake. It was enlightening to hear their views on Paediatric Critical Care and their understanding of it and their interpretation and practical application of the Data opt-out policy – their perception of what it meant for them personally and their mature and altruistic approach of ‘well if it benefits other children…’. There was also a couple of great ideas of how to inform children and young people and carers about the work of PICANet and the opt out.”
PICANet data team

Latest from Leeds Young Research Owls

New Owls Induction launched

At out last F2F meeting in January, Mr Karl Ward from Research and Innovation Education department, came and spoke to us about the basics of research as part of our new induction the Owls group. We enjoyed taking part in a chocolate randomised controlled trial and hearing about what research actually is and why we […]

Launch of CHORAL by Amelie, member of Leeds Young Research Owls

In our most recent meeting on 7th March 2024, the spotlight fell upon the innovative CHORAL (Child Health Outcomes Research at Leeds) program. This initiative, spearheaded by the University of Leeds in collaboration with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Leeds Hospitals Charity, stands as a significant effort aimed at confronting the challenges posed by […]

Leeds Owls successful in supporting NIHR DF application

February 2024: I met with the Leeds Young Research Owls when I was developing my research proposal for a NIHR Doctoral Fellowship. They welcomed me to the group and were very interested to hear my research ideas. This generated some useful discussions and gave me lots of valuable and thought-provoking insights which significantly improved my […]