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New study proves that our generation really does want to change the world for the better

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An enlightening study confirms that a formidable amount of today’s youth would rather engage in altruistic, scientific pursuits than attain fame through reality TV and social media.

The research, announced at the GenerationeXt science fair, provides some promising statistics.

Out of 2500 16-24 year olds that contributed to the study, it is found that almost two-thirds (62%) take part in selfless and philanthropic activities, including volunteering, caring for others and/or donating to charity.

Over half (57%) are determined to pursue employment opportunities that make positive contributions to society, and the grand majority of these (85%) have already begun preparing for such illustrious careers.

Additionally, more than a third of today’s youth (34%) set their sights on curing cancer. This is compared with the minority of young people (a total of only 20%) that aspire to achieve celebrity status through film, reality TV, and social media. 

Professor Alice Roberts, a scientist, anthropologist, and broadcaster, who opened the science fair in alliance with leading medical biotechnology firm Roche, is keen to ensure that more young people consider careers in science and technology.

Speaking at the fair, she highlighted the significance of careers in these sectors, stating that they have the power to "really make a difference to people’s lives". 

A General Manager of Roche UK, Richard Erwin, supported her opinions: "It is critical that we support the next generation of home-grown talent to ensure that British science remains world class – the future of UK healthcare innovation depends on it."

He also cited that, despite challenges to the life sciences sector, which could be under greater threat due to Brexit, he and others in the field are excited that young people are "passionate about science, share [their] goal to cure cancer, and make a meaningful difference to society."

On a slightly dourer note, Professor Roberts also lamented at how "young people are turned off" from science careers due to the "negative stereotypes" and "misconceptions" that characterise the discipline. She reiterated the importance of the GenerationeXt science fair in dispelling these ‘myths’.

Indeed, as the research also shows, 67% of 17 year-olds worry about too much competition in the technological and science sectors, believing that they may not have the necessary skills to succeed in it.

As such, over half of the group surveyed (57%) have not felt encouraged to take higher studies or seek employment in these sectors. 

Furthermore, 31% of this demographic are also anxious about the impacts of recent social, economic, and political events on their future with 4 in 5 (80%) worrying about their job prospects.

Events like the GenerationeXt fair (which includes inspirational talks by distinguished academics) play an important role in realizing the potential of a generation that is incorrectly dismissed as lazy, selfish, and narcissistic.

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