Resource puts research within students’ reach

A new online resource designed to help students land roles as voluntary research assistants or helpers in university labs is being launched by an 18-year-old Simon Fraser University undergraduate student.

Japreet Lehal, a second-year health sciences student, has created Go Research, a platform that allows university researchers around the world to post research positions, and students to easily search through them.

The service, the only one of its kind according to Lehal, is free and available in more than 60 languages. “My goal is to initiate a worldwide movement where students can have the opportunity to get involved in research early on in their lives,” says Lehal, a Surrey resident, who, this past spring was named one of the Surrey Board of Trade’s Top 25 under 25.

“Often, university educated students choose other professional careers over research.  Through my online platform, I hope to provide research opportunities that are just a click away.”

Lehal, who has his first posting, is pitching the idea to researchers and generating keen interest from students. He hopes Go Research will be a bridge between opportunities and students who may “envision themselves working as research assistants but don’t know how to access those opportunities.”

As it grows, Lehal says, the site would also provide a talent pool for researchers and allow students to post and share their research experiences.

Lehal’s interest in both science and politics led him to take a variety of courses in his first year at SFU. A youth columnist for the Surrey Leader and Peace Arch News, he’s hopeful that the community’s youth will one day gain a voice on the local school board and strives to “have an impact” on decisions affecting health care.

“The world of research is amazing and holds the answer to solving the issues of the 21st century, so it’s only natural that youth want to get involved,” he says. “So let’s make it easy and bridge the gap between university students and researchers.”

Lehal received a Governor General’s academic medal and more than $48,00 in scholarships and bursaries after finishing high school.

He also helped launch the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation’s youth for SMH club, which in its first fundraiser tallied $1,000 for the hospital’s pediatric oncology clinic. The club’s next event is at Surrey’s Tynehead Park on July 29.