CHILDREN will be given a deeper understanding of how scientific research becomes headline news in a new competition open to schools across Scotland.

'Rewrite The Headlines', run by academics involved with the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), aims to help young people better understand what research is and how it gets translated from specialised areas to the media.

Run by the academics behind Research the Headlines, a blog created by members of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland, expert contributors will host workshops in participating schools exploring recent examples of research being reported in the media.

Examples will highlight good reporting, as well as showing how and where inaccuracies can sneak in. Pupils participating in the workshops will be tasked with examining how things can go wrong as research makes its ways from ‘lab to headline’.

They will be tasked with considering everything from "slight exaggerations in a headline to cases where sometimes the science itself is lacking".

After the workshops the classes will be asked to find their own media report of research and their competition entry will be to give the piece a new headline.

Dr Alan Gow, associate professor in psychology in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, said: "We think being able to critically evaluate information at any age is important, so hopefully our new competition will be an engaging way to get schoolchildren and university students thinking about that."

Dr Sinead Rhodes, senior lecturer in psychology at the School of Psychological Sciences and Health at Strathclyde University, added: “We felt that reaching children from the youngest age they encounter research evidence in the media was important.

"Rewrite the Headlines is needed in schools because it can help equip children with basic skills about how to evaluate research evidence which will impact their lives."