Newcastle University’s rising stars visit parliament

The Houses of Parliament in London.
Image: Flickr, Sundar M.The Houses of Parliament in London. Image: Flickr, Sundar M.

Six of Newcastle Universities most talented individuals from the fields of Science and Engineering have been chosen to present their research in Parliament.

The competition, STEM for Britain, aims to support and promote Britain’s young research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians by bringing their work to the center of political and legal action. The successful applicants will arrive at the House of Commons on Monday, 13th March 2017. Through an interdisciplinary competition, STEM for Britain creates an environment in which participants can contribute to the ever-expanding field of UK Research.

Having applied during the last months 2016, PhD students Shuen Lann Yvonne Choo, Maria Pregnolato, Alex Svalova, Laura Wadkin, Sara Cuevas Ocaña and Gemma Roberts have been chosen from hundreds of applicants to participate in the competition. The fact five women are representing the university in the fields of Science and Engineering, which has in the past been considered a ‘male-dominated’ discipline, has been highlighted by many as great success.

Professor Chris Phillips, Director of Diversity at Newcastle University, stated:

“It is important that this talent is nurtured and every opportunity is given to women to develop their careers within academia or elsewhere”.

The competition has been divided into five main subject areas: Biological and Biomedical Science; Chemistry; Physics; Engineering and Mathematics. Coming from various disciplines, the research presented by Newcastle’s six participants covers a diversity of topics, from future energy solutions to drugs to treat cystic fibrosis. All topics however, are united in their focus on Health and Environmental issues, revealing the young researchers mutual goal of creating a better world. By presenting their findings to politicians and the UK’s representatives, their research takes its first steps towards paving the way to a brighter future.

During the day, there are 3 poster exhibitions and judging sessions, each ending with a reception where prizes are awarded. Three winners are chosen from each of the five main subject areas; the gold medallist receives £3,000, while silver and bronze receive £2,000 and £1,000 respectively. The overall winner also receives a Westminster Medal in memory of Dr. Eric Wharton- the inspirational organizer of the competitions predecessor, SET for Britain, which was founded in 1997. The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee is running the event, whose chairman MP Stephen Metcalfe stated that the annual competition was an important date in the Parliamentary calendar. It is hoped that the competition will not only encourage and promote young researchers, but also give their research a platform from which it can influence and have impact on the global issue it confronts.

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