Students best competition to secure GSK Young Engineer and Young Scientist of the Year titles

The awards were presented at The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham on 14 March, after over 1,000 entries were received

Students from St Mary’s College in Derry and Loughborough Schools Foundation have been awarded the GSK Young Engineer and Young Scientist of the Year titles.

Fifteen-year-old Maeve Stillman from St Mary’s College in Derry received the Young Scientist of the Year award, and Young Engineer of the Year went to 14-year-olds Grace Lord, Brendan Miralles and Aalia Sellar from Loughborough Schools Foundation.

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Maeve presented a research project on improving our understanding of how activated charcoal affects the absorption of everyday medicines including paracetamol. The winners of the Young Engineer of the Year award, consisting of students from Loughborough High School and Loughborough Grammar School, presented an app – Music Splash – that uses machine learning to analyse music performance and provide feedback, in an effort to address the need for better access to music education.

Hilary Leevers, chief executive of Engineering UK, which organises The Big Bang Competition, said: “The judges have been blown away by the quality of entries from all the finalists – not only for their brilliant new ideas but for how eloquently they spoke about them to the crowds of people at The Big Bang Fair. Huge congratulations to Maeve, Grace, Brendan and Aalia.

“It certainly bodes well for the future that the engineers, scientists and inventors of tomorrow are already producing such astute and creative project work.”

The judges have been blown away by the quality of entries from all the finalists.
– Hilary Leevers, Engineering UK

Over 500 finalists from across the country were chosen to show their ideas at The Big Bang Fair, with 10 then being selected to pitch their ideas to a Dragon’s Den-style panel of VIP judges, who included:

  • Dallas Campbell, presenter of The Gadget Show and Bang Goes the Theory
  • Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, co-founder of Stemettes
  • Roma Agrawal, structural engineer on The Shard
  • Dr Ozak Esu, IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2017
  • Nikki Yates, senior vice president of European mid-sized markets, GSK
  • Chris Hurst, engineering lead for pharmaceutical operational performance, GSK

The competition is now in its fourth year, and previous winners have gone on to successful careers in STEM, compete at international awards, and present their work on TV.

Emily Xu, 2018 GSK Young Scientist of the Year is now pursuing a degree in chemical engineering at ICL, and has spoken in Parliament during Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2018 as an ambassador for young women in STEM.

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As part of their winning prizes, Maeve, Grace, Brendan and Aalia will all benefit from a range of mentoring and work experience opportunities, as well as VIP visits to top science centres with their families.

More information about The Big Bang Fair can be found at