Students awarded for app ideas

Rachel Riley crowns winners of an app design competition to inspire school students to take up STEM subjects

Rachel Riley – TV presenter and Oxford Maths graduate – proudly announced the victors of the inaugural Astellas Innovation Challenge and awarded prizes for first, second and third place winners alongside competition ambassador and host Dr Kevin Fong and Astellas CEO, Ken Jones.

The competition asked students aged 14-16 to design a mobile app to encourage healthy living, with an aim to increase interest amongst school students in taking up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at university and beyond. 

The winners, from St Paul’s Catholic College, in West Sussex, South East England, claimed victory with an impressive idea designed to support mental wellbeing through storing individual’s favourite photos and positive memories in one place. The team will now see if their innovative thinking can contribute to improving the health of the nation, as their mobile app is brought to reality by professional developers and made available for free download by the UK public. 

A total of 11 teams, who excelled over entrants from across the UK, were invited to present their health app ideas to a panel of expert judges, including campaign ambassador Rachel Riley, Astellas CEO Ken Jones and experts in app development, education, science and healthcare at the Royal Institution in London on 25 November. 

“The quality of entries for the Astellas Innovation Challenge was outstanding. Each team showed great awareness of real challenges to healthy living and true creativity in utilising mobile technology and innovation to create solutions,” said Rachel Riley.

She continued: “Mobile apps are transforming the way we manage our health and how healthcare is provided. Through this competition we have seen school students make some incredible applications of STEM skills to encourage healthier lifestyles and I hope this illustrates the variety of career pathways STEM studies can enable.” 

In addition to taking the top spot, members of the team from St Paul’s Catholic College will each receive an iPod Touch and an educational grant of £1,800 to invest in STEM subjects at their school. Kesteven and Sleaford High School Selective Academy, East Midlands, which came second in the competition with an app called Stress Genie, designed to alleviate stress and provide coping mechanisms to deal with stress, will receive an educational grant of £1,000 and an iPod Touch for each team member. Third placed, The Liverpool Blue Coat School in the North West – whose app, called AmiGO! is designed to encourage young people to keep fit, have also been awarded an educational grant of £250 for their school.

Image: The winning team, St Paul’s Catholic College, with CEO and President of Astellas Ken Jones and campaign ambassadors Rachel Riley and Kevin Fong.