GSK UK Young Scientist & GSK UK Young Engineers of the Year 2019 announced

Maeve Stillman and students Grace Lord, Aalia Sellar and Brendan Miralles have been awarded the top prizes in The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.

Maeve Stillman, aged 15 from the St Mary’s College in Derry/Londonderry was crowned GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year for her project, titled “Investigating the Effect of Activated Charcoal on the Absorptions of Medications.” Maeve’s project focused on how activated charcoal supplements affect the absorption of everyday or common medicines like paracetamol and ramipril (used for treating hypertension).

Grace Lord, Aalia Sellar and Brendan Miralles, all aged 14 students from Loughborough Schools Foundation have been awarded the GSK UK Young Engineers of the Year title at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition, for their project entitled “Music Splash”. In their project, the students created an app that uses machine learning to analyse music performance and provides feedback to help you improve. The girls who are part of the project say it “guides you to instant perfection and is like a music teacher in an app.”

GSK Young Scientist and Young Engineers of the Year 2019

Over 500 finalists from across the country were selected to show their ideas at The Big Bang Fair where ten were then shortlisted to pitch Dragon’s Den-style to a panel of VIP judges - including Nikki Yates (Senior Vice President, GSK Europe), Dallas Campbell (The Gadget Show and Bang Goes The Theory TV presenter) and Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon (Co-founder of STEMettes), Dr Ozak Esu (IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2017) and Roma Agrawal (structural engineer on The Shard, STEM promoter and TV presenter).

The Big Bang Competition is an annual contest designed to recognise and reward young people's achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), as well as helping them build skills and confidence in project-based work.

Both winners will receive £2,000 in prize money to continue on their STEM journeys. Additionally, they will both have the opportunity to complete work experience at companies including GSK and for the ‘Deadly Diseases’ stage show from the Big Bang Fair to go to their school to teach their classmates all about germs, microorganisms and the spread of bacteria.

Previous winners have gone on to enjoy a range of other achievements on the back of their successes – including winning international awards in China and the US, getting backing from businesses for their projects, and taking part in conference presentations to industry professionals as well as appearing on the television and radio shows to talk about their project.

Congratulating the winner, Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, 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 and Grace, Aalia and Brendan whose innovative projects stood have seen them crowned GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year and GSK UK Young Engineers of the Year.

“It certainly bodes well for the future that the engineers, scientists and inventors of tomorrow are already producing such astute and creative project work – congratulations to all those involved in bringing these ideas to The Fair.”

Winner of the GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year 2019 title, Maeve, said:

“It feels so surreal to have won - it probably won’t sink in until tomorrow! This is my third year at The Big Bang Fair and every year it’s so exciting, I would definitely recommend other young people getting involved. I’m going to use the prize money and experiences that I’ve won to help further my future in STEM."

The students who picked up the GSK UK Young Engineers of the Year 2019 title, said:

“Winning this award feels amazing. We know there are hundreds of students that apply for this and so to win is just a dream come true. We never thought that’d be the case so it’s brilliant and we’re excited to see what’s to come. Our goal for the future is to get our app on the app store so watch this space!”

The Fair is open to families on Saturday 16 March and young visitors will be able to explore all aspects of STEM, including a host of different hands-on activities, interactive workshops and stage shows.

Nikki Yates, Senior Vice President of European Mid-Sized Markets for GSK, said: “Seeing the incredible quality of creative thinking and STEM understanding that inspired this year’s winning entries reiterates just how vital awards like this are. They give our future STEM innovators and leaders unique opportunities to develop and showcase their talents and to inspire thousands of other young people in the process. I’m excited to see what our winners will go on to achieve.”

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