Dr Tim Stevenson, 27, a researcher at Leeds University, has struck Gold at a competition in the House of Commons, supported by the Academy, for the excellence of his engineering research this week.

Dr Stevenson presented his engineering research to more than one hundred politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the poster competition SET for Britain, on Monday 14 March.

His research, which describes the development of a new material which could find wide commercial application, was judged against 59 other shortlisted researchers’ work and came out on top.

Professor Chris Taylor FREng OBE, Associate Vice President of Research from the University of Manchester, who chaired the engineering judging panel, said: “Tim Stevenson presented his work developing and characterising a novel ‘magnetoelectric’ material which provides a low-cost solution to high-temperature actuation and sensing, and the fascinating ability to switch magnetic state electrically.

"The panel was impressed with the quality of the research, which uses advanced neutron scattering techniques to probe the structure of the material, and the potential for practical use in applications as diverse as fuel injection in jet engines and data storage."

Dr Stevenson said: "Having your work recognised is always a gratifying and encouraging achievement. To be presented with such a prestigious prize is therefore all the more exciting, especially amongst a plethora of multi-disciplined engineers who share your passion for science and technology. It was a fantastic experience, and the medal serves as an incredible reminder of that."

SET for Britain is a competition in the House of Commons which involves researchers displaying posters of their work to panels of expert judges and more than 100 MPs.

Lord Browne of Madingley, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, who attended the competition said: "I look at these posters and they give me humility; I wonder how you did what you did, and how you did it so well.

"In a great country engineering must sit at the heart of society. Because engineering looks in two different directions – it looks to the fruits of curiosity and it looks to the needs of commerce.

"If anyone has any doubt about the UK being a place brimming over with innovation, then this should give them hope; hope that the UK has a bright economic future."

The event aims to help politicians understand more about the UK’s thriving science and engineering base and rewards some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken in the UK.

Professor Brian Cox, TV star physicist, who also visited the event, said: “It’s been amazing to see the range of work on display, you can’t help but feel assured that science and engineering are going to provide answers to the UK’s most pressing concerns, from climate change to cyber security.

"Most importantly of all, these young researchers will continue to explore nature. Driven by their curiosity and skill, who knows what they will discover?

"Politicians take note; the researchers here today are this country’s future. It is your job to ensure that Britain is the best place in the world for them to continue their research."

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee ran the event in collaboration with The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, E.ON, plantimpact, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, International Agri-Technology Centre Ltd, AgChem Access, Eli Lilly and Oxford Instruments.

Notes for editors

SET for Britain

SET for Britain is a poster competition in the House of Commons - involving 180 early stage or early career researchers - judged by professional and academic experts. All presenters are entered into either the engineering; the biological and biomedical sciences; the physical sciences (chemistry); or the physical sciences (physics) session, depending on their specialism.

Each session will result in the reward of Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates. Bronze winners will receive a £1,000 prize; Silver, £2,000; and Gold, £3,000. There will also be an overall winner from the four sessions who will receive the Westminster Wharton Medal.

SET for Britain was established by Dr Eric Wharton in 1997. Following his untimely death in 2007, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, with support from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Chemical Industry are working together to further his legacy.

The event is made possible by industry sponsors BP, E.ON, plantimpact, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, International Agri-Technology Centre Ltd, AgChem Access, Eli Lilly and Oxford Instruments.

Early stage or early career researchers include university research students, postgraduates, research assistants, postdocs, research fellows, newly-appointed lecturers, part-time and mature students, returners, those people embarking on a second career, and their equivalent in national, public sector and industrial laboratories, and appropriate final year undergraduate and MSc students, all of whom are engaged in scientific, engineering, technological or medical research.