William Gao, Johnny Tam, Ben Guthrie, August Hepp and Matthew Morson are celebrating after receiving the Royal Academy of Engineering Prize at the prestigious National Science + Engineering Competition.

The talented 17 and 18 year old students from Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh made it to the finals of the competition at the Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair. They were among were among 450 innovative young finalists chosen to showcase their work.

The Academy prize was awarded to the project that demonstrated the best application of engineering principles. William, Johnny, Ben, August and Matthew captured the judges’ attention with their research developing and investigating ways to interface a bionic hand to the human body.

Dervilla Mitchell FREng, Director at Arup and chair of the Academy’s Awards Committee, presented the team with their prize. As well as receiving £500 and a certificate, William, Johnny, Ben, August and Matthew will also be treated to a VIP tour of the McLaren Technology Centre in Surrey.

During the tour, they will have the chance to experience firsthand the different departments that comprise the McLaren Formula One Team, including; the race team bays, machine shop, composites shop, specialised tooling hall and the onsite wind tunnel.

The tour will also include an overview of the McLaren Production Centre, where the McLaren MP4-12C and P1 super sports cars are manufactured.

Sir John Parker GBE FREng, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering said: “We are delighted to award this prize for the best engineering project at the Big Bang 2013. William, Johnny, Ben, August and Matthew stood out as exceptionally bright young talents and are very deserving of this award. We look forward to taking them to the McLaren Technology Centre where they will be able to go behind the scenes and meet some of their leading engineers.”

Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association which organises the National Science + Engineering Competition, said: “This year’s winners are an inspiration to others looking to embark on a career in science and engineering. They have all truly impressed the judges and played their own part within the competition to encourage others to explore their own interest in science and engineering.

William, Johnny, Ben, August and Matthew worked hard to get to this year’s finals, and we’d encourage others to take part in next year’s competition which starts at the next round of Big Bang Near Me Fairs this summer.”

The judging panel for the Academy competition included design engineer Krishan Meetoo, polar explorer Jason De Carteret and Academy staff Matthew Harrison and Dominic Nolan.

Notes for editors

  1. The National Science + Engineering Competition 2013 was open to 11-18 year olds from across the UK who completed a project or activity in any field of science, technology, engineering or maths. The competition was open to teams or individuals. Finalists were invited to present their project at The Big Bang Fair. Here, they had their own exhibition stand to present their work. Featuring alongside exhibitors such as The RAF, Nestle and BBC, the competitors were able to show off their work to journalists, prospective employers and universities – as well as the school groups and VIPs attending The Fair.

    The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair took place from 14-17 March 2013 at ExCeL London. The Fair celebrates young people’s achievement in science and engineering and encourages more young people to take part in science, technology, engineering and maths initiatives with support from their parents and teachers. School groups were invited to visit the first two days of The Big Bang Fair, which was also open to the public on the Saturday and Sunday. The young people visiting the exhibition were shown how science and engineering feature in everything they wear, eat and do. A number of apprentice, graduate and experienced engineers and scientists were also on hand to answer questions, and talk more about the potential career paths in science and engineering.

    For more information please visit  www.nsecuk.org
  2. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK's most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain's engineering community.

For more information please contact

Manisha Lalloo at The Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0683; email: Manisha Lalloo