Tomas Ysehak Abay from City, University of London, won the top award of a gold medal and £2000 in prize money in the engineering section of this year’s STEM for BRITAIN research poster competition in Parliament on 9 March.

Tomas works in the School of Mathematics, Computer Sciences and Engineering at City, and has developed a non-invasive intracranial pressure monitor for neurocritical care patients. An expert judging panel at the event were impressed with his work and marked him first out of three finalists, selected from 44 other shortlisted researchers who displayed their research at the final at Portcullis House.

Tomas was presented with his award by Professor David Mullins of Warwick Manufacturing Group, award sponsors, and Professor Mary Ryan FREng FRSE, Chair of the Engineering Judging Panel. Professor Ryan said: “The future of the UK lies in an economy based on innovations, and even new industries, in fields that many of these young researchers are working in right now. The Academy knows the importance of nurturing the very best talent and looks to enable strategic partnerships between academia and industry, where excellent engineers collaborate to solve real-world challenges. We know young engineering researchers want their work to make its mark and the Academy supports them in this endeavour.”

Winner of the silver award and £1,250 was Elisa Roccia, who works in the Biomedical Engineering Department at King’s College London, for her poster on 'Three-dimensional cancer risk score mapping with MRI to improve early detection and individualised treatment planning for men with prostate cancer'. Benjamin Cerfontaine from the University of Dundee’s School of Science and Engineering won the bronze award and £750 for his research into the optimisation of screw anchor design for offshore floating wind, wave and tidal energy devices.

During the poster session, all the researchers presented their work not only to the judges but to politicians attending, including their own constituency MPs. STEM for BRITAIN 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 Karen Holford CBE FREng FLSW, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Committee, says: “We are delighted to see young engineers bringing their research to Parliament, to meet their MPs and share their knowledge and research ideas with policymakers. The Academy believe that it is important that parliamentarians are aware of the advances that are being made and the potential for future economic and social benefit.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers. These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Physics, the Nutrition Society, The Physiological Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Chemistry; with financial support from United Kingdom Research and Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Dyson Ltd, the Clay Mathematics Institute, Biotherapy Services Ltd, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research, the Institute of Biomedical Science, the Biochemical Society, the Comino Foundation, IEEE Communications Society, and the Society of Chemical Industry.


Notes for Editors

  1. STEM for BRITAIN (formerly SET for Britain) is a poster competition in the House of Commons – involving approximately 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), the physical sciences (physics), or the mathematics session, depending on the researcher’s specialism. 

This year’s overall winner from the five sessions and recipient of the Westminster Wharton Medal was Sarah Houston from the Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London.

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 Institute of Physics, the Nutrition Society, The Physiological Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Biology, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, is working to further his legacy. 

The event is made possible this year with financial support from United Kingdom Research and Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, the Clay Mathematics Institute, Dyson Ltd, Biotherapy Services Ltd, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research, the Institute of Biomedical Science, the Comino Foundation, the Biochemical Society, IEEE Communications Ltd, and the Society of Chemical Industry.

The competition is open to early stage or early career researchers, which includes 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.

  1. Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession. 

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

For more information please contact: Pippa Cox at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0745; email: Pippa.Cox@raeng.org.uk