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13 March 2017

Students present their research in parliament

PhD students Soraya Caixeiro, Nicola Evans and Christian Jorgensen visited the House of Commons on Monday 13 March 2017, to present their research to politicians and a panel of expert judges.

Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge
Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge

As part of the poster competition STEM for BRITAIN, the three students were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants, with Soraya presenting her physics research, Nicola bioscience and Christian chemistry.

Soraya, whose research looks at how the powerful properties of lasers can be harnessed and applied to biosensing, won gold in the Physics category. She was awarded the Cavendish medal and a cash prize of £3,000.

Speaking of the event, she said: ‘I’m still speechless I won. The event was really good and I had a rare opportunity to learn about different bits of physics and chemistry, from dark matter detectors to solar powered bacteria. It was great that MPs took the time to learn about our research.’

Nicola’s poster looked at her research into how bacteria survive extreme conditions to cause infection in hospitals.

She said: ‘Science underpins so many parts of society, from healthcare through to mobile phones, yet it isn't often discussed in terms of policy. Often it is difficult to see the real world impact of science, how it is relevant to YOU, so it is vitally important to keep the public and our representatives informed on new and lesser known research and how it has the potential to impact so many lives.

‘We should be investing in science for the future of society. I also love science, reading about it and doing it every day for my job, and I want to share some of that joy and curiosity with others.’

Christian’s poster detailed his research on how to use computers to study ion channels for the purposes of battling diseases.

He said: ‘STEM for BRITAIN has afforded me a great opportunity to present my PhD work to wider audiences, I am especially passionate about disseminating the advantages that computers can afford us in the battle against diseases. I hope to use this platform to learn more about recent advances in science and technology.’

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and 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.’