Representation in United Kingdom

Four young British scientists rewarded in the EU Contest for Young Scientists 2016


EU young scientist contest 2016
©Kamil Bieliński

Four young British scientists took centre stage in Brussels today in the 2016 EU Contest for Young Scientists – a competition that recognises and celebrates the best and brightest young minds in Europe and beyond. They received special awards for two projects: a wheelchair accessible modified car and a study on the glacial period in South Wales.


15-year-old Ethan Lee Dunbar-Baker, 18-year-old Po Yin Chau and 17-year-old Rogan McGilp from a West Midlands school will receive €2.000 (£1.700) from the Salvetti Foundation – a sponsor of this contest – for their project "David’s Wheels: a wheelchair-accessible and driveable hot rod for social and physical mobility".

The three boys designed and built a wheelchair-accessible, handcontrolled specially modified vehicle (also called hot rod) in roughly three months. The unique vehicle will enable paraplegic drivers to drive a form of transport (and even take part in motorsport) – something they would normally struggle to do due to limited accessibility and the inability to use traditional controls. The vast majority of components have been recycled from scrap.

18-year-old Sahar Roxanne El-Hady from a school in Wimbledon has been awarded a "special donated prize" for her research "How extreme was climate change in South Wales at the end of the last glacial period?". The prize will allow her to spend two days at the EU Joint Research Centre's Institute in Ispra, Italy.

Sahar's project finds evidence of abrupt climate change in South Wales by analysing sediment from Llangorse Lake. The lake has been the source of evidence for research that spans over a period of more than 16 000 years. However, a recent study shows that there are missing elements in this sequence. Sahar's research fills in the gaps by analysing the composition of soil samples. Her analysis shows a rapid succession of warm and cold periods thousands of years ago – a period that would coincide with the retreat of the glaciers.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "This year's winners were picked in a tough competition involving 138 young researchers, who all came to Brussels with brilliant new ideas. It is reassuring to see that Europe has so many bright young minds, who also have the determination and skills to turn their dreams into reality. I hope to see many of them in a few years' time as part of the next generation of top scientists, working hard to solve the multiple challenges Europe and the world are facing."

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