Centre for Inflammation Research

PhD student wins gold at STEM for BRITAIN Parliamentary showcase

March 2018: Proteus/OPTIMA PhD student Helen Parker was awarded both a gold medal and the overall prize for Physics during March’s STEM for BRITAIN showcase for early career researchers.

STEM for BRITAIN exists to raise the profile of Britain’s early-stage researchers at Westminster by engaging Members of both Houses of Parliament with current science, engineering and mathematics research being undertaken in the UK, though a national poster competition.

PhD student Helen Parker stands next to her poster, holding her gold medal and certificate
Helen Parker, pictured standing next to her winning poster and holding the Cavendish Medal for Physics (L), and the Westminster Medal for overall winner (R).

Helen, a CIR-based PhD student carrying out her research under the EPSRC Proteus Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration and the OPTIMA Centre for Doctoral Training, was judged to be the top contributor amongst 180 finalists during this year’s competition, held on Monday 12th March.

She was awarded first prize for the Physics category, and received the Cavendish Medal and a cash prize of £2000. Not stopping there, she went on to be announced as the overall winner of the 2018 event, and was awarded the Westminster Medal.

The competition currently attracts around 500 entrants, of whom approximately 35% are selected to present their work in Parliament. The judges were looking for enthusiasm, clarity and brevity, as well as scientific excellence.

“I was surprised to win since, although my expertise is in physics, there is a large biological aspect to my research,” Helen told the University of Southampton, where she completed her undergraduate degree. “This win shows that interdisciplinary science is valuable not only to the academic community but also to the rest of society who rightly want to see the direct applicability of research."

I really enjoyed hearing about the breadth of research happening in Britain at the moment and it was interesting to see the emphasis that Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, put on the importance of a close relationship between scientists and parliamentarians.”

Congratulations to Helen on this phenomenal achievement!  



Helen's winning poster – Lighting up the Lung: Multispectral Imaging of Lung Disease in Intensive Care (PDF) (external website)

Helen Parker – Research Profile (external website)

EPSRC Proteus IRC (external website)

OPTIMA: The EPSRC and MRC Centre for Doctoral Training (external website)

STEM for BRITAIN (external website)