PATRICIA PEREZ ESTEBAN, a postdoctoral researcher in chemical engineering at the University of Bath, has won gold in SET for Britain, a House of Commons science and technology poster competition.
SET for Britain was established in 1997 and is open to early stage and early career researchers. Its aim is to showcase science, engineering and technology research in the UK, increase parliamentarians’ understanding of the disciplines in the UK, and give the researchers a chance to engage directly with MPs and with other researchers. There are five classes – engineering, biological and biomedical sciences, physical sciences (chemistry), physical sciences (physics), and mathematics. There are three prizes in each category – gold, winning a medal and £3,000 (US$4,300); silver, with prize money of £2,000; and bronze, with prize money of £1,000.
Esteban’s poster covered her research into an animal-free cosmetic testing model that is better at predicting how much of a substance is likely to enter the bloodstream. The engineering category this year had 60 entries. Esteban gave her winning presentation to a panel of MPs, peers and expert judges at the House of Commons.
“Winning the gold medal for the engineering session at SET for Britain today was the best recognition a researcher could have. The fact that I was shortlisted to show my work in parliament was an honour on its own, but most of all receiving such positive feedback from the judges, MPs and my fellow researchers was the strongest reinforcement to continue my dream of pursuing a career in academia. I had the opportunity to meet excellent scientists and engineers today, and learn about the fascinating research that is conducted in the UK,” she said.
Bath’s head of chemical engineering Tim Mays said that Esteban “fully deserves” the award. The engineering faculty’s associate dean (research), Tim Ibell, said that the award demonstrates the “world-leading nature” of Bath’s engineering research.
It is not the first time a chemical engineer at Bath has scooped gold at SET for Britain. In 2013, Valeska Ting won the prize. She won the IChemE Frederick Warner Prize in the same year.
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