Press release

Student scoops silver medal for science in Parliament

24 March 2011

A researcher from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University has won a silver award for outstanding "Early Stage Research in Science, Engineering and Technology" from the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in Westminster.

Manuel Martinello, who picked up the award at a reception in the House of Commons, was given the medal for his pioneering work which enables people to see 3D information from one single 2D image. The award was sponsored by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and included a £2,000 prize.

"SET for Britain" is a competition in the House of Commons which involves researchers displaying posters of their work to panels of expert judges and more than 100 MPs.

The event helps politicians understand more about the UK’s thriving science base and rewards some of the strongest scientific research being undertaken in the UK.

Manuel Martinello said: “I am delighted and humbled to have won the silver medal award, especially given the array of impressive work on display from many high calibre research institutions.  Presenting my work to Members of Parliament and others in the field of engineering from across the country was a fantastic opportunity."

Professor Brian Cox, TV presenter and physicist, who visited the event to meet the researchers and present the Westminster Medal, awarded to the overall winner, said, “It’s been amazing to see the range of work on display, you can’t help but feel assured that science and engineering are going to provide answers to the UK’s most pressing concerns, from climate change to cyber security.

“Most importantly of all, these young researchers will continue to explore nature. Driven by their curiosity and skill, who knows what they will discover?

“Politicians take note; the researchers here today are this country’s future. It is your job to ensure that Britain is the best place in the world for them to continue their research."

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee ran the event in collaboration with The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, E.ON, plantimpact, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, International Agri-Technology Centre Ltd, AgChem Access, Eli Lilly and Oxford Instruments.

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan, press officer
T: +44 (0)1438 767336
M: +44 (0)7595 400912

Jonny Holdcroft, press officer
T: +44 (0)1438 765608
M: +44 (0)7515 814884

Notes to editors:

  • The IET is Europe’s largest professional body of engineers with over 150,000 members in 127 countries.
  • The IET dates back to 1871 and has offices in Europe, Asia and the US.
  • For more information, visit

About SET for Britain

SET for Britain is a poster competition in the House of Commons - involving 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); or the physical sciences (physics) session, depending on their specialism.  

Each session resulted in the reward of Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates.  Bronze winners received a £1,000 prize; Silver, £2,000; and Gold, £3,000.  There will also be an overall winner from the four sessions who will receive the Westminster Wharton Medal.

The event is made possible by industry sponsors BP, E.ON, plantimpact, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, International Agri-Technology Centre Ltd, AgChem Access, Eli Lilly and Oxford Instruments.

Early stage or early career researchers include 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