Press release

Bicester researcher all SET for Britain

14 March 2012


Bicester resident Simon Leigh has won the SET for Britain Silver Prize for Engineering for his research into 3-D printing. Leigh was announced the winner at a ceremony at the House of Commons this week.

The £2,000 prize was presented by Paul Davies, the Head of Policy at the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET), which also sponsored the prize.

Simon, who is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Warwick, won the prize for ‘Click to Manufacture Sensors and Electronics’.  Simon’s research is based around developing novel functional materials and technologies for 3-D printing that also have embedded sensors and electronic circuitry. 3-D printing, which has been around for a number of years, has traditionally been used as a technique for producing one-off prototypes with little or no real functionality. However, the technology is now advancing as a proper manufacturing technology, enabling the creation of highly detailed objects, such as 3D printed sensors to measure mechanical flexing as well as sensors to measure gas and liquid flow.

The IET’s Paul Davies said: “The SET for Britain awards provide an ideal opportunity for young researchers to show parliamentarians the depth and breadth of talent that exists in the UK.  It is through engineering research, such as that carried out by Simon, that the UK will succeed in building a diverse and robust economy.  The competition was tough and I congratulate him on this significant achievement.”

Simon said: “I’m very happy to have won.  It hasn’t really sunk in yet.  The quality of all the exhibitors’ work was excellent; it really must have been a difficult competition to judge.”

SET for Britain is a competition in the House of Commons, which involves researchers displaying posters of their work to panels of judges and politicians. The event aims to help politicians understand more about the UK’s thriving science and engineering base, whilst rewarding some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken in the UK.

Media Enquiries to:

Katie Stanton
Communications Executive

Tel: +44(0)1438 765608
Mob: +44(0)7738 713867
Email: kstanton@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

 The Institution of Engineering and Technology is Europe’s largest body of professional engineers, with over 150,000 members in 127 countries, and is an official sponsor of the Big Bang Fair.

 The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee run the event in collaboration with The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry, the Physiological Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, Airbus/EADS, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, AgChem Access, Oxford Instruments, IBMS and GE Hitachi.  

SET for Britain
 SET for Britain is a poster competition in the House of Commons - involving approximately 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 results in the reward of Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates.  Bronze winners receive 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.

 SET for Britain was established by Dr Eric Wharton in 1997.  Following his untimely death in 2007, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, with support from The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry, the Physiological Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Society of Chemical Industry are working together to further his legacy.  

 The event is made possible by industry sponsors BP, Airbus/EADS, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, AgChem Access, Oxford Instruments, IBMS and GE Hitachi.

 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, engineering, technological or medical research.