Surrey academics back initiative to inspire next generation of technologists
Professors Alan Woodward and Jim Al-Khalili support the TeenTech 2014 Awards, set up to nurture and celebrate young talent.
A dementia-tracking bracelet, interactive wardrobe and play park generating electricity and water for rural communities were just some of the ideas shared at TeenTech’s 2014 ‘Grand Final’ awards ceremony, held at the Royal Society and attended by the University of Surrey’s Visiting Professor Alan Woodward and Professor Jim Al-Khalili.
Set up to encourage pupils from a range of UK secondary schools to showcase their inventions, the star-studded event saw 37 student finalist teams pitch their technologies to an audience including Martha Lane Fox, James May, Stephen Fry and The Duke of York, Prince Andrew.
The winning prize went to Birkdale School for their concept of an electric fan which lowers the pressure underneath cars in order to increase down-force, grip and safety across difficult terrain. The Grand Final was judged by industry sponsors and academics, including Surrey’s Professor Woodward, BBC’s Head of Science Andrew Cohen and TV presenter Dallas Campbell.
Professor Al-Khalili, who presented the award for the Most Inspirational Teacher, said, “Walking around the pupils' exhibits at the Royal Society and talking to them about their projects and ideas was tremendous fun. The future of UK science and engineering is clearly in safe hands. I hope I’ll have the privilege of being able to teach some of them if they eventually decide to come to Surrey to study Physics.”
“Encouraging young people to abandon the stereotypes that many think of, when asked ‘Who enters a career in technology?’ is vital if we’re to attract the best talent into our field,” added Professor Woodward. “I think it’s important for Surrey to reach out to those still at school and TeenTech is an excellent vehicle to engage with those who are the students of tomorrow. It allows us to capture their imaginations early, and hopefully show how studying subjects such as Computer Science, Engineering and Physics can lead to a very rewarding career.”
The University of Surrey has hosted various TeenTech awards for the past two years, and is set to do so again at Surrey Sports Park this November.