The winners of the National Science + Engineering Competition were announced last night at a glittering awards ceremony at The Big Bang Fair.

We are delighted to announce that the UK Young Scientist of the Year is Sarah Sobka, and the UK Young Engineer of the Year is Colum McNally.

This year the competition was extremely tough, with science and maths projects tackling issues such as characterising colorectal cancer and removing toxic chemicals in wheat; while the engineering and technology projects included a folding wheelchair for patients with multiple sclerosis, a carbon fibre bike frame and a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV). 

The National Science + Engineering Competition seeks the best of the best from every area of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It’s an initiative of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and is coordinated by the British Science Association in partnership with Young Engineers and The Big Bang Fair.

UK Young Scientist of the Year

   This year, the UK Young Scientist of the Year is Sarah Sobka.
Sarah impressed the judges with her project investigating how Lubiprostone, a drug used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, affects patients with cystic fibrosis.  

She conducted her project at University of Sheffield, and really enjoyed working in the lab.

Sarah showed a great aptitude for science and spoke of how she travelled to Tunisia to help provide humanitarian aid to refugees, and impressed the judges with her enthusiasm for science and ambition to become a medic and travel to countries which need humanitarian aid.

Jim Al-Khalili, Chair of the Science and Maths judging panel said: “What is so brilliant about Sarah is that she is incredibly smart, but could also explain her project in such a clear and understandable way. She is a true champion of science and engineering and will bring something special to the sector."
Sarah was thrilled to have won, and said: “I’m extremely shocked to be the UK Young Scientist of the Year 2015, there were so many amazing projects here so to have won is a real privilege.”

Sarah hopes to go to University to study medicine. Congratulations, Sarah!

UK Young Engineer of the Year

   The UK Young Engineer of the Year is Colum McNally.  
Colum mesmerized the judges with his agrihammer - a machine which allows fence posts to be drilled into the ground and also allows wood to be chopped in a very safe manner, making farm life considerably easier, saving farmer’s lives and saving money.

Colum, a cattle farmer from Northern Ireland, built the machine to prevent farming accidents and save money. Approximately 12 farmers a year are killed or injured in Northern Ireland in accidents with fence drilling machines and wood chopping. This invention will not only save lives, but save money, with the average machine for either activity costing £6,000, the machine that Colum invented was considerably cheaper.

Kate Bellingham, Chair of the Engineering and Technology judging panel, said: "Colum is just brilliant. His project will make his work so much better, more accessible and it really is making the world a better place.”

Colum was ecstatic to win and said: “It’s an absolute honour to be the UK Young Engineer of the Year 2015! I have worked so hard on my project, and really enjoyed applying maths and physics to solve a problem that’s so prominent in the agricultural community.

“I truly believe that it will save lives and money for many farmers, like myself.”

Colum hopes to go to University to study mechanical engineering in September. Congratulations, Colum!

Congratulations to our UK Young Scientist and UK Young Engineer and all the contestants.  Find out more about the National Science + Engineering Competition, or watch the winners videos on the NSECUK YouTube channel.