The winners of the British Science Association’s Youth Grand Challenges – a new education initiative in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – have today been announced. 

The competition, which was launched by Bill Gates in October 2016, called on young people aged 11-to-19-years to use science and technology to help solve global health and development challenges.  

The winners, runners-up and their project titles are as follows:  


Winners: Sophie Tyrie, aged 12 and Phoebe Bruce, aged 12 from Felsted Prep School in Essex (Stop the Spread)

Runners-up: Maya Velani, aged 12, Labiba Tarafder, aged 13, Afsana Ullah, aged 14, Yasmin Al-Sharki, aged 13, and Madiyah Awan, aged 14 from Fitzalan High School in Cardiff (Stop the Spread)

Sophie Tyrie and Phoebe Bruce, aged 12, winners of the Discovery category with their Stop the Spread project


Winners: Isabel Clack, aged 14 and Beth Hoare, aged 14 from Davison CE High School for Girls (Period Sanitation)

Runners-up: Grace Roylance, aged 14, Aimee Wallace, aged 14, and Mia Wooldridge, aged 13 (Flooding Problems)

Isabel Clack and Beth Hoare, aged 14, winners of the Bronze category with their Period Sanitation project


Winners: Zach Cunningham, aged 16, Evan Cunningham, aged 16, Rebecca Spencer, aged 15, and Katie Wilkinson, aged 15 from Rainford High Technology College (Soap & Suds Toys)

Runner-up: Khyrham Tose, aged 14 from Marylebone Boys' School (Tithonus Mosquito Trap)

Zach Cunningham, Evan Cunningham, Rebecca Spencer, and Katie Wilkinson, aged 15, winners of the Silver category with their Soap & Suds Toys project 


Winner: Blaise Cloran, aged 14, Our Lady of Sion School in Worthing (Quicker, more efficient diagnosis method for hepatitis)

Runners-up: Mojiz Mirza, aged 16, Archie Milroy-Mason, aged 16, Elizabeth Cole, aged 16 (Maximising the use of Ocimum K in mosquito repellance)

Blaise Cloran, aged 14, winner of the Gold category with her Quicker, more efficient diagnosis method for hepatitis project

The winners were announced today at the national finals event in London where they were addressed by Bill Gates via video. He praised their hard work and said: “Congratulations to everyone who participated in Youth Grand Challenges. It’s inspiring to see so many students across the UK develop innovative solutions to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. Through hard work and ingenuity, I’m confident that we can end disease and poverty and ensure that children everywhere have the same opportunities to live healthy, productive lives.”

The theme for the competition was infectious diseases and thousands of students from across the UK participated, developing projects that tackled a whole host of challenges around topics such as mosquito-borne diseases, transporting medicines in the developing world, and sanitation.   

The victorious students were chosen from the shortlist of five finalists in each of their categories, following a tough round of judging by a team of scientists, engineers, educators and other experts in the field of global health and development.  

Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, which runs the Youth Grand Challenges, said: “I’d like to extend my congratulations to all of the finalists of the Youth Grand Challenges competition. The projects I have seen today have all been of the highest standard, and were clearly the result of many hours of hard work 

“It is so encouraging to see the innovative and thought-provoking solutions the young people involved with the competition have come up with – it fills me with optimism about the future.” 

The awards ceremony was hosted by TV presenter Rick Edwards, where the winners and runners-up were presented with their prizes. The judges of the finals included: TV presenter, KonnieHuq; Dr James Logan, TV presenter and academic from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Alexandra Rutishauser-Perera, Head of Nutrition at Action Against Hunger UK. 

To honour their incredible achievements, the students received an array of prizes, including: a travel bursary of £1500, a fully-funded place to attend the London International Youth Science Forum - a two-week science enrichment programme, outdoor adventures with Anturus to get experience as a field scientist and visits to research institutes of their choosing.