Young digital leaders recognised for their impact on society and solving real-world problems

Written by Prof. Adam Beaumont, Founder & Chairman, AQL

Winning research projects identify potential self-dosing oral COVID-19 medication and environmentally friendly alternatives to current energy intensive cooling systems.

Despite the incredibly difficult learning conditions for students in the past year, 11 students from the University of Leeds have been awarded a coveted Beaumont Award to acknowledge their outstanding research projects that have the potential to impact society and solve real-world problems. Sponsored by consistent innovator and technologist, Professor Adam Beaumont, the award scheme enables each winning student to take advantage of personal introductions to relevant contacts within industry and opportunities to work with world-class organisations to further progress their research. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has meant students had to overcome great difficulties and adapt the way their final year projects were conducted, creating more analysis based papers due to restrictions around physical research,” comments Professor Adam Beaumont. “This year’s award entries have shown the resilience of students at the University of Leeds to be able to continue with vital research in challenging times and create papers that demonstrate genuine interest in helping to solve real word problems. Supporting future generations is crucial in helping society move forward and drive the country to build back better.”

Stand out entries include research into a SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak) antiviral that could make the possibility of self dosing at home with an orally prescribed medicine a reality, potentially saving billions of lives. Other winning submissions looked at Passive Radiative Cooling (PRC), an environmentally friendly future alternative to current energy intensive cooling systems which requires no energy input, and an investigation into sociological issues and bias around social media algorithms. 

Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds said; “Now in its fourth year, the quality and diversity of entries to the Beaumont Awards further demonstrates the University of Leeds’ commitment to research-led education and learning. The support that the Beaumont Awards gives our students is invaluable and supports them long after their graduation, to put them on a path to a truly successful career.”    

“Our students have faced an extraordinarily unsettling time and to produce this high standard of research is testament to their determination to drive change in society. The Beaumont Awards offers both encouragement and inspiration to our students to confidently kick-start their careers and it’s this that we are continuously thankful for,” said Professor Peter Jimack, Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Education, University of Leeds. 

Each winning student is awarded a cash prize of £500 and the opportunity to take a place on Leeds University’s Enterprise Boot Camp run by SPARK, a programme designed to nurture entrepreneurial vision and offer advice to those interested in establishing a new business venture. 

The 2021 award recipients and their winning research projects are as follows:

Stewart Holloway – Engineering and Physical Sciences

Design and synthesis of novel SARS-CoV-2 Mpro Non-Covalent inhibitors.

Matilda Collins – Engineering and Physical Sciences

Optimising the Instruments Used in the Smear Test Procedure with a Focus on Patient Comfort.

Joe Jeffcock – Engineering and Physical Sciences

Object Aware Navigation for Mobile Robots with 3D Multiple Object Tracking.

Timothy Griffiths – Medicine and Health 

Diffusion MRI for Diagnosing Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: A Proof of Concept Study. 

Lucie Charvátová – Engineering and Physical Sciences

1-D Simulation of the Effect of External EGR System on Motorcycle Engine Fuel Consumption and NOx Formation.

Sanna Khan – Engineering and Physical Sciences

Passive Radiative Cooling (PRC).

Emily Johnston – Arts Humanities and Cultures

Zoonotic Disease Emergence and the Bushmeat Trade: A Critical Analyses of Zoonotic Spillover Risk as a Result of Bushmeat Related Activities.

Ellis Garland – Medicine and Health 

Infection-Related Hospitalisation in Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction.

Elena Piscitelli – Biological Sciences

Maternal protein biomarkers and their association with structural changes in the placenta.

Paulina Pawlak –  Engineering and Physical

Computing, Tech, Society: Living by Algorithms.

Benjamin Matheson – Engineering and Physical Sciences

An Investigation into the use of Physics Informed Neural Networks to Predict Soft Tissue Deformation for Computer Aided Surgery.

About the Beaumont Awards
The Beaumont Awards scheme was founded to recognise outstanding research projects conducted by the University of Leeds students in the areas of biological, environmental and physical sciences, engineering, medicine and health. Open to all undergraduate and integrated Masters’ students from any discipline, the annual awards acknowledge research projects that demonstrate the greatest potential impact on society and solve real-world problems.

Inspired by the life and work of British scientist, Michael Faraday, whose research not only contributed to change society but also one of the pioneers of research led teachings. He brought his research to the masses by way of his many inspiring lectures, bringing to life the understanding of everyday phenomena; notably “The Chemical History of a Candle’. Faraday famously ended this lecture comparing his students to a candle and asking them to ‘shine as lights to those about you’, something which goes to the heart of the Beaumont Awards – recognising students who have, not only pursued the advancement of science and technology for good, but who can also articulate this clearly and inspirationally.

Sponsored by aql Founder & Chairman, Professor Adam Beaumont, each winning student is awarded a cash prize and the opportunity to take a place on the University of Leeds Enterprise Boot Camp run by SPARK, a programme designed to support students to kick-start their start-up business from initial idea and beyond.

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