Awards for the next generation of microfluidic engineers

Awards for the next generation of microfluidic engineers

After months of hard work from pupils and engineers alike, the ‘Small- Plumbing’ project, led by ERPE, came to an end with an illustrious awards ceremony at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. All the attendees enjoyed an inspirational talk from Lucy Ackland, winner of the 2014 Women’s Engineering Society Prize.

The project, developed by Dr Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas and Dr Helen Bridle, from ERPE's Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering (IB3), introduced school pupils to the wonderful world of microfluidics, trained engineering researchers in public engagement and challenged stereotypes about engineers.

Representatives from Inverkeithing High School and Liberton High School were there to collect their prizes, and reflect on how much they learned during their time developing the microfluidic chips and visiting the Heriot-Watt laboratories.

The winning projects from Inverkeithing were ‘Lalineic’ the Microfluidic comic strip, and ‘PhDroppers’ for clinical diagnostics. From Liberton High School, the winning projects were ‘PixelSnails’, which mixed art and engineering, and ‘Lemonees’, a cheap, eco- friendly alternative to the current disposable dry cells which contain harmful metals.

Professor Rory Duncan, Head of IB3 said, “This was a brilliant effort from our academics and students. Their infectious enthusiasm inspired the school pupils and shattered some stereotypes, particularly about gender and career choices.”

The winners received Explorer passes, generously donated by Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. The project was funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Scheme, which providing opportunities for engineers to take part in public engagement activities, to gain skills in communication and to bring engineering to the very centre of society.