Scientists SET to present their work at Parliament

Biologists, engineers and physicists from the University of Glasgow will visit the UK Parliament in London on Monday 18 March to present their research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges as part of the SET for Britain event. 

A total of nine postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers from the University will be judged against dozens of other scientists in the only national SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) competition of its kind. The participants were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament. 

Each participant has prepared a poster on their research to explain its significance and will compete in either the Biology, Engineering or Physics categories of the contest. Each category, judged by leading academics, has gold, silver and bronze prizes worth £3000, £2000 and £1000 respectively. 

Biologists Steven Bryce, James Doonan and Dr Allison Jackson will each present their work on, respectively, the control of cellular migration by the atypical chemokine receptor CCRL1; how the human body’s immune system could be used to treat osteoporosis; and the ways in which the Toxoplasma gondii parasite enters human cells. 

Engineers Soumyadeb Chowdhury, Ian McNally, Dr Nicola Beveridge and Samantha Mulholland will discuss their research on the usability of images as passwords for online accounts; collecting solar power in space to generate electricity on Earth; silicate bonding techniques to invisibly fuse glass surfaces together; and 3D visualisation using octree compression techniques. 

Physicists Dr David Mahon and Emma Wisniewski-Barker will present work on the development of a new form of detector to safely identify radioactive waste stored in sealed containers and slowing the speed of light, which could potentially lead to much faster and more efficient computing. 

Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said, “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.  

“These early career scientists are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.” 

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee run the event in collaboration with the Institute of Physics, The Physiological Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Society of Biology and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, Airbus/EADS, INEOS, AgChemAccess, Essar, the Institute of Biomedical Science, GAMBICA and WMG.

Find out more



For more information contact Ross Barker in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 8593 or email


1.  Contact

For further information about the event, images, or interview opportunities, please contact Joe Winters:

Tel: 020 7470 4815

Mob: 07946 321473



2.  SET for Britain

SET for Britain is a poster competition in the House of Commons - involving approximately 180 early stage or early career researchers - judged by professional and academic experts.  All presenters are entered into either the engineering, the biological and biomedical sciences, the physical sciences (chemistry), or the physical sciences (physics) session, depending on their specialism.  

Each session will result in the reward of Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates.  Bronze winners will receive a £1,000 prize; Silver, £2,000; and Gold, £3,000.  There will also be an overall winner from the four sessions who will receive the Westminster Wharton Medal. 

SET for Britain was established by Dr Eric Wharton in 1997.  Following his untimely death in 2007, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, with support from The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry, The Physiological Society and the Society of Chemical Industry are working together to further his legacy. 

The event is made possible this year by industry sponsors BP, Airbus/EADS, INEOS, AgChemAccess, Essar, the Institute of Biomedical Science, GAMBICA and WMG. 

Early stage or early career researchers include university research students, postgraduates, research assistants, postdocs, research fellows, newly-appointed lecturers, part-time and mature students, returners, those people embarking on a second career, and their equivalent in national, public sector and industrial laboratories, and appropriate final year undergraduate and MSc students, all of whom are engaged in scientific, engineering, technological or medical research.


First published: 14 March 2013

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