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An opportunity to help – and judge – the scientists and entrepreneurs of tomorrow


Our Public Engagement Officer, Helen, caught up with Yvette Newbatt, who has been getting some unusual emails recently. Ideas for health gadgets were flooding into her inbox – the imaginative, impressive creations of around 13 teams of school children.

Posted on 30 April, 2015 by Helen Craig

Earlier in the month, I’d received an email from the TeenTech Awards, an annual competition for students aged 11–16. They were looking for judges, and wondered if we would be able to help. I thought the awards sounded like a great idea. Founded by former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin, they ask teams to come up with an idea that could make life easier, simpler or better, and then to develop this idea into a workable product. 

The Teen Tech Awards

Yvette, a Higher Scientific Officer at the ICR, had previously honed her judging skills over two years at the science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) Sussex Lego league, and I was thrilled when she agreed to be a judge for the health category. 

Last week, I caught up with her about how it went. Yvette found herself calling on her analysis and scientific skills to judge the presentations on originality, quality of research, clarity and other achievements. Her standout memories include the incredible detail and care taken in some of the projects, and the excitement that is felt by those taking part – not at all like how science is sometimes characterised. 

She told me that she really appreciated that, as well as judging the entries, she was able to give feedback and suggest improvements to the teams – helping to inspire next year’s cohort of entrants, and setting them on their way to becoming the next generation of scientists and engineers. 

The wide variety of different skills and projects sounded really inspiring, with some young people even going so far as to imagine the business potential of their ideas. And Yvette would recommend her experiences to anyone. “It’s a good skill to have, and I had a really positive experience – it’s great to be helping the next generation.”
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