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Begbroke Science Park > News and Press > Budding Brains from Marlborough School win Begbroke Science Park Innovation Showcase 2011
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Budding Brains from Marlborough School win Begbroke Science Park Innovation Showcase 2011

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Marlborough School saw off the competition to scoop the 2011 Innovation Showcase Award at Begbroke Science Park.

Thirty-four students from the two schools visited the University of Oxford Begbroke Science Park on March 10th to participate in this event. Begbroke hosted the showcase in support of the Oxfordshire Science Festival 2011, of which it is a platinum sponsor. The festival aims to bring science to the public by hosting a series of engaging, hands on events, across Oxfordshire.

The aim of this event was to introduce 14-16 year olds to innovation, show them how science feeds new product ideas, and then to give them a chance to try it out for themselves.

The students visited the Lab of Dr Paul Newman where they saw how a Bowler Wildcat is being used to develop robotic technology to automate the cars of the future. Dionne Franklin, a student of Marlborough School said ‘It was really interesting and cool to understand how close we are to the reality of self-driving cars, that was just a dream years ago’. Paul put robots and computers in context by reminding everyone that planes having been flying themselves for years, and that the computer in a mobile phone is more powerful than those in the shuttle that NASA has just retired! He then urged the students to study physics “it’s easy” he said; “it’s not a memory game, it teaches you how to figure things out for yourself”.

They also visited the impact engineering lab, the Oxford University Supercomputer and received a demonstration of CyberSEM, which is an online resource offering remote access to a powerful scanning electron microscope located at Begbroke. The students then took on the role of young inventors and business moguls. They were given information about exciting new technologies and put their heads together to come up with innovative commercial applications.

They pitched their ideas to a ‘dragons-den’ panel of judges.

The winning idea applied technology developed from the gecko’s natural sticky feet to come up with the winning idea of ‘GeckoMan’ a new amusement activity that would offer consumers the experience of defying gravity. Will this be the next big thing?

The winning team took away a trophy and small personal prize each. ‘I didn’t realise how fun and hands on it would be’ said Lauren Carpenter of Marlborough School. Cherwell school enjoyed the visits as well, Keshan Uppell said ‘It was a fun way of learning and I enjoyed the tour’.

The aim of the event was to show students the real world applications of science, and encourage a new generation of scientific entrepreneurs.

Begbroke is an established patron of new businesses, offering a home to spin-out and start-up companies developing new technologies.

Ben Roeves