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Begbroke Science Park > News and Press > Young entrepreneurs from Wallingford School win Begbroke Science Park (BSP) 2017 Innovation Showcase Award
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Young entrepreneurs from Wallingford School win Begbroke Science Park (BSP) 2017 Innovation Showcase Award

A team of budding entrepreneurs from Wallingford School pitched their innovative ‘Chameleo’ concealing skin patch to the judges at Begbroke Science Park, winning the sought-after 2017 BSP Innovation Showcase Award.

BSP welcomed 40 Year 9 and 10 pupils from four Oxfordshire schools to their annual Innovation Showcase, asking them to try their hand at turning cutting edge science into commercial business ideas. The five teams took recent scientific discoveries and developed them into new commercial products, presenting their designs and business plans ‘Dragons Den style’ in competition for the coveted Innovation Showcase trophy.

The winning team’s innovative chameleon-inspired skin patch incorporates nanotechnology to sense and exactly match the skin tone and texture of the surrounding skin and so allows to conceal blemishes and scars in a much better way than conventional cosmetics products. The team from Wallingford School caught the judges’ attention with their exceptional presentation, well thought out strategy, innovative thinking and clear routes to market.

The Innovation Showcase, now in its 7th year, was hard-fought, with the other teams also developing great ideas including a novel shape-changing polymer to quickly seal bleeding wounds, new innovative designs for search and rescue robots and a tiny transparent skin patch that measures and displays blood sugar levels and heart rate.

The pupils also had the opportunity to visit two of BSP’s leading research laboratories and see first-hand how studying science can lead to many exciting careers.

Graham Hillsdon showed how the University of Oxford’s Impact Laboratory is working to make aeroplanes, train journeys and cycle helmets safer, whilst in the Advanced Processing Laboratory pupils were shown various machines that help scientists scale up research to prove their theories at an industrial scale, led by Robin Vincent from the Processing of Advanced Materials research group.

Judging this year’s Showcase Steve Senior of Animal Dynamics based at BSP, commented, “I was impressed with the pupils’ ability to work in groups under time pressure and come up with innovative product ideas. Presentation skills were in evidence and in general they fended technical and challenging questions well. The groups equally demonstrated a good understanding of how products can be marketed and the competitive environments they might face.

What I also found encouraging was the degree of maturity and self-confidence in many individuals when asking real ‘Dragon’s Den’ style questions of their competitors – definitely some future business leaders in the making!”

A pupil from Wychwood School said, “I really enjoyed being at Begbroke and working with my friends in a team. Looking at all the different labs and seeing what everyone else does, I have learnt a lot.”

The Head of Science from Sibford School, in attendance with her pupils recognised that, “It was lovely to work with other schools and a great opportunity for the students – Thank you.”

The event forms part of the BSP School Event Series. Future events include the Practical Nanoscience Workshop for schools for KS3/4 students on 14 June 2017; and a Practical Nanoscience Workshop for science teachers on 12 July 2017; for more information or to book a place email events@begbroke.ox.ac.uk.

 

Joanna Grant