Teen Tech Awards at Buckingham Palace 12.10.16

TeenTech AWARDS 2016

From a cancer detecting bra to a bridge for disaster zones, talented teens showcased their brilliant ideas at Buckingham Palace

The engineers, scientists and technologists of the future picked up their prizes from the 2016 TeenTech Awards at Buckingham Palace on Monday 10th October. HRH The Duke of York, KG patron of TeenTech heard an update on their progress during a special presentation ceremony to celebrate their innovations.

Earlier in the year the most creative and innovative ideas were chosen by judges at the finals held at the Royal Society in London earlier in the summer. TeenTech announced that 8 of the 20 category prizes were won by teams of girls. This included the Design and Construction prize for a remarkable design for an ‘Emergency Necklace Bridge’   and a cancer detecting bra. 75 girls and 69 boys reached the final held at the Royal Society in London. These positive female numbers clearly demonstrate that girls are just as enthusiastic as boys when it comes to developing tech ideas that will change our world. Over 800 girls across the UK participated in the competition.  Winning teams were rewarded with special experiences with the sponsoring companies and an invitation from TeenTech Patron HRH Duke of York KG to the special reception at Buckingham Palace. 

Having seen off fierce competition from hundreds of teams from schools across the UK, the young innovators traveled to London in June to present their pioneering ideas to a team of judges made up of celebrity science presenters, journalists and eminent academics. Co-founder of TeenTech co-founder and former BBC Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin was joined by a host of familiar faces including Professor Brian Cox, theoretical physicist and broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Channel 4’s Dr Christian Jessen, BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, tech reporter for BBC Click LJ Rich, Channel 4 News’ Geoff White, science and tech reporter Dallas Campbell, Gemma Morris from SKY, Fran Scott, CBBC Science Presenter and Jo Johnson MP.

The students, aged between 11-18 years old were challenged to work in groups of up to three to use technology to solve real-world problems in 20 categories inspired by industries important to the future, by researching current markets and gleaning advice from industry experts. The students came up with scientific and technological solutions to real problems across a range of categories including energy, healthcare, education, entertainment, environment, transport, construction, and wearables.

Students from Loughborough Endowed Schools won awards in three categories. Loughborough High School students, Chloe, Lini and Ashley won the Manufacturing Award sponsored by Cranfield University. The idea behind their winning entry “Steerclear” is to adapt the modern steering wheel to make driving a more enjoyable experience whilst making it safer and more interesting to drive.

Students at Loughborough Grammar School won in two categories: Sai won Best Research Project for Biosense -research into the detection of glucose in the urine of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes through a toilet block that causes a colour change in the toilet bowl signifying a positive result for a disease test. In the Healthcare Category, David, Sankha and Hari won with their Medivest – A unique, advanced piece of wearable technology designed to combat the often crippling cases of severe epilepsy, allowing patients to monitor and send their vital signs to their doctors from the comfort of their homes in a safe, accurate and crucially non-invasive manner.

Health and well-being was a prominent feature at the 2016 TeenTech Awards, with the “Bra with Benefits” a cancer detecting bra, designed to identify early stage breast cancer, winning the Wearable Technology prize. The winner of the Design and Construction category was the remarkable “Emergency Necklace Bridge” which has led Atkins, sponsor of this category, further developing the idea.

This year TeenTech opened up the awards to 16-18 year olds and the winner of the Best Concept developed a Bluetooth Speaker made by re-cycling obsolete books and vinyl records. Using the skills developed throughout her project, the winner has now secured a job designing products for a company developing children’s playgrounds.

The winner of the Consumer Innovation Award – a innovative design of “Gust” an ergonomically redesigned hairdryer that is cordless and heats using semi-conductors to minimise damage to the hair, will now work with Maplin, sponsor of this award, over the next 12 months to see if his idea can be a commercial product.

HRH Duke of York, patron of TeenTech said, ‘As patron of TeenTech, it’s a real pleasure to watch the organisation grow and to meet so many inspiring young people and their teachers. TeenTech have consistently worked to prepare young people for the real working world of tomorrow – one which needs bold, brave thinkers with finely honed scientific, technical and digital skills, people who can collaborate, create and communicate’ Congratulating the students on their winning projects the Duke urged them to ‘Inspire others in your schools and keep solving problems’

Schools are now invited to register for 2017 TeenTech Awards – teams don’t have to have started work on ideas but registering their interest before the deadline of December 16th ensures their place in the first round. The Awards were set up to excite young people about the ever-expanding career possibilities available in the fields of science, engineering and technology. With TeenTech events and innovation sessions taking place across the UK throughout the year to support the Award scheme – hundreds of schools now benefit from the opportunity to work alongside industry on real world challenges.

“We know there’s a huge amount of young talent and potential all over the UK but teenagers are not always clear about the skills they need to succeed. The TeenTech Awards give young people the opportunity to develop imaginative ideas alongside leading companies in technology. It’s tremendously exciting to see the quality of the winning projects but every single student and school who participates has the opportunity to develop powerful networks with industry which has had a transformative effect on many schools who may have lacked contacts. The Awards also show that schools need to be given more room to embrace this creative talent and encourage even more lifechanging inventions of tomorrow,” says TeenTech’s founder and CEO, Maggie Philbin.

“By taking their ideas out of the classroom and putting them face-to-face with industry professionals, we’ve been able to change the way young people think about these subjects and helps to open their eyes to the real potential of their ideas.”

TeenTech CIC run interactive events nationwide which are fun but focussed, engaging young people in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and show them different career paths. The Awards are the culmination of TeenTech’s seven years of hard work in giving young people direct access to leading corporations.

More information can be found at the TeenTech website:

A study by the Royal Academy of Engineering highlights a shortage of future graduates with 830,000 Science, Technology and Engineering graduates needed by 2020. The UK currently produces 23,000 engineering graduates a year. A key reason for this is thought to be the lack of quality careers awareness amongst young people at critical points in their academic lives such as choosing GCSE and A level Subjects.

TeenTech is an award winning, industry-led initiative, co-founded by Maggie Philbin (BBC Tomorrow’s World) and Chris Dodson, OBE, Chairman of the Institute of Directors (South) who worked with Berkshire Education Business Partnerships, companies and business organisations to create a very special experience for young people. The first TeenTech ran in the Thames Valley in November 2008.

Thanks to the support of a prestigious list of partners and corporate sponsors, TeenTech runs regional interactive day-events at venues across the UK, introducing teenagers to opportunities in further education and employment. At each event, pupils from 30/50 different schools benefit from hands-on exhibits and challenges run by leading organisations in the world of science, engineering and technology. Students are then encouraged to take their new found interests further and enter the TeenTech Awards.

Today collaboration with technology companies, as well as education, business and professional organisations, has created an immersive, interactive event that is nationwide.

The event won Best Engineering Event in Science and Engineering Week 2010 and in 2011 was the only UK organisation to receive a Google RISE award. TeenTech was awarded Best Outreach and Engagement by UKRC/WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) and in 2015 CEO Maggie Philbin was voted the 4th most influential woman in UK Tech.

Research from previous events shows this helps teenagers refocus their thinking about school subject choices and consider career paths they never knew existed. Two thirds of teenagers at the events say they would consider careers as engineers or technologists. At the beginning of the Berkshire event, only 40% of students were fairly or very interested in these careers. But by the end of the day 81% said they were fairly or very interested.

TEENTECH® is a Registered Trade Mark of TeenTech Community Interest Company