Wycombe High scientists shine in national awards

A team of Wycombe High School science students has come third in a national competition organised by the National Heart and Lung Institute and the British Heart Foundation’s Centre of Research Excellence at Imperial College London.

They won £500 for their entry in the Lung Disease Competition at the second annual “Science at Heart and Lung School Teams Prize”.

And a second student team from Wycombe High was “highly commended’ by the judges.

The competition, which was open to all UK schools and pitched at sixth formers considering careers in medical practice or biomedical research, aims to engage future scientific leaders within cardiovascular health and lung disease.

For both prizes, the aims were to help students stretch beyond the school curriculum and learn about the excitement of research; to emphasise the multidisciplinary approach to improvements in public and personal health; to encourage forward thinking based upon realistic trends in science and engineering; to promote an appreciation of the importance of effective communication of scientific developments; and to realise that multidisciplinary science has a role in reducing inequality-related poor health outcomes.

The challenge set to the contestants was to design an ePoster which illustrated a strategy for combining hard sciences with biomedicine to reduce the number of deaths and disabilities caused by heart and circulatory disease. The contestants were encouraged students to consider the following:

Heart, circulatory and lung diseases are leading causes of death and chronic ill health around the world

Scientific progress comes from a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing different specialities together to challenge thinking (medicine, biology and hard sciences such as physics, chemistry, computers, mathematics, engineering)

The development and implementation of advances need skills not just in science, but in design and communication

The students were given the following instructions:

The judges would be looking for innovative ideas, a striking ePoster design and original illustrations

The e-Poster should be pitched to communicate to non-experts, for example fellow sixth form students

The ePoster was not expected to cover the whole breadth of heart and circulatory disease – it was better to focus on a particular aspect

Teams could choose whether to address a UK or global issue(s) in the ePoster

Teams were free to choose the design of the ePoster but were advised to describe clearly what problem they were addressing, the anticipated innovation(s), and steps along the way to implementation.

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