Barnstaple post grad strikes gold in Parliament.

Physics research student Claire Woollacott impressed the judges at a national competition held in th

Physics research student Claire Woollacott impressed the judges at a national competition held in the Hosuses of Parliament. - Credit: Archant

Physics research student takes top award in national competition.

A student from Barnstaple has struck gold at the House of Commons after walking away with a £3,000 prize.

Claire Woollacott, 24, a PhD Postgraduate Research Student from the School of Physics at the University of Exeter presented her research, which could open new horizons in ultrafast electronic devices, to politicians and a panel of judges, as part of the SET for Britain competition.

Claire’s work won her a gold medal in the physics section and was judged against 29 other shortlisted researchers at the competition, which is organised by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in conjunction with professional bodies and sponsors.

The aim is to help politicians understand more about a thriving science and engineering base in the UK and rewards some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken.

“I can’t believe it! I really didn’t think it was going to happen, but I am so happy that it did,” said Claire.

“Everyone at the House of Commons was so friendly, the staff were unbelievably helpful and all the other competitors were so congratulatory.

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“It was such a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow scientists and to see how interested the politicians were in what was going on. I’m just so happy that I was chosen to be a part of it, and it’s the icing on the cake to have won.”

Tom Crotty, Director of INEOS Group AG, sponsors of the Gold Medal in the Physics Section, said, “It is crucial that there continues to be investment in skills to provide the next generation of engineers and scientists.”

Professor Sir Peter Knight, President of the Institute of Physics, added, “It’s an incredible pleasure to see 30 of our leading early career physicists here in Parliament and I know the judges have had a very difficult time judging the medal winners of this section.”

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