Young digital researchers recognised for their impact on society and solving real-world problems

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Written by Robin Knowles, CEO, Digital Leaders

We were in the #DigiLounge on Tuesday with University of Leeds and Professor Adam Beaumont to announce the winners of this year’s prestigious Beaumont Awards. They are an award scheme recognising the outstanding research projects conducted by students at Leeds University that demonstrate the greatest potential impact on society and that solve real-world problems. The awards now in their third year were Inspired by the life and work of British scientist, Michael Faraday, whose research not only contributed to change society but who was also one of the pioneers of research led teachings.

It was my first time at the Awards and it was exciting to see the winners on the virtual stage. I was amazed at the quality of the research of the winners and I understand from Professor Beaumont, Founder and CEO of aql and Chair of DL Yorkshire that they are always looking to uncover research projects that are potentially life changing and ones that address a real ‘problem statement’. It was great to see half of the winners were inspiring women in STEM as well.

The breadth of research from this year’s winners, who each presented their research to us, ranged from predicting survival rates of cancer patients using AI to using advanced technology to monitor natural environments. There were eight winners who in addition to a cash prize can take a place on Leeds University’s Enterprise Boot Camp run by SPARK, a programme designed to support students to kick-start their start-up business from initial idea and beyond.

The 2020 award recipients and their winning research projects were:

Assessing the impact of leaky barriers on channel geomorphology in an upland setting using structure-from-motion and time-lapse imagery as monitoring techniques.

Virtual reality and motor imagery in stroke rehabilitation.

Machine learning assisted prediction of gas storage capacity for energy-related applications

A smart robotic wrist orthosis for cerebral palsy patient rehabilitation.

A full-scale experimental study with implications for SARS CoV-2 to create “safe-zones” for healthcare workers whilst conducting patient care.

Predicting the survival of ovarian cancer patients using artificial intelligence.

The effect of broad-crested weir geometry on downstream channel hydraulics: A coupled physical-mathematical modelling approach.

Numerical analysis of automotive brake pad wear.

Development of a physical simulation of the human defecatory system for the investigation of treatments for faecal incontinence.

Investigating the anti-biofilm effect of graphene-oxide (GO) coated titanium discs on Staphylococcus aureus* (S.aureus) *S.aureus is an aerobic bacterial species.

He brought his research to the masses by way of his many inspiring lectures, bringing to life the understanding of everyday phenomena; notably “The Chemical History of a Candle’. Faraday famously ended this lecture comparing his students to a candle and asking them to ‘shine as lights to those about you’, something which goes to the heart of the Beaumont Awards — recognising students who have, not only pursued the advancement of science and technology for good, but who can also articulate this clearly and inspirationally.

Originally published at on July 2, 2020.

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