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Southampton researcher takes Parliament gold for science

Published: 18 March 2011

A University of Southampton researcher struck gold at a competition in the House of Commons for the excellence of his scientific research.

Andrew Treharne presented his chemistry research to more than 100 politicians and a panel of expert judges as part of the SET for Britain event.

His research into developing tools to cure retinal diseases won not only the gold Roscoe medal for best chemistry poster but also the Westminster medal for best overall poster.

PhD student Andrew says: "I was really honoured to win the chemistry gold award and then go on to win the overall prize, especially in the International Year for Chemistry.

"Being able to present at the House of Commons was a great opportunity to showcase research in the UK, especially in chemistry, and demonstrate to MPs and ministers how important that research is."

Andrew's research is supported by the Gift of Sight Appeal, a charity dedicated to funding world-class research into the prevention and treatment of blindness, set up by Professor Andrew Lotery of the University of Southampton.

Professor Brian Cox, physicist and TV presenter, and a member of the judging panel, said: "Part of the remit for us as judges was to look at not only excellent science - all four finalists were outstanding - but also someone who could communicate very clearly.

"That was the difference for the winner... a fascinating blend of surface chemistry, biology and communication."

SET for Britain intends to help politicians understand more about the UK's thriving science base and rewards some of the strongest scientific research being undertaken in the UK. The competition is held in the House of Commons, and this year 59 researchers were shortlisted to present their work.

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee ran the event in collaboration with The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Chemical industry, with financial support from BP, E·on, plantimpact, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, International Agri-Technology Centre Ltd, AgChem Access, Eli Lilly and Oxford Instruments.

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