Leeds Engineer takes his research to Parliament

Shemaiah Weekes, 32, a PhD researcher in the Energy Research Institute at the University of Leeds, attended Parliament on Monday 18 March.

It was to present his research poster to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of Science, Engineering & Technology (SET) for Britain.

Shemaiah’s poster, ‘Catching the Wind’, which describes his research on low-cost tools for assessing the wind energy resource, was judged against dozens of other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind.

SET for Britain is a poster competition in the House of Commons - involving approximately 180 early stage or early career researchers - judged by professional and academic experts. All presenters are entered into either the engineering, the biological and biomedical sciences, the physical sciences (chemistry), or the physical sciences (physics) session, depending on their specialism.

Shemaiah was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament in the Engineering session of the competition. His work is supervised by is Prof. Alison Tomlin of the Energy Research Institute at the University of Leeds.

On presenting his engineering research he said, “I am delighted to be able to showcase some of the exciting energy research being carried out at the University of Leeds at a time when our future energy choices are of great national importance. Events like this are crucial to ensure that the very latest scientific developments feed in to the political decision making process”.

Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said, “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers. 

“These early career engineers are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

Neil Scott, Vice President for Engineering at Airbus in the UK, one of the company’s that sponsor the event, said, “High quality engineering is the life blood of the global aviation industry and it is only through the efforts of our teams of highly skilled and qualified engineers that we are able to stay ahead of our competitors and ensure that the UK aviation industry maintains its position as a world leading centre of engineering excellence.

“It is absolutely vital that we continue to invest in high quality training and in research and development and I’m delighted to say that we continue to work closely with the UK government to ensure this is happening. From Airbus’ successful application for Regional Growth Fund support, which is helping create 200 new engineering jobs, to the joint industry/government initiative that will fund up to 500 Masters Degrees in Aerospace Engineering – these are all steps that clearly underline our shared commitment to ensuring the continued success of the UK aerospace sector, both now and into the future.”

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee run the event in collaboration with the Institute of Physics, The Physiological Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Society of Biology and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, Airbus/EADS, INEOS, AgChemAccess, Essar, the Institute of Biomedical Science, GAMBICA and WMG.

Further information

The above photo is credited to SET for Britain.

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Shemaiah's Blog, Energy Mix - SET For Britain - Taking Research to Parliament