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21 March 2012 | PR 12/56

Ssshhh! Loughborough researcher wins bronze in Parliament for noise device

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A researcher at Loughborough University took Bronze at a competition in the House of Commons for the excellence of his physics research, walking away with a £1,000 prize.

Dr Daniel Elford, 25, a Research Associate at Loughborough, presented his research to dozens of politicians, including Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan, and a panel of expert judges, as part of the poster competition SET for Britain.

His research on acoustic meta-materials, designed to control, direct and manipulate sound, was judged against 29 other shortlisted researchers’ work, and was highly-regarded by the judges and politicians alike.

Daniel said, “Having the opportunity to present my research at parliament was a great honour, and to receive the bronze medal while doing so is fantastic.”

The potential impact of Daniel’s research is sure to have played a part in the competition’s judges’ decision to award him bronze. He explained that he is working with Loughborough University’s Enterprise Team to commercialise his research, and make technology available which can shield people from noise around busy transport links and machinery.

The competition, SET for Britain, takes place in the House of Commons and aims to help politicians understand more about the UK’s thriving science and engineering base, while also rewarding some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken in the UK.

Lynn Shepherd, Oxford Instruments Director of Communications, presented the bronze prize to Daniel and said: “We see our support for SET for Britain as an investment in the future of high technology in Britain, and congratulate Daniel on his success.  Events like this ensure the profile of science and technology is raised both in Parliament and in the wider community and Oxford Instruments will continue to offer its wholehearted support.”

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 scientists are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee run the event in collaboration with The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry, the Physiological Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, Airbus/EADS, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, AgChem Access, Oxford Instruments, IBMS and GE Hitachi. 

Dr Daniel Elford has worked on acoustic meta-materials within the University’s Physics Department alongside Dr Luke Chalmers. He completed his PhD at Loughborough under the supervision of Dr Gerry Swallowe and Professor Feo Kusmartsev. To find out more about the research, go to: www.lboro.ac.uk/business/noise

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Sarah Hall
Marketing and Communications Officer (Enterprise)
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228684
E: S.Hall@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

About Loughborough
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

About SET for Britain
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. 

Each session will result in the reward of Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates.  Bronze winners will receive a £1,000 prize; Silver, £2,000; and Gold, £3,000.  There will also be an overall winner from the four sessions who will receive the Westminster Wharton Medal.

SET for Britain was established by Dr Eric Wharton in 1997.  Following his untimely death in 2007, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, with support from The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Institute of Physics, the Society of Biology, The Royal Society of Chemistry, the Physiological Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Society of Chemical Industry are working together to further his legacy. 

The event is made possible by industry sponsors BP, Airbus/EADS, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, AgChem Access, Oxford Instruments, IBMS and GE Hitachi.

Early stage or early career researchers include university research students, postgraduates, research assistants, postdocs, research fellows, newly-appointed lecturers, part-time and mature students, returners, those people embarking on a second career, and their equivalent in national, public sector and industrial laboratories, and appropriate final year undergraduate and MSc students, all of whom are engaged in scientific, engineering, technological or medical research.

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