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York student wins national award in parliament

Posted on 10 March 2015

A University of York PhD student has won a bronze medal for chemistry at the SET for Britain poster competition in Westminster.

L-R in the image are: Professor Helen Fielding (Royal Society of Chemistry), Ryan Gorman (University of York), James Perham-Marchant (award sponsors, John Wiley and Sons), Stephen Benn (Parliamentary & Scientific Committee), Andrew Miller MP (Chair, Parliamentary & Scientific Committee).

Ryan Gorman, a final year chemistry PhD student, was awarded the medal for his research into making drug synthesis affordable and more environmentally-friendly using copper catalysis.

The SET for Britain awards celebrate young researchers who are working on science that may help medicine in the future. Gold, silver, and bronze winners were selected from 30 finalists shortlisted from hundreds of entries for the annual competition. Students presented posters summarising their work in the chemical sciences to MPs and a jury of experts in the field.

Ryan, aged 25 from Leeds, said: “I am overwhelmed. I was honoured just to be selected, never mind winning a prize. There were so many fantastic posters and there is so much great research.

“Entering the competition, I learnt a lot about presenting to people from different backgrounds. It’s a good challenge to try to explain your chemistry to people who aren’t in the field. You can get so stuck in your ways when you’re just talking to other chemists so it’s great to talk about the bigger picture.”

Professor Helen Fielding, from the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “As a member of the chemistry judging panel, it has been inspirational to see so many excellent posters from the finalists. Chemistry is crucial to society, playing an important role in energy, health, food, and tackling climate change. 

“Inspiring young people into science is also crucial for the UK’s economic growth and job creation. We hope that many more talented scientists – like these finalists – have the opportunity to contribute to society. I’m thrilled to see such excellent and inspiring science going to Parliament.”

Alongside the medal, Ryan Gorman will receive a prize of £1,000.

Further information:

  • SET for Britain is run by The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry, the London Mathematical Society, the Institute of Physics, The Physiological Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Society of Biology and the Society of Chemical Industry, with financial support from BP, Wiley, Essar, INEOS, the Clay Mathematics Institute, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), the Bank of England and the Institute of Biomedical Science.
  • The SET for Britain poster competition and exhibition in the House of Commons started in 1997. It encourages, supports and promotes Britain's early-stage and early-career research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians who are an essential part of continuing progress in and development of UK Research and Development.
  • For more information about the Department of Chemistry at the University of York, visit:

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