The University of Southampton

Southampton scientists win Engineering prizes for research shown in parliament

Published: 10 March 2015

Davide Zilli, a PhD student in Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), has won a silver Engineering prize at the prestigious SET for BRITAIN poster competition and exhibition.

Davide, along with fellow ECS PhD student Mustafa Kutlu, was among 21 University of Southampton PhD students and Early Career Researchers selected to present their research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges. Their work had been chosen from a wide range of applicants, to encourage, support and promote 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.

The researchers, were judged in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony, judged by leading academics, with the gold medallist receiving £3,000, while silver and bronze will receive £2,000 and £1,000 respectively. The Engineering category also saw bronze for another Southampton PhD student - Angieszka Dzielendziak from the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.

Davide Zilli’s research concerns monitoring animals by listening to the sound they make, and to do so through the use of widely available technologies, such as smartphones. He says: “Many animals are difficult to spot, because they are nocturnal, very small or very elusive, and often they make this a strategy for survival. However, the sound they emit can be a very good indicator of their presence. In the last two years I've been looking for a critically endangered insect, call the New Forest Cicada. It was only ever found in the New Forest, the national park west of Southampton, and it's the only species of cicada we have in the UK. There is a great interest in monitoring bats, birds and even elephants and rhinos, which emit lower frequency calls that travel miles and can warn us that an individual animal is in danger.”

Mustafa Kutlu’s research focuses on developing rehabilitation technology that will enable stroke patients to receive effective therapy in their own homes. He explains: “We are extremely proud of the technology we have been developing over the last two years, and are excited that its importance has been recognised in this way. We have been working closely with clinicians and people with stroke to make sure the rehabilitation systems address the needs of the 1.2m stroke survivors in the UK. An event like SET for BRITAIN brings us closer to the goal of getting this technology into people’s homes.”

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, mathematician and 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 SET for BRITAIN event in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, 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.

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