Celebrating with a bang

Posted on 14 Mar 2011 by The Manufacturer

Andrew Cowan from Sutton in Surrey has been named the UK's Young Engineer of the Year.

The ceremony awarding prizes to competitors in the 2010-2011 the National Science & Engineering Competition was held on Friday, March 11, as part of the Big Bang Science and Engineering Fair being held at ICC Excel, London. Cowan was awarded the overall prize for his seaqrch and rescue robot project.

Cowan has displayed outstanding engineering talent over an extended period and is the only competitor in the National Science & Engineering Competition to have been awarded a prize in every age category in the last three years. His enthusiasm and natural talent for STEM subjects and skills application is a template for what those in education, industry and training organisations should be hoping to inspire on a far wider scale in order to move the UK towards a rebalanced and skilled economy.

Cowan’s advanced robot project includes the ability includes a camera and fire extinguisher which allows the user to control the robot and view environmental information from a remote control panel. All importantly the project is also low cost and therefore viable for production ¨C just one of the many aspects of design that competitors in this prestigious and challenging competition are asked to take into account.

Cowan, who attends Sutton Grammar School for Boys, commented on his triumph: ¡°The news is still sinking in but I¡¯m extremely honoured and proud to be awarded such a prestigious title. The standard of entries was so high which made the finals incredibly tense at times. I¡¯m now really looking forward to representing engineering for young people and I hope my project inspires lots of other people to do the same and pursue a career in engineering.¡±

Cowan¡¯s competitors included 11-18 year olds from across the UK and entries were judged by a panel comprising of:

¡ñ Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, space scientist and broadcaster

¡ñ Kate Bellingham, engineer and television presenter

¡ñ Dr Chris Elliot, an engineer, lawyer and a member of the All Party Parliamentary Engineering and IT Group

¡ñNeil Patterson, chief engineer of the groundbreaking new McLaren MP4-12C road car and

¡ñRear Admiral Al Rymer, Royal Navy Engineer, director of training and education at the Ministry of Defence and vice-president of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.

Dr Aderin-Pocock spoke of her pleasure in awarding the Young Engineer of the Year Award to the deserving candidate: “I¡¯m delighted to award Andrew the UK Young Engineer of the Year. The judges were truly overwhelmed by his project and it¡¯s wonderful to witness such enthusiasm and dedication for engineering and technology. It¡¯s left me hugely excited about the future of engineering in the UK, with passionate young scientists such as Andrew at the helm.¡±

Following the judges decisions the prizes were awarded by government chief scientific adviser Sir John Beddington who says: ¡°The next generation of scientists and engineers will play a fundamental role in tackling the global challenges we face in the 21st century. These include the issues of climate change and the management of essential natural resources, and dealing with the threats to our world from diseases, floods, volcanoes and earthquakes. That¡¯s why this competition is so important ¨C it inspires the scientists and engineers of tomorrow and is a great example of the exceptional young talent we have in the UK.¡±

The 2011-2012 competition begins this summer and children and schools are being encouraged to get involved.