Sunderland science student Ashleigh makes a Big Bang

Ashleigh Fets' work won praise.
Ashleigh Fets' work won praise.
Have your say

A young Sunderland scientist has found the formula for success – after scooping a prestigious national honour for her work on a potentially life-saving study.

Ashleigh Fets was highly commended in the UK Young Scientist of the Year Competition at the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair after pitching to an elite panel of judges her project on preventing accidental overdose.

She was recognised for her research on whether medicines work differently when crushed – a common way of dispensing to the elderly and children – which revealed that if some medication is crushed too finely, it can increase in strength and lead to an accidental overdose.

The City of College student saw off stiff competition from more than 200 finalists who presented to a list of high-profile judges, including astronaut Helen Sharman.

The National Science and Engineering Competition, organised by the British Science Association, is an annual contest open to pupils aged between 11 and 18, and gives participants the chance to compete for top prizes worth more than £50,000.

Paul Jackson, chief executive of event organisers EngineeringUK, said: “It’s easy to see why this idea stood out to the judges but all the finalists are worthy of mention – not only for their exciting new ideas but for showcasing them to crowds of people at the Fair.

“This glimpse into the minds of the scientists and inventors of tomorrow promises great things for the future.”