Aura CDT student takes gold at STEM for Britain

8 March 2024

Anna Weatherburn receives her gold award at STEM for Britain

Aura CDT researcher Anna Weatherburn has won the gold award in the Engineering category at STEM for Britain 2024. Competition is fierce to secure a place in this annual exhibition in Parliament. The Aura CDT was well represented, with Nicholas Wilson also securing a place in the Engineering finalist exhibition.

Anna Weatherburn is in the second year of Aura CDT PhD research at Durham University. Her focus is on the creation and optimisation of a new material for wind turbine blades. As wind turbines get bigger, more specialist materials are needed for these larger wind turbine blades. Anna has taken inspiration from natural materials, like mother-of-pearl, which have had millions of years to evolve their material properties and combined this with fibre-reinforced composite technology. By replicating the structures seen in nature within our material design she is creating a material that is strong, tough and lightweight – ideal qualities for turbine blade manufacture.

Anna said about the experience:

“The STEM for Britain event was an amazing opportunity to share my research and to experience science in a parliamentary context. I am passionate about the importance of good science communication and yesterday was a unique opportunity to take part in an event aimed at communicating science to MPs, representatives from industry and fellow academics. It was great to meet and talk with the other finalists about their amazing research as well.”

Aura CDT researcher Nicholas Wilson, also exhibited at STEM for Britain. He introduced his research to the Rt Hon Sir David Davis MP for Haltemprice and Howden, who said:

“Fantastic to see Nicholas Wilson at the #STEM4Brit finals here in Parliament today. It was a great pleasure to discuss with him his work on the electrochemical compression of hydrogen and how it would impact the viability of hydrogen as a fuel and energy store.”

Hydrogen will pay a key role in society’s journey to net zero, particularly green hydrogen, produced using offshore wind energy. Nicholas Wilson’s research at the University of Hull focuses on building a sustainable hydrogen economy by using electrochemical compressors to enable hydrogen utilisation and transportation, helping its viability as an energy storage tool within the National Grid.

STEM for Britain is an annual event, organised by the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee to give members of both Houses of Parliament an insight into the outstanding research work being undertaken in UK universities by early-career researchers.  The competition receives hundred of applications and each research theme has 30 exhibitors. Alongside the Engineering category, finalists attending the event also work in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences and Physics.

Visit the STEM for Britain website.

Find out more about Anna Weatherburn’s Aura CDT activities.

Find out more about Nicholas Wilson’s Aura CDT activities.

  • Empowering future makers with £5.8million funding award for offshore wind innovation

    12 March 2024 Read more Read More
  • Aura CDT conference unites around the acceleration of offshore wind targets

    1 February 2024 Read more Read More
  • Aura CDT hosts net-zero skills expert

    24 January 2024 Read more Read More
  • Aura CDT students inspire the next generation of offshore wind scientists

    9 November 2023 Read more Read More
  • Aura CDT student wins best presentation at international conference

    30 October 2023 Read more Read More

For an informal discussion, call +44 (0) 1482 463331
or contact