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Golden opportunities for Bristol PhD student Euan Allen

From Left to Right: Dr Stephen Benn, Vice President Parliamentary & Scientific Committee; Professor Roy Sambles, President, Institute of Physics; Euan Allen; Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair, Parliamentary & Scientific Committee. John Deehan Photography

Press release issued: 15 March 2016

Bristol University PhD student, Euan Allen has won a prestigious Gold award at the final of the SET for Britain Exhibition, held in Westminster on Monday 7th March.

Euan presented his ground-breaking research to Members of Parliament at Westminster. Sponsored by Stephen Metcalfe MP, SET for Britain hosts an annual poster competition and exhibition to foster greater engagement with early-stage researchers. Euan who is a student in the Quantum Engineering Centre for Doctoral Training and the Centre for Quantum Photonics researcher was short-listed from over 500 applicants to compete against his peers and secured the prestigious gold medal for best poster and research in physics. Medals are awarded for the very best research and results in an early-stage career alongside their ability to communicate their research to a lay audience.

Euan, who is researching novel light sources for quantum sensing applications, said “there were some fascinating posters on display and to have come away with the gold award was an amazing feeling. It was great to meet the other finalists and share my work with MPs. The opportunity to discuss my research with non-specialists was really constructive and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

Sensors and measurement devices are vital tools for technology, industry and science. An iPhone has eight sensors in it, a hospital is full of sensors (X-Ray, MRI, CT), and our knowledge of global warming wouldn't exist without the data that sensors have provided. Light based devices are incredibly useful, particularly those using laser light. Examples include distance sensing in autonomous cars, detection of biological warfare agents and the measurement blood oxygen saturation. Euan’s work aims to use special light sources, based on the principles of quantum mechanics, which can be used to not only make current sensors better, but may produce a whole range of new devices that can be used across biological imaging, greenhouse gas sensing, and industry in general.

Dr Jonathan Matthews, Euan’s supervisor and Lecturer in CQP said “SET for Britain is a fantastic event for Euan to be a part of and a terrific opportunity for Euan to showcase his research to policy makers. I am very excited about his project and I am very proud to be working with him”.

SET for BRITAIN exists to raise the profile of Britain's early-stage researchers at Westminster by engaging Members of both Houses of Parliament with current science, engineering and mathematics research being undertaken in the UK, especially that by their local constituents and in their local University. The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee run the event in collaboration with the Royal Society of Biology, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Physiological Society, the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry and with financial support from the Clay Mathematics Institute, Essar, CMI, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), SCI, the Bank of England and the Institute of Biomedical Science.

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