The Royal Institution of Great Britain in central London was the venue last night for the presentation ceremony of the fifth annual P1 Marine Foundation National Student Awards supported by The Crown Estate, Marine Conservation Society and the Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology.
The Awards evening celebrated and rewarded students in higher education whose projects help to provide solutions to the threats to the marine and coastal environment.
The overall winner, Winnie Courtene Jones, from The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS UHI), was awarded the top prize for her ground-breaking project ‘Microplastics in the deep sea ecosystem’ and will receive £1000 to further her research. “I am thrilled and honoured to have been chosen as the winner of the National Student Awards for my PhD research examining microplastic pollution in the deep sea.” said Awards winner Winnie Courtene Jones, a University of the Highlands and Islands student. “My multi-disciplinary project involves assessing microplastics in the Northeast Atlantic deep-sea ecosystem and considering the vertical transport of these particles to depth”
The Crown Estate ‘Seabed Innovation Award’ was awarded to Kathryn O'Shaughnessy from Plymouth University for her project ‘Green engineering of coastal infrastructure: a design for life’. The Marine Conservation Society Wakefield Memorial Award went to Imogen Napper, from Plymouth University, for her research on ‘The Sources and Fate of Plastic in the Marine Environment’. The joint runners up prizes went to Tegan Consol at Plymouth University, for her project ‘Monitoring development and success rate of Scyliorhinus stellaris eggcases’, and Luke Holman at the University of Southampton for his project ‘Environmental DNA as a promising tool for early detection of marine invasive species’.
“This year we received excellent undergraduate and postgraduate entries from all across the UK, with a wide range of projects including micro plastics, green engineering, environmental DNA and monitoring of egg cases.” said Roy Mantle, Trustee at P1 Marine Foundation. “We are delighted that our Awards are giving prominence to exciting and valuable projects of this nature that go beyond research and analysis to develop solutions for marine conservation.”
The prize winners received £500 for The Crown Estate Award and the Marine Conservation Society Wakefield Memorial Award, and both runners up were awarded £250 each.
The entries were judged by a panel of scientists, academics and environmentalists including Rosie Kelly, Marine Policy Manager and Harriet Nicholls, Marine Policy Analyst at The Crown Estate; Dr Trevor Dixon, Marine Pollution Specialist at Advisory Committee of the Protection of the Sea and Dr Laura Foster, Marine Conservation Society Pollution Programme Manager. The panel looked for projects with environmental merit, originality, practicality and ground-breaking content.
The Awards evening also provided the winning students with the opportunity to showcase their projects to a diverse audience of business executives, charities, government representatives and the media.