The RCSU hosted the final awards ceremony for the 2023 Science Challenge at the Sir Alexander Fleming Building in South Kensington.

The Science Challenge aims to give young scientists the opportunity to develop the skills to talk about science in an engaging and fun way to people who don’t necessarily have a science background.

The winners of each category were Hannah Franklin (Ocean Exploration), Haider Rizvi (Space Exploration), Yiannis Scotiniadis (Science across Scales), Aadhavan Balachandran (Turning Points - School), and Aryan Khedkar (Turning Points - Imperial).

Winners for 2024

Congratulations to all this year's winners. Read more about them below.

Professor Jamie Gallagher's question

What is a scientific discovery/invention/development which has had real world impact?

Winner: Jerwei Chanyawee Seet

Runner up: Faizan Khan, Shivani Vasan

Dr Simon Foster's question

Winner: Hari Das
Runners up: Mukta Sandeep Burde, Loapi Warona Mokgatlhe

Professor Tony Cass' question

The first draft sequence of the human genome took a global effort by hundreds of researchers 13 years and cost around $3bn. Now the cost of sequencing a human genome is $1000 and takes just over 24 hours. What do you think is the most significant consequence of this advance?

Winner: Isabel Wong

Runner up: Yue (Eunice) Lau, Junhyung Kim

RCSA question

You are the head of a UK based vaccine development group when a new virus is discovered that is more infectious and more lethal than the recent Covid19 virus. Tell us about some of the issues and challenges you will face (which might involve research, production, clinical trials and communications) and how you will try to resolve them to accelerate the launch of a safe and effective vaccine.

Winner: Matilda Chisholm

Runner up: Kwo Ding, Liu Zitian

Young Scientists Journal question

Tell us something that's far more than what meets the eye. This is an opportunity for you to dive into one of a broad range of topics to really showcase your scientific curiosity and inquiry.

Winner: Sam Fricker
Runner up: Wong Jayden Yu Ching 

Imperial winners

Winner: Emike Akagbosu
Runners Up: Vishal Vijay Kumar, Chelsea Dack

Special prizes

Phoebe Sabiniano - best designed video
Matilda Chisholm - best animated video

Past winners

Winners for 2023

Overall winner

Haider Rizvi

Dr Tom Crawford's question

How do we clean the ocean? It’s clear that our oceans are heavily polluted with rubbish, microplastics, and chemicals but what do you think would be the best way to fix this problem?

Winner: Hannah Franklin

Runner up: Nabil Alizadeh

Vanessa Madu's question

Tell us a story about a major scientific discovery that has, or you think will happen through space exploration. Think about who the characters are? Were there any conflicts? What were the circumstances? What was/will be the discovery? What were/will be the consequences? Is that story still ongoing?

Winner: Haider Rizvi – Q2 Winning Entry for 2023 RCSU Science Challenge

Runner up: Aaqib Waafaa and Otonye Ibiama

Professor Kathy Sykes' question

I’d like you to describe a new frontier or dimension in science you think we’re going to explore which will teach us more about ourselves, our world, or our Universe.

Winner: Yiannis Scotiniadis

Runner up: Anna Rantakari and Laila Ahmed

Professor Lord Robert Winston's question

You are a science journalist of a national newspaper – either The Telegraph or The Sun. The editors, Madeline Pontificate of The Telegraph and Roddy Simplidone of The Sun, have asked for a piece to be published over the Christmas period or Easter holidays. They want you to consider the three most important inventions produced since Homo sapiens stood on Earth. Justify your choice and rank them in order of significance, discussing their impact.  You may choose for which newspaper you decide to write and both editors have equal space for exactly 1500 words give or take 10 words more or less; there is a space to choose one picture if you wish.

School Winner: Aadhavan Balachandran

Imperial Winner: Aryan Khedkar

School runner ups: Elisa Rodríguez Moreno and Sofiya Flenova

Imperial runner ups: Eshaan NIraj Rajesh Kumar and Wing Yu Helen Wong

Special Prize winners

  • RCSU Innovative Approach winner: Aaqib Waffa
  • RCSU Visuals winner: Otonye Ibiama
  • RCSU Multi-Media winner: Panche Gurev-Markovachev
  • RCSU Humour winners: Yiannis Scotiniadis and Nina Koziol-Webster
  • RCSU Production Quality winner: Sophia Davey
  • Young Scientist's Journal Spoken Communication winner: Alex Kang
  • RCSU Written Communication winner: Aryan Khedkar

Winners for 2022

Professor Richard Templer's question

By the end of this decade we need to start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere if we are to avoid irreversible climate changes. I would like you to critically analyse an approach that is currently being developed from carbon dioxide removal and create a video that describes your findings for a general audience.

Winner: Clare Jin


Runners up: Masha Ullah-Radiguet and Mukta Sandeep Burde


  • Achyuth Sriniva Rajagopalan
  • Amelie Kearns
  • Ayushi Thakur
  • Charmee Panchal
  • Elaab Tsegaye
  • Lai Yan Tung
  • Rachael Lam
  • Qiuyu Duan
  • Misaki Hiroya

Dr Paulo Ceppi's question

How do we know that we humans are causing climate change, rather than natural phenomena?

Winner: Marianne Peuch
Imperial College London Winner: Vanessa Madu


  • Alexandra Khromova
  • Arran Kinnear
  • Clark Khaylle H.Lopez
  • Jasmine Withers
  • Jennifer Carless
  • Jonathan Panett-smith
  • Lauren Lendrevie
  • Margaret Liu
  • Wangxing Guo
  • Simra Yousaf
  • Noyonika Smanta
  • Saii Anandita Prakash

Professor Kathy Sykes' question

What message would you, as a scientist, like to deliver to a leader in your country about climate change? So, a Prime Minister or President or local leader. What evidence would you use to back up your message?

Winner: Zerlynde Goik

Runner up: Muhammed Omar Farooq


  • Anika Mhetras
  • Catherine James
  • Dhruv Gadgil
  • Jap Annette Hoi Ching
  • Seren Wardle

Lord Robert Winston's question

Winner: Pyncha Soottreenart

Runners up: Milo SmithDominika Grabik and Nina Van Derlip


  • Annesha Rajesh Tandel
  • Caitlyn Koay Yen Zi
  • Charlie Owen
  • Eleanor Gill
  • Evelyn Elspeth Dike
  • Fedra Androulidaki
  • Isabela Maria Codo Costa Barra
  • James McNeill
  • Joshua Odonnell
  • Kiran Vijay
  • Oliver Gaunt
  • Rohan Selva-Radov
  • Ved Bhagavathula
  • Yash Pincha
  • Zaigham Aizad

Overall winner

Imperial (individual)

Oliver Nash

Schools (Individual)

Cem Muminoglu

Schools (Team)

Nikita Kurgan, Amika Piplapure, Chloé Lesjongard and Narthana Jayaweerasingham

Overall runner-up

Imperial (Individual)

Maria Emily Jenkinson Alvarez

Schools (Individual)

Emma Vestergaard Poulse

Schools (Teams)

Surabhi Srivastava, Jaya Bhardwaj and Isabella Smith

Category: Imperial (Individual)

First place

Lauren Wheeler

Oliver Nash

Maria Emily Jenkinson

Second place

Suthinee Phanuvatsuk

Shahbanno Ahmad Hussain

Blazej Jozef Rzeszowski

Third place

Julia Dabrowska

Hannah Jayne Knight

Isabela Maria Codo Costa Barra

Category: Schools (Individual)

First place

Emma Vestergaard-Poulsen

Megan Twum-Barima

Freddie Evans

Cem Muminoglu

Second place

Casey Dylan Abrahams

Daniel Keith Chan

Shivi Gupta

Nicole Baxter

Third place

Nizara Ziaudeen

Suvek Sarda

Katie Hogben

Sophie Hodge

Preesha Jain

Category: Schools (Teams)

First place

Anna-Sophie Fellows, Roksan Keyhanian, Sarah Aruliah

Nikita Kurgan,Amika Piplapure, Chloé Lesjongard, Narthana Jayaweerasingham

Rachel Wai Yee Tam, Yiqian Wu, NianYi Lim

Surabhi Srivastava, Jaya Bhardwaj, Isabella Smith

Second place

Polina Ivanushkina, Phoebe Bonner, Lia Tzouves

Shrish Janarthanan, Abhay Nischal, Tara Aksoy

Leona Ahamed, Tarini Deleep, Tanvi Sattiraju

Charlie Aram, Natasha Sweeting, Eliza Tabachnik, Arabella Heath

Third place

Charmee Panchal, Riya Gupta, Dhaksh Rajesh

Tanushree Nag, Isha Atreja, Natalia Potemska

Alen Saracevic, Ludovica Riegler, Una Saric

Filip Kennedy Amelia Doyle Kyra Shankar

Avni Ladwa, Kiara Patel, Thulasii Gowripalann, WenyueZhu

Science Challenge 2019

Prof. Armand Leroi's Question 'How will A.I.s turn art into science?'


Anita Chandran Overall winner (Imperial)

Igor Sterner Overall winner (School)

Schools runners-up

2. Aayushi Jhaveri
3. Lara Tatli

Imperial runners-up

2. Abdul Zafar
3. Shun Wong

Lord Christopher Fox's Question: 'Imagine/project how A.I. will improve people's lives by 2035. Propose the role of natural Scientists in making this happen.'


James M Harrison (Imperial)

Natalia Kubala (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Matthew Lewis
3. Maddy Board

Imperial runners-up

2. Isabelle Zhang
3. Ayoub Bencheckron

Dr. Dalal Alrajeh's QuestioN: 'A.I. nowadys plays an instrumental role in developments in the natural sciences - these have included predicting chemical reactions, discovering protocols for stem cell differentiation and most recently, predicting 3D shapes of proteins (DeepMind, Google). In the future, could A.I. replace human scientists and why?'


Ronan Docherty (Imperial)

Nouri Ezaz Nikpay (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Minseok Ryu
3. Diya Salahudin

Imperial runners-up

2. Juanita Bawagan
3. Zaynah Ahmed

Lord Robert Winston's Task: 'Human consciousness is the great unsolved puzzle in biology. How can we make artificial intelligence?'


Patrick Masso Walsh (Imperial)

Sophia Sergeeva (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Emike Akagbosu
3. Khoo Jaylen

Imperial runners-up

2. Jakub Dranczewski
3. Lorenzo Signore

Science Challenge 2018

Dr Shini Somara's Question: 'To what extent have giant leaps in scientific progress been influenced by shifts within the scientists themselves?'


Yue Wang (Imperial)

Layana Sani (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Roberto Parisi
3. Beverley Luu

Imperial runners-up

2. Daisy Roger-Simmonds
3. Sanziana Foia

Dr Felicia Yap's Question: 'Select a scientific discovery or technological development from the past 5 years. Now, imagine a single day in the year 2048. How will this breakthrough affect daily life?'


Max Festenstein (Imperial)

Tamanna Jithesh (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Grace Lee
3. Yunzhe Li

Imperial runners-up

2. Francine Tran
3. Veronika Sigutova

Prof. Lord Oxburgh’s Question: 'In June 2017, a giant iceberg the size of Delaware broke off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in West Antarctica, creating an 80 mile long crack in the ice. How do relatively small shifts, rifts and changes lead to a long lasting effect on our planet's climate?'


James Harrison (Imperial)

Serena Qiao (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Jeremy Boyle
3. Fiona (Jianing) You

Imperial runners-up

2. Lloyd James
3. Georgia Green

Dr Martin Archer's Question: 'What small area of current research do you think has the potential to revolutionise our lives and why?'


Patrick Masso Walsh

Isabelle Worssam

Schools runners-up

2. Ping Zhu
3. Millie Knight and Sophie Mallison

Imperial runners-up

2. Jakub Dranczewski
3. Jonathan Davies and Rielly Newbold

Science Challenge 2015

Mun Keat Looi's Question: 'Tell me a story of (about or from) science. Who are the characters? What is its beginning, middle - and how does it "end"?'


Dimitrios Karponis (Imperial)

Joel Holmes (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Alexandra Constantinou
3. Qingwei Zhang

Imperial runners-up

2. Catherine Saunders
3. Harald Grantham-Hill

Prof. Sue Gibson's Question: 'What would you like to discover and why?'


Daniel O'Reilly (Imperial)

Peter Gobbett (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Chian Ying Xuan
3. Tahirah Uddin

Imperial runners-up

2. Daniel Marx
3. Stefan Grossfurthner

Ruth Whincup's Question: 'How do we get the next generation interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths)?'


Joon Faii Ong (Imperial)

Kathryn Jaitly (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Abbie Currington
3. Akhil Sonthi

Imperial runners-up

2. Ray Otsuki
3. Mayurdhvajsinh Gohil

Prof. Philip Moriarty's Task: 'Why should I believe a scientist? (Video challenge)'

Overall Winner

Lawrence Berry Westminster School

Runners Up

Dania Badran

Michael Florea

Science Challenge 2014

Prof. Fay Dowker's question: 'What does science tell us about the nature of time?'


Paul Boes (Imperial)

Ella Creamer (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Hannah Coop
3. Abbie Currington

Imperial runners-up

2. Lucy Binfield
3. Sarah Byrne

Pallab Ghosh's question: Write a letter to my five year old daughter, Charlotte, about how one or more areas of science, technology, engineering or medicine that fascinate you will have developed by the time she is at University and which subject you would encourage her to study and why?


Emma Wills (Imperial)

Rebecca Daramola (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Jesse Cheung
3. Assankhan Amirov

Imperial runners-up

2. Anne-Hermine Allain
3. Vanessa Place

Jon Kudlick's question: 'How should we decide which species to prioritise for conservation?'


Timothy Thomas (Imperial)

Chung Yee Chan (Schools)

Schools runners-up

2. Arthur Li
3. Matthias Butler

Imperial runners-up

2. Batool Raza
3. Nicole Levikov

Dr Jad Marrouche's question: 'Explain a scientific concept of your choice in a 3-minute video.'


Matthew I Murchie (Imperial)

Runners Up

Bernadeta Dadonaite (Imperial)

Dania Badran (Schools)

Science Challenge 2013

Sir Roy Anderson's question: 'What are the scientific challenges facing the development of pathogens against vaccines with hyper-variable genome sequences?'


Ben Bleasdale (Imperial)

Elena Rastorgueva (Schools)

Second Place

Abbie Currington (Schools)

Third Place

Shing-him Cho (Imperial)

Devang Metha (Schools)

Sir Brian Hoskin's question: 'Is public debate a good forum for discussing science issues such as climate change?'


Nicholas Thapen (Imperial)

Matthew Willis (Schools)

Second Place

Daniel Marx (Imperial)

Jennifer Thorpe (Schools)

Third Place

James Bezer (Imperial)

Elizabeth Bowes (Schools)

Lord Robert Winston's question: 'Why are so many students being put off studying science at school?'


Amanda Diez (Imperial)

Theresita Joseph (Schools)

Second Place

Amelia Chong (Imperial)

Cavin Corriette (Schools)

Third Place

Sebastien Wood (Imperial)

Alice Pritchard (Schools)

Dr Jad Marrouche's question: 'Explain a scientific concept of your choice in a 3-minute video.'


Sang Eun Lee

Mei Ran Abellona U

Bernadeta Dadonaite

Runners Up

Richard Flint (Imperial)

Joshua Banner (Schools)