Two people walking in front of a green sign that says cultivating curiosity

Inspiring the scientists of tomorrow

The National Heart and Lung Institute and the British Heart Foundation’s Centre of Research Excellence at Imperial College London offered the 3rd Annual "Science in Medicine School Teams Prize" to engage sixth form school students with science in medicine.  Any educational organisation in the UK with sixth form students was eligible to participate. Schools were invited to form teams and compete for financial prices.

The aims were to encourage students to:

  • stretch beyond the school curriculum, think outside the bubble of traditional biomedical fields and learn about the excitement of research.
  • consider how trends in science and engineering will impact on health and medicine in the future.
  • understand the importance of a multidisciplinary approach and teamwork to effective research and development for improvements in public and individual health.
  • forward think realistically by realising the importance of affordability, availability and acceptability in translating inventions towards a reduction in inequality-related poor health outcomes.
  • appreciate the importance of effective communication in rolling out scientific developments, with an emphasis on art and design.

In 2023 there were three separate team contests. Schools could enter one team to each contest, and some conducted an internal selection process.  Teams could have no more than six members and were made up of members with varied interests to demonstrate a multidisciplinary approach.  Examples of possible student scientific interests included biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, maths, computing, data science and economics.


  • Prizes for each contest are £3000 - 1st, £2000 - 2nd and £1000 - 3rd and were intended to support science-related activities in the winning schools.
  • Shortlisted teams will be offered the opportunity for online mentoring session with an academic.
  • Prize-winners may be invited to submit blogs on their submissions.
  • Prize-winning posters will be exhibited at the annual Imperial Festival.
  • All team members received certificates of participation.

This year’s three contests were:

  • The British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Prize. This prize was sponsored by the British Heart Foundation. Entrants were invited to focus on a topic with interactions between the cardiovascular system and the nervous system, for instance in relation to pain or stress or in causing dementia or stroke, but students were free to choose any interaction that interests them. This prize is supported by the BHF and the Cardiovascular Theme of the Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.
  • The Lung Prize. This prize was partially supported by the NHLI and the Respiratory Theme of the Biomedical Research Centre. Submissions could focus on any aspect of the prevention or treatment of respiratory disease. 
  • The Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK Prize. The Scleroderma and Raynaud’s Prize was sponsored by Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK (SRUK – Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK | SRUK). The challenge was to prepare an ePoster with a novel vision on how to promote the health and well-being of individuals with Scleroderma and/or Raynaud’s. 

The Challenge

Entrants were asked to design an ePoster which illustrated a strategy for combining hard sciences with biomedicine to reduce the number of deaths and disabilities caused by various diseases and we encouraged students to consider the following:

    • Heart, circulatory and lung diseases are leading causes of death and chronic ill health around the world
    • Scientific progress comes from a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing different specialities together to challenge thinking (medicine, biology and hard sciences such as physics, chemistry, computers, mathematics & engineering)
    • The development and implementation of advances need skills not just in science, but in design and communication.
    • Early diagnosis of scleroderma and interventions to prevent or treat Raynaud’s symptoms
    • Interventions for preventing the development of fibrosis, as applied to scleroderma or other disorders.
    • Pulmonary hypertension or interstitial lung disease in scleroderma
    • Monitoring of scleroderma disease activity, for instance using remote techniques.
    • Determining the prognosis of the individual patient and new strategies for personalised treatment

We gave the following instructions:

  • The judges would be looking for innovative ideas, a striking ePoster design and original illustrations
  • The e-Poster should be pitched to communicate to non-experts, for example fellow sixth form students
  • The ePoster was not expected to cover the whole breadth of heart and circulatory disease – it was better to focus on a particular aspect
  • Teams could choose whether to address a UK or global issue(s) in the ePoster
  • Teams were free to choose the design of the ePoster but were advised to describe clearly what problem they were addressing, the anticipated innovation(s), and steps along the way to implementation.
  • The judges would be looking for evidence that the vision considers affordability, availability and acceptability in translating science and/or engineering towards improved health.
  • Teams were advised to indicate how each member contributed to the poster so that teamwork can be scored.
  • The ePoster was to be submitted in Landscape format as a pdf file via our Qualtrics portal with the size of the ePoster to be suitable for a print-out size as an A0 (not larger than 84 cm (height) and 118 cm (width))
  • Teams were asked to submit two versions of the posters, one with and one without identification of the educational organisation via the online submission portal.


The submitted version without the identification of the educational organisation has been scored by the short-listing panel.

 Judges awarded up to ten points for each of the following domains:

    • Definition and importance of the problem
    • Scientific and technological approach
    • Novelty and vision
    • Feasibility
    • Insight into testing efficacy
    • Affordability and availability
    • Social acceptability
    • Poster design
    • Original illustrations
    • Evidence of teamwork

The top ten teams in each of the three contests were invited in early September to present their posters at the finals event.

Finals Event

Finals events were recently held for the Imperial College London 3rd Annual Science in Medicine School Teams Prize. The prizes were supported by the BHF Centre of Research Excellence at Imperial, the National Heart and Lung Institute and the Scleroderma & Raynaud Charity. The winners were:

BHF Cardiovascular Prize - Supported by the British Heart Foundation Centre of Excellence

Joint 1st - Roundwood Park School & Chigwell School

Runner up - Merchant Taylor's School

Lung Prize - Supported by the National Heart and Lung Institute

1st Prize – St Olaves Grammar School

Joint Runners Up – Kimberley Sixth Form College & Westminster school

Scleroderma and Raynaud’s Prize - Supported by Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK

1st Prize – Newham Collegiate School & Kings School, Canterbury

Runner up – Watford Grammar School

For any queries, please email



Watch a webinar introducing the prize

Webinar introducing the 2023 prize

Imperial College Science in Medicine School Teams Prize

Webinar introducing the 2023 prize

Webinar introducing the 2023 School Teams Prize

Science at Heart and Lung Schools Teams Prize

Webinar introducing the 2022 prize

Webinar introducing the 2022 Science at Heart and Lung School Teams Prize

Webinar introducing the 2021 Prize

Webinar introducing the 2021 prize

Webinar introducing the 2021 Science at Heart School Teams Prize

Prizes for 2022

School Teams Prize 2022 were awarded to:

 Heart and Circulation Prize
Lung Prize

The first, second and third prizes were £3000, £2000 and £1000 for supporting science-related activities. Feedback and mentoring meetings with Imperial Staff were arranged for each of the finalist teams.

Winners of the 2021 BHF Heart School Teams Prize