Skilful scientists, Lucy Pirzada in Year 11 and Eva Koffi in Year 13, have wowed the judges in the Youth Grand Challenges, a new education initiative by the British Science Association and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with their innovative projects to help tackle some of the biggest challenges in global health and development.

The girls were shortlisted as one of the top five in their categories, Lucy in the Silver Category and Eva in the Gold Category, securing their place in the grand finals to be held in London in December. Only 20 student STEM projects have made it to the concluding stages of the competition, in which thousands of students from across the UK took part.

This year’s theme is infectious diseases. Lucy created a website to help communicate the challenges of vaccinating in developing countries, identifying the impact this has on both the individual and wider populations. Eva’s project addressed Guinea Worm Disease, which is a sign of poor sanitation and water filtration. She looked at the problem in great detail, coming up with solutions to further its eventual eradication.

Dr Rozgowska, who entered the girls for the competition said: ‘I am so proud of them, they have really produced some outstanding work for this competition.’

Judges in this final round include, Konnie Huq, TV presenter; Dr James Logan, TV presenter and academic from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Alexandra Rutishauser-Perera, Head of Nutrition at Action Against Hunger UK.

Prizes in the Gold category include a travel bursary of £1500 and a fully-funded place to attend the London International Youth Science Forum, a two-week science enrichment programme. In the Silver category winners will take part in an outdoor weekend adventure to gain experience as a field scientist and visit a research institute of their choosing.