Pupils awarded Nuffield Research Bursaries

The research projects of four Year 14 girls were presented at a special Sentinus Celebration event at Queen’s University, Belfast, on Thursday 19 September 2013.  Each of the four girls: Tori Browne, Eve Bryans, Courtenay Patterson and Laura Suitor, was awarded a Nuffield Research Bursary during the summer break.  Tori carried out a Chemistry-based research project at Kilroot Power Station, investigating the use of waste water at the plant.  Courtenay’s project involved an hour-long drive each day to the QUB Marine Biology Centre at Portaferry, where she investigated the growth of marine algae.  The basis of Courtenay’s research arose from the EnAlgae project that brings together nineteen partners and fourteen observers across seven European Union member states.  Its potential aim is to decrease CO2 emissions and reliance on unsustainable energy sources in North West Europe.


The project carried out by Eve took place at the Centre for Vision and Vascular Science (RVH) and ran alongside the Centre’s existing research programme.  Her investigation was entitled ‘the Effects of Glucose on Outgrowth Endothelial Cell (OEC) function’.  Two investigations were carried out: a scratch wound assay to assess OEC migration and a clonogenic assay to assess OEC proliferation (replication).

We are once more indebted to staff at RSPB for hosting one of our pupils: Laura Suitor worked alongside Education staff and volunteers at the Belfast Lough RSPB Reserve to determine whether provisioning of terns was sufficient to produce a productive colony of arctic and common terns at RSPB’s Belfast Harbour Reserve.  Karen Sheil, Education Officer with RSPB, was impressed with Laura’s artistic talent as well as her academic ability; referring to Laura’s drawings, she commented  “these beautiful, visually stunning and accurate ID drawings of the different developmental stages of the lifecycle of the common tern and high calorific fish species will form the basis of ID keys which will be useful in subsequent years for use by other research students”.

Well done to all the girls for their perseverance with their research tasks during the holidays and for the excellent reports they subsequently produced.  All four girls have been nominated for Gold CREST awards by their project supervisors.

J Milligan