Winning a top industry prize is a sure-fire way for undergraduates to ensure that they come under employer’s radar and make considerable headway in their careers.

This was certainly the case for Plymouth undergraduate Holly Bishop, who recently scooped the top prize at the Telegraph STEM Awards – despite only being in the first year of her degree!

The Telegraph STEM Awards call for UK undergraduates to put forward ‘a brilliant, original idea that would be beneficial to society’ and help drive one of the following five STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) sectors onto even greater success. These are:


  • Automotive – McLaren Group
  • Pharmaceuticals – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
  • Environment – Semta
  • Construction – Atkins
  • Defence – BAE Systems

Nineteen year-old Holly, who studies primary education with science at the university, certainly delivered when it came to this brief. Her winning idea fell under the second category, where she was challenged to find an innovative solution to the following problem:

‘Poor compliance with medication is a long-standing issue that has a significant negative impact both on patients’ health and on overstretched NHS resources. Despite repeated public campaigns and the availability of thousands of healthcare apps, the problem persists. What solution or new technologies would you propose to turn around this situation to ensure patients take medication at the right time, in the correct way?’

The answer according to Holly? A high-tech wristband which lights up and vibrates when patients need to take their medication and deactivates when the patient scans their medicine box.

“We know the huge difference just one talented individual, like Holly, can make”

Commenting on Holly’s tremendous feat, Malcom Skingle, Director of Academin Liaison at GSK and Telegraph UK STEM Awards judge, recognised the important role that each and every skilled STEM student/worker can play in society. He said:

“For a science-led company like ours, standing still is not an option.

“We recognise the crucial role our scientists and engineers play in developing new innovations to take our company forward.

“This is why we are absolutely committed to inspiring the next generation through our future talent programmes including graduates and apprenticeships.

“We know the huge difference just one talented individual, like Holly, can make, not only to the UK science base, but potentially on a global scale.“

Commenting on her win of £25,000 and a bespoke mentoring programme with Babcock, Holly said: “I was incredibly surprised to find out that I’d won, and it still feels so surreal.

“At first I didn’t know what to do with the money, but now I am certain that I want to put it towards developing the product, and helping future generations.

“I am very happy, and I am interested in pursuing this further, but first I have to complete my teaching placement in Newquay, which is going really well.”