First Prize in National Engineering Competition for Girls
26th April 2016

Oundle School pupil, Rebecca Siddall’s (15) iMEDIVAC project entry for the Talent 2030 National Engineering Competition for Girls has won first prize in the 15-16 age category.


Rebecca’s creation of iMEDIVAC was inspired by an image of infected Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey being airlifted from Glasgow to the Royal Free Hospital. 


Rebecca commented, “With life-saving treatment, courageous medics, and an isolation care ward ready in London, saving Pauline was a triumph of infrastructure and training. During her recent relapses she has twice been pulled back from the brink of death by rapid intervention - proving the extraordinary power of modern medical intervention for even the most lethal diseases.”


Rebecca asked herself the question: ‘Don't all victims of such infection and contagion deserve the same level of care? The same speed of response? Emergency first aid that makes all the difference? ‘ 


Rebecca added, “I was deeply touched that Pauline did not contract Ebola randomly, but because she put herself in harm's way: volunteering her nursing skills to help the very Ebola victims who inadvertently infected her. Medics themselves - particularly the first responders to an outbreak of contagion or an infectious emergency - need an immediate, effective way to isolate those they are trying to treat?”


No matter how geographically remote or poorly served, local communities and the medics helping them deserve an effective, low-cost solution to all these questions.


Based upon her statistical analysis of a number of recent outbreaks, Rebecca identified two areas which could increase the efficiency of first response. As a result she created design and engineering innovations to make this first emergency response occur quickly and economically.


Rebecca concluded, “If we can isolate the crisis early enough, keep the patient well enough, monitor the situation closely enough, learn about the pathogen wisely enough, relay the situation well enough, and listen to the specialists hard enough, we might just acquire a few crucial percentage points head start in the race against the next latent pandemic.” 


iMEDIVAC is optimised in accordance with five guiding priorities: 

1} Large enough to provide instant isolation for at least 1 patient per unit 

2} Small enough to be carried as two backpacks in total: one for iMEDIVAC itself, one for the iMEDIRAK air filter / hypobaric micro unit  

3} Robust enough to survive a parachute drop, or delivery by bicycle or on foot in most weather conditions  

4} Low-cost enough to be affordable worldwide 

5} Deliverable within hours worldwide

For further information see Rebecca’s website at:


The prize-giving event took place at the Big Bang Fair at Birmingham NEC on 19th March, where Rebecca had a stand to display the concept to experts and the public.


The awards ceremony itself was the culmination of the Talent 2030 competition event, at which Rebecca was awarded £500 prize money and another £500 for Oundle School.


Rebecca commented, “Part of the award involves mentoring and networking with professional women engineers, so I might have the opportunity to further develop iMEDIVAC.”


In September, the final development phase of Oundle School’s SciTec Campus, an award-winning and innovative science complex, opened in 2007, is due for completion. This second and final phase, incorporating both a brand new Mathematics department and a significant refurbishment of the Patrick Engineering Centre, will link Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically. 

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