Posted on May 15, 2018 by staff

Award-winning schoolgirls to pitch ideas to UK Space Agency


Schoolgirls as young as 13 are to pitch their tech ideas to UK Space Agency bosses in June after claiming a share of a £50,000 prize.

Kari Lawler, aged 15 and based at Innovation Birmingham, was one of the winners of the UK Space SatelLife Challenge 2018 which offered 11-22-year-olds the chance to get expert advice around their ideas on how satellites can improve life on Earth.

Touching on machine learning, her deep artificial neural application ‘Capturing Earth’s Changes’ will analyse and digest Earth’s observation data, detecting patterns across the globe to identify the causes of natural disasters.

Lawler was awarded a place on Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) business support framework in September 2017, having developed her interests in AI from the age of 13.

She has since launched ‘Lawler Industries’ with father Brett and is now developing the start-up’s central project on the Innovation Birmingham campus, a not-for-profit UK-wide youth scheme to make AI mainstream and accessible for all young people.

The youth scheme comprises a core programme of events and guidance, which sits alongside a designated website and set of learning tools.

“On the path to developing my core business, which is in AI consultancy, I’ve gained a great insight into how varied the general understanding of AI can be, which led me to think how I could improve understanding, especially within my own generation,” said Lawler.

“The programme’s sole aim to encourage more young people to explore and understand the world of AI.

“It has been great to be based on the campus, the mentorship and community approach at the innovation centre has really helped create the spark for this award submission and other projects we’re working on.”

Opening up opportunities for financial support, access to satellite data, resources and mentoring from industry advisors and experts, the pitch day is to be held on June 26th.

The youngest winners of the UK Space SatelLife Challenge 2018 are based at two Cornish schools.

The Roseland Academy’s Ella Richards, Eleanor Champion and Maddie Harvey, all aged 13, gained recognition for an illness tracker app aimed at mapping and modelling the spread of infectious disease worldwide.

Meanwhile Ellie Jones, 15, Jessica Knight, 15, Summer Jeffery, 14, and Emily Hadderell, 14, all students at Truro’s Richard Lander School, won the best group project for their idea of ‘Surf Safe’ – a wristband that uses satellite location technology data to keep sea users safe.