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Photograph of Dr Ishara Dharmasena with Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough

Dr Ishara Dharmasena with Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough

Loughborough University researcher among STEM for Britain finalists

Dr Ishara Dharmasena attended the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee’s STEM for Britain 2023 presentation which took place at the Houses of Parliament on 6 March.

The event – which coincided with British Science Week – provided early-career researchers with a unique opportunity to discuss their ground-breaking work with Members of both Houses of Parliament at Westminster. 

Dr Dharmasena (Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering) was selected from a competitive field of early-career researchers across the UK, and was one of just 29 Engineering researchers to be invited.

His expertise lies in mechanical energy harvesting technologies, wearable electronics and smart textiles. In August 2021, he was awarded a RAEng Research Fellowship to pursue his work in triboelectrically powered super-smart textiles for remote health monitoring.

Dr Dharmasena’s research is part the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC). A collaboration between Loughborough University, The University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, this new £100 million facility will deliver transformative patient care and integrate data into a personalised, holistic rehabilitation service.

He presented this work at the event under the title: “Super-smart clothing: electricity generating textiles that monitor your health”.

He says of the experience: "STEM for Britain was an excellent opportunity to showcase our research to a broad audience including the MPs, fellow researchers and some of the sponsors from various industries and institutes.

“I had the pleasure to talk to our local MP, Jane Hunt, about how we are progressing with our super-smart textiles technology and its applications in remote health monitoring. And, it was very interesting to share my work with researchers from across the UK – and learn about theirs."

About STEM for Britain

STEM for Britain is a collaboration between the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society, the Nutrition Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, with sponsorship from Dyson Ltd, Clay Mathematics Institute, United Kingdom Research and Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, AWE, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, the Society of Chemical Industry, Institute of Biomedical Science, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research, and the Biochemical Society.

An annual competition, since 2006, it invites applications from early-career research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians to exhibit their work across five areas – Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematical Sciences and Physics.

It is intended to help politicians learn about the UK’s thriving science and engineering base while rewarding some of the country’s best scientific and engineering research.