Winners of national Raspberry Pi competition announced

25 May 2023 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read
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After another year of heated competition, PA Consulting has announced the winners of its 2023 Raspberry Pi awards. Schools from the UK were invited to build programmes helping boost the country’s energy transition, before their solutions were judged by experts from the private and public sector.

Now in its 11th year, PA Consulting’s annual Raspberry Pi competition challenges primary, secondary and college students across the UK to build products using low-cost microcomputers. The global consultancy launched the competition back in 2012 with the aim of help tackling the growing talent gap in programming and coding.

This year, finalists from schools and colleges were challenged to use a Raspberry Pi computer to innovate to accelerate energy transition, before presenting their inventions in front of a panel of expert judges from organizations including Microsoft UK, Network Rail, Coca-Cola, and NHS England – the winning teams each receiving £1,000 prize money. After a day of live judging, Inspiration and Innovation prizes for the 2023 Raspberry Pi competition have been handed out across four age groupings.

For the primary school category, academic years four-to-six, King Edward’s Junior School won the Innovation Award, having designed solar panels to generate heat to save water and energy, in response to the current cost of living crisis. Meanwhile, the Inspiration Award was given to Steeple Bumpstead Primary School, whose students created a notification system, using a light sensor to detect when a light is on, to remind people to turn off lights at breaks and lunchtimes at school.  

In the secondary school category, for academic years seven-to-nine, the Innovation Award was presented to Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park, which designed a Room Environmental Monitor Infobot to reduce the school’s energy use and carbon footprint, by measuring a classroom's temperature and light level and warns the user when levels are above a certain threshold. The Inspiration Award for the age group went to Churcher’s College, where students designed a submarine to extract natural and renewable electricity through the use of thermal energy from the seabed and converting it into electricity. 

An additional secondary school category focused on academic years 10 and 11, and saw an Innovation Award given to the Liverpool Blue Coat School, where participants developed a system to improve the efficiency of domestic and industrial solar panels – with team calculated the optimum angle at which panels should be fixed throughout the day using hyper-sensitive phototransistors. And an Inspiration Award was also presented to Stonelaw High School, whose students created a drain turbine to manage water usage. The turbine can be installed into pipes, and as water flows down drains, it spins the turbine linked to a rotary encoder, and the amount of water usage is shown on an accompanying app.  

Finally, sixth form and college awards were presented to academic years 12 and 13. In this case, the Innovation Award was scooped by Fulford School, for the development of a prototype using a solar panel to power a data centre and to extract the heat, redirecting energy to heat a local swimming pool. This solution enables small businesses to generate revenue whilst reducing their carbon footprint as well as making substantial savings on heating costs. Meanwhile, Barking Abbey School picked up the Innovation Award having designed a smart ‘Pingu’ device which uses temperature and humidity sensors to alert users if any appliances are switched on. 

David Rees, Head of local government services at PA Consulting, commented, “The enthusiasm from all of the children throughout the day, and from those that won, is a real joy to witness and be a part of. Encouraging the next generation of innovators and leaders is so important to us, and our competition aims to help children develop their interest in the impact that technologies can have. The ingenuity of young people is remarkable, and it’s this ingenuity coupled with their drive that will help shape our future.”

PA prides itself on its own legacy of innovation – something which it built upon to help realise revenues of £785 million in 2022. As the firm looks to foster the creators and inventors of tomorrow, its own experts might well be joined by some of the bright sparks on display at the Raspberry Pi competition, in years to come.