The University of Sheffield is affiliated to the Undergraduate Awards. The world’s largest international academic awards programme, the Undergraduate Awards recognises innovation and excellence at undergraduate level. Cited as the ultimate champion for high-potential undergraduates, UA identifies leading creative thinkers through their undergraduate coursework and provides top performing students with the support, network and opportunities they require to raise their profiles and further their career paths.
Have your work recognised on a global stage
The Undergraduate Awards received 5,514 papers from undergraduates in 244 institutions and 121 nationalities in 2015-16. The programme creates the opportunity for students to have their undergraduate work published, and recognised as world-leading. Winners are eligible to attend a global summit in Dublin in November of each year.
Who can apply?
The Undergraduate Awards programme is open to full-time undergraduate students from all disciplines in their penultimate and final year of a degree course. Part-time students who are studying an undergraduate degree may also take part in awards, on the condition that they have completed two-thirds of their course.
What work can be submitted?
Students can submit any piece of individual undergraduate coursework which received a II.1 or above. For more information regarding submissions, please visit the Undergraduate Awards website.
When is the deadline?
13 June 2017
Support from the University of Sheffield
Successful University of Sheffield students
University of Sheffield students were highly successful in the 2015-16 awards, with 13 students receiving 14 awards.
European Regional Winner 2015-16
The University are delighted to announce that Nikhil Jacob, with his paper ‘Automatic Artefact Removal to improve EEG Source Localization accuracies in Brain Computer Interface systems’ was recognised as the highest performing paper in the Europe region, in the Engineering category.
Nikhil will be attending the Global Summit in Dublin in November 2016 with financial support from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, 301 Student Skills and Development Centre, and Your Global Sheffield.
|What made you enter the Undergraduate Awards?||
I was nearing the end of my 3rd year research project when I received an email regarding the undergraduate awards. It looked both intimidating and exciting the first time I read the email, especially when I realized it was a worldwide competition. The submission process was very simple, so that provided an extra incentive, especially when you are bogged down with exams!
|Were you encouraged by your supervisor?||
Yes, definitely! My supervisor Dr.Greg Cook is very open minded and encourages students to propose their own ideas. He often encourages us to take the lead - one of his favourite phrases is ‘you teach me!’.
|Tell us more about the work you submitted.||
I was working on Brain Computer Interfaces, a technology that would allow you to control the world around you with thought alone, sounds like X-Men stuff doesn’t it?! But based on reality. This is how it works. First, you put on a EEG headset on your head, which would capture electrical signals produced at the scalp, due to neurons firing deep in your brain. Then a computer will analyse these and send a command to a device; for example, telling a wheelchair to move forward (if that’s what you thought). Crazy right? Who would have thought your brain produces electrical signals that you could measure on your scalp using a cheap headset, instead of using huge MRI machines?
EEG headsets suffer from a lack of accuracy, as opposed to the more expensive MRI machines. While you may be able to track thoughts with more resolution by using an MRI, using an EEG headset may not have such a high resolution, sort of like trying to look ahead while driving, with dense fog. You see cars ahead but not clearly enough. A way to solve this is to remove artefacts. Artefacts are like bad guys, which distort the signals coming from the brain, making it less representative of your thought. Electrical signals produced when you blink your eye or use your muscles, are examples of artefacts. I developed automatic algorithms to remove these artefacts, so that the computer can see and track your thought processes more accurately, and then send it to the outside world to control things!
|How does it feel to have your work recognized internationally?||
Simply awesome! First of all, it gave me more confidence. Second, it confirmed inclinations I had towards research in this field, and pursuing a career in academia generally. Third, it has given more opportunities and has leveraged my profile, with regards to applying for further education. Finally, it has taught me that there is no harm in trying; that the important thing always is to give it a go!
|What are you looking forward to most about attending the Global Summit in November?||
I am most looking forward to meeting other winners and networking with them. I feel like it is an amazing opportunity to learn what people around the world are doing. Also, I am looking forward to hearing from prominent speakers such as the first African American women who went to space. I really want to talk to her and hear what space was like, first hand. That would be awesome if I get the chance to do that. Finally, I am also excited about presenting my work, to see if there are others with interest in a similar field.
The 2015-16 Highly Commended Entrants from the University of Sheffield were:
Robin Chapman - Literature: English and Art History, Music, Film & Theatre
Hannah Thornton - Art History, Music, Film & Theatre
Jessica Murray - Business
Beth Harvey - Earth & Environmental Sciences
Rasan Chandra - Engineering
Samuel Whittaker - History
Aryan Baghbadrani - Medical Sciences
Emma Shaw - Medical Sciences
Leila Morris - Politics &; International Relations
Silvia Leone - Built Environment
Sanja Arsova - Business
Dzhuliya Katsarova - Business