Abdullah Khalid (Y8) and his sister Alishba Khalid (Y10, Bedford Girls’ School) have been invited to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida for the Conrad Innovation Challenge 2020 this April after being shortlisted for finals of the prestigious, international challenge.

The siblings, who are aged just 12 and 14, were inspired to look into how they can help patient recovery after their grandfather underwent surgery for heart disease several years ago.

For the last three years, they have been hard at work on their project, working evenings and weekends, developing an injection containing special proteins harvested from a species of green algae to reduce surgical complications and regenerate organs.

The complexity of the project has proved challenging, such as establishing whether it was possible to extract protein from algae, but Abdullah and Alishba’s efforts have clearly paid great dividends. On the back of their success in the challenge, Abdullah and his sister have both also been offered scholarships from Menlo College, a private undergraduate college based in Silicon Valley that focuses on the practical arts of business in the entrepreneurial economy. However, we are sure that many more universities, both in the UK and overseas, will be vying for the talented duo to join them when they leave school.

Speaking about their success, Abdullah told us that he was “quite surprised. I’m only twelve!”, he explained.

Abdullah is now looking forward to the opportunity to present their project and find out about the innovative projects from their fellow finalists. He told us, “I would like to be an aerospace or aviation scientist when I leave school”, so this challenge proved the young scientist’s dream come true.

Bedford Prep Headmaster Mr Silk commented, “We are so proud of Abdullah, but not surprised. He has already achieved a Headmaster’s Commendation this year for preparing a revision timetable for his whole class during the mid-year assessments. With this project, he is embodying many of our Future Skills.”

The Conrad Innovation Challenge

The Challenge encourages students to identify relevant real-world problems that do not necessarily have a clear answer and learn how to innovate by creating solutions. Find out more about the shortlisted finalists here.

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