Professor Martin Siegert with Sir Edward Bolitho and Ian Jones

A new awards programme has been launched with the support of the University of Exeter, Cornwall to help kick-start the careers of the Duchy’s next generation of innovators.

Applications are now open for the brand new Young & Talented Cornwall Spirit of Trevithick Award, which will offer funding and mentoring to youngsters showing outstanding promise in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The Award, which was launched at Goonhilly Earth Station this week, also seeks to support those facing social barriers, personal challenges or financial restraints.

It is the latest initiative of Young & Talented Cornwall, The Lord Lieutenant’s Fund, which since 2005 has provided more than £400,000 of grants across a wide range of skills areas. In addition to the University, it is sponsored by local businesses Cornish Lithium and Wildanet.

“We are delighted to support Young and Talented Cornwall with its wonderful initiative to nurture the county’s young people to succeed in science,” said Professor Martin Siegert, Vice President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Cornwall). “Cornwall has an incredible scientific and engineering heritage in mining, communications, electronics and transport, and is now leading the way in areas such as renewable energy, space technology, mineral development and data science.

“Here at the University of Exeter, we are passionate, not just about scientific endeavour and protecting the environment for future generations, but also educating tomorrow’s business and research leaders. In a year when the Penryn campus celebrates its 20th anniversary of higher education, we are excited to see what projects our own students come up with.”

Successful applicants will be matched with an established Cornwall-based company or innovator for invaluable mentorship, expert advice and guidance. They will also be given access to a cash award of up to £2,000 for the development of a particular project, or to contribute to a specific piece of equipment that contributes to their career development.

Supporting the Young & Talented Cornwall Spirit of Trevithick Award will be some of Cornwall’s most esteemed professionals from the STEM sector, including Ian Jones, CEO of Goonhilly Space Station, who as Award Curator will chair the panel assessing applications.

Supporting him are Professor Camille Bonneaud, Director of the University’s Environment and Sustainability Institute; John Evans, Principal of Cornwall College; Caitlin Gould, founder of TECwomen; and Matthew Kenworthy Gomes, astrophysicist and CEO of Cornwall Pride.

Chair of Young & Talented Cornwall, Colonel Sir Edward Bolitho, Lord Lieutenant Cornwall, also joins the panel alongside Professor Alan Livingston, former Vice Chancellor of Falmouth University.

Sir Edward said: “The Spirit of Trevithick Award taps into a fresh sense of curiosity and discovery among the county’s youngsters and encourages them to apply their brilliant minds to the future of Cornwall. Through this first-of-its-kind award, we aim to build aspirations in science, technology, engineering and maths and nurture talent which in turn will help develop our ground-breaking industries.”

The first round of the Young & Talented Cornwall Spirit of Trevithick Award is now open to 16 to 23-year-olds, with applications closing in March. For more information, head to