John Whittingdale MP attended the SET for Britain event in the House of Commons to meet Dr Zoe Barker, one of the finalists who lives in Maldon. SET for Britain is the major scientific competition and exhibition in Parliament to highlight the work of Britain’s Early-Stage Researchers in Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematical Sciences.

Dr Barker, who is a post doctoral research assistant at Writtle College, was one of the finalists in the Bioscience section with her colleague, Dr Jorge Vazquez Diosdado of Essex University. Dr Barker and Dr Vazquez Diosdado have been developing a method of Early-Automatic Detection of Welfare Problems in Dairy Cows by using a tracker device to monitor the behaviour of individual cows in order to provide early warning of behaviour which may indicate health or welfare problems. Around 270 applicants entered for the Biology and Biomedical Sciences category and Dr Marker and Dr Vazquez Diosdado were one of the 60 short-listed.

John Whittingdale is pictured with Dr Barker and Dr Vazquez Diosdado in front of their poster explaining their work. John Whittingdale said:”I warmly congratulate Zoe and Jorge on making it through to the finals of the SET for Britain Competition. The pioneering work that they are doing offers real benefits to dairy farmers and is a great example of the quality of research and innovation being carried out by our young scientists in Essex”.