Girls from Worthing have won top prizes in the British Science Association’s national Youth Grand Challenges competition.
Blaise Cloran, 14, won the gold category with her project on reducing the risk of hepatitis in developing countries.
Isabel Clack and Beth Hoare, also 14, won the bronze category with their project on improving period sanitation for girls in developing countries.
The competition was launched by Bill Gates in October last year to encourage young people aged 11 to 19 to use science and technology to help solve global health and development challenges.
Blaise, a student at Our Lady of Sion School, wowed the judges with her innovative project, in which she developed a quicker and more efficient method for diagnosing hepatitis in developing countries.
She took the existing ELISA test and combined it with silk fibroin to create a cheap and quick tool that can be easily transported, without needing refrigeration, and does not need to be administered by a trained professional.
Blaise was able to explain her project to Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, when he visited the school as part of UK Parliament Week.
Isabel and Beth, who are students at Davison CE High School, wanted to find a way to help girls in India when they hit puberty and tackle the huge drop-out rate in education due to poor period sanitation.
They created a kit which includes a pair of knickers fitted with a plastic sleeve, six washable cotton pads and a template to make more, and a washable, discreet bag to carry everything.
Katherine Mathieson, chief executive of the British Science Association, said: “I’d like to extend my congratulations to Blaise, Isabel and Beth for winning their categories of the Youth Grand Challenges competition.
“Both of their projects are very impressive and was clearly the result of hours of hard work.”
Blaise will receive a £1,500 travel bursary to continue her studies, while Isabel and Beth will receive a day’s field trip with Anturus Team to experience life as a field scientist.
Katherine added: “I wish Blaise every success in the future and I hope that this competition acts as a catalyst for her to take this test to the next stage of development.”
Davison students Natasha Brown and Amy Bickers, both 14, were also finalists in the bronze category.