Breaking news from World Water Week

UK teenager honoured at prestigious Stockholm Junior Water Prize 

A teenager from Francis Holland School has wowed an international jury to land second place in the international Stockholm Junior Water Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious awards for young water scientists aged 14-20, at Sweden’s annual World Water Week.

Diana Virgovicova, aged 17, travelled to Sweden to represent the UK, having won the national final of the competition, which is run by CIWEM, with an exciting project that uses quantum chemistry to synthesise a new photocatalyst to clean polluted water under visible, rather than UV light.

Diana’s originality and commitment impressed the Stockholm Junior Water Prize judges, who awarded her a diploma of excellence. She received her diploma from patron of the award HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at the prestigious ceremony last night.

The judges said “Diana has solved a long-lasting challenge by opening new windows in using fundamental science combined with the most recent technics within chemistry to formulate a novel molecule with high potential in promising future water treatment“.

This year’s Junior Water Prize winner is Macinley Butson from Australia, who beat stiff competition from 55 other students, working alone or in pairs, from 35 countries. All the Stockholm finalists had won national competitions to represent their country at the final during World Water Week.

The range of project topics and ingenious solutions that the 2019 finalists presented highlights the breadth of issues facing the world’s water resources – as well as the passion and drive of young people determined to solve these challenges. As winner Macinley Butson told last night’s award ceremony: “Everyone here is doing so many amazing things, I feel confident the future is in good hands.”

Macinley won this year’s event for her invention, the SODIS sticker, which accurately measures how much solar UV radiation you need to sanitise water for drinking.

CIWEM, as organiser of the UK Junior Water Prize, extends huge congratulations to both Diana and Macinley. Entering the UK Junior Water Prize helps young people to develop their skills in research, planning, writing and presentation. And the winner gets to represent the UK at the international competition in Sweden, for a week long visit joining other young scientists from all over the world in inspiring symposiums, work experience opportunities and the all-important final judging event.

CIWEM would like to thank the UK Junior Water Prize competition sponsors, the Environment Agency and Jacobs, for their generous support. Together, our three organisations share our view that investing in future generations is imperative to supporting and developing tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and specialists.

The UK Junior Water Prize is now open for entries for the 2020 competition. If you know students with a passion for solving the world’s water problems, please promote the competition to them. To find out more about the UK Junior Water Prize please visit our website. If you would like to support the competition, we would love to hear from you. Please contact

For press enquiries please contact Vicky Harris on

Share this article

Become a member

Whether you are studying, actively looking to progress your career, or already extensively experienced, our membership will add value and recognition to your achievements. We can actively help you progress throughout your career.

Become a member

View our events

We organise a wide portfolio of UK and international thought leading events, providing an industry recognised forum for debate, CPD and sector networking. These events also support our policy work and inform key initiatives.

View our events