A Strathclyde University student has won a prestigious award after developing a personal alarm that could ensure attack victims get speedy help and boost conviction rates.

Rebecca Pick, 21, won the top prize for undergraduates in Santander bank's Universities Entrepreneurship Awards scheme for the alarm she invented after being distressed to hear the fate of someone who was attacked near her student accommodation in Glasgow.

"She was screaming and screaming but nobody came to help," said Ms Pick.

"It got me thinking you should have something that you could be sure when you activated it you would get a response."

Ms Pick came up with the idea of adding a signalling device to the standard type of noise alarm. This could tell police where an attack was taking place and also send a text to friends and family members of the person wearing it.

After discussing her ideas with the police, she decided to add a microphone that officers could use to monitor and record events. This could provide evidence that might be used in court.

Ms Pick started thinking about the concept in January last year and has made rapid progress towards turning it into a commercial reality since then.

After winning a £5,000 innovation voucher under the Encompass programme, Ms Pick worked with Dr James Irvine of Strathclyde university's department of electronic engineering to develop a prototype alarm.

The resulting product showed enough potential to help the marketing and enterprise student's Pick Protection venture win £60,000 backing from the Gabriel Investments business angel syndicate.

Ms Pick has spent the last few months fine-tuning the alarm, called the Personal Guardian, in readiness to start selling the device later this year.

She believes the company has the potential to become a multi- million pound business.

Pick Protection expects to start accepting pre-orders on the web in September. Ms Pick is finalising the retail price, which she hopes to keep as low as possible.

The award from Santander comes with £5,000 prize money that Ms Pick said would provide a big boost for the marketing budget.

"It's a fantastic accolade. The biggest thing I can get out of it is the credibility it gives the business," said Ms Pick, who was born in York and went to Glen Urquhart High School by Loch Ness.

Santander said judges on the panel, representing several UK universities, business schools and the bank, praised Ms Pick for coming up with a very innovative idea and a good pricing strategy.

The judges highlighted Ms Pick's positive attitude and said her presentation stood out above the rest of the competitors as she provided a clear sales and risk overview.

The fact that she had already managed to raise funds and the £5,000 prize money would cover the shortfall needed to launch the product into the market also impressed the judges.