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New STEM initiative announced to engage young people #BSW19

The British Science Association has today launched a new, national STEM initiative: the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition. It has been developed in partnership with Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and was officially opened for entries this afternoon by Science Minister Chris Skidmore, who was speaking at the Industrial Strategy Science Fair hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Focused around the four Grand Challenges of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, the Competition calls on students to come up with innovative solutions that have the potential to change our future industries, society and the environment.

Through cutting-edge research and ingenious product designs, 11-to-19-year-olds will use science and technology to tackle issues relating to AI & Data, Ageing Society, Clean Growth, and the Future of Mobility.

Attendees at today’s Industrial Strategy Science Fair included teams of students from across the UK, showcasing innovative and inspiring projects that align to the Grand Challenges; demonstrating that these topics, identified by the Government as areas on which the UK can play a leading role, are of interest to young people.

Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Our children will be tomorrow’s scientists, inventors, designers and this competition is an outstanding way to inspire them to design the programmes, build the machines and find the health cures of tomorrow.  From exploring the endless potential of artificial intelligence in UK industries, to reaping the benefits of a cleaner, greener economy, they have the ability to be at the forefront of the discoveries and industries of tomorrow.

“We are committed to seeing innovation continue to flourish. That is why we are investing more than ever in research and development and have committed to raising public and private funding on R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 as part of our Modern Industrial Strategy.”

Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, said: “We know that young people thrive when they are given the opportunity to apply science, technology, engineering and maths to real world issues that are of interest to them. Asking students for their ideas to tackle the priorities of the Industrial Strategy will help them connect with the topics and see the relevance to their lives and futures.

“The BSA is committed to transforming the diversity and inclusivity of science and – through the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition – will ensure that young people from across the UK, especially those traditionally under-represented in science (such as those from low socio-economic status, from certain ethnic backgrounds, and women), are supported in participating in this exciting initiative.”

Entries which meet the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition criteria will also be eligible for the CREST Awards, the BSA’s flagship education scheme that rewards STEM project work and encourages young people to think and behave like scientists and engineers.  

Based on the guiding principles of the CREST Awards, Youth Industrial Strategy Competition projects will be student-led, with a clear Grand Challenge-themed idea at their core. They will also give young people the chance to boost skills such as teamwork and communication as one of the key criteria for the projects is that the students reflect on what they’ve learnt. 

The Competition is now open for entries until November 2019. The finalists will be announced in January 2020 and invited to participate in The Big Bang Competition in March 2020, where a special prize winner in each of the three Youth Industrial Strategy Competition categories (Junior, Intermediate and Senior) will be awarded.

About the British Science AssociationOur vision is a world where science is put at the heart of society and culture. They believe science should be owned by everyone – not just scientists. Their mission is to transform the relationship that 4 million people have with science by 2020, by regenerating the diversity and inclusivity of science; reaching under-served audiences; and increasing the percentage of the UK population who are actively engaged and involved in it. Their programmes encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with, become ambassadors for, and ultimately be empowered to challenge and influence science, whether they work in science or not.  

Established in 1831, the BSA is a registered charity that organises major initiatives across the UK, including British Science Week, the annual British Science Festival, the thought-leadership Huxley Summit event, regional and local events, the CREST Awards and other programmes for young people in schools and colleges. 

About the Youth Industrial Strategy CompetitionA new, national STEM initiative that aims to inspire & challenge young people aged 11-to-19.

Focused around the four Grand Challenges of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, the Competition calls on students to come up with innovative solutions that have the potential to change our future industries, society and the environment.

Students can work on their own or as part of a team to create their own science or technology project based on the Grand Challenges.  

About the CREST AwardsThe British Science Association’s flagship programme for young people; around 30,000 students in the UK gain CREST Awards every year. It is the only nationally recognised accreditation scheme for STEM project work (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, providing science enrichment activities to inspire and engage 5-to-19-year olds.

CREST offers educators an easy-to-run framework for curriculum enhancement, it is widely recognised as a mark of high quality for STEM project work, and is student-led, encouraging young people to take ownership of their own projects. The Awards are well regarded, high quality and a tangible recognition of success. CREST gives students the chance to participate in hands-on science through investigations and enquiry-based learning, supporting them to solve real-life STEM challenges through practical investigation and discussion. 

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