BP Ultimate STEM Challenge returns for 2018

This year, the STEM skills challenge held in partnership with STEM Learning asks, ‘what would you reimagine?’

The BP Ultimate STEM Challenge is back and it’s even better! For the first time, BP, in partnership with STEM Learning, is inviting UK students aged 11 to 14 to use their STEM skills to tackle one simple challenge: reimagine a solution to a real-life problem.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of BP’s investment in STEM education. Since 1968 BP has been helping young people to be more engaged in science and engineering by linking the curriculum to careers and inspiring students to take on the challenges of invention and creativity.

This year the Ultimate STEM Challenge is setting the ultimate challenge to reimagine literally anything using the technology and capability of today. This might be redesigning tools and technology that we have long taken for granted, or reinventing something that really could change peoples’ lives for the better.

When developing the competition, BP spoke to young people about the problems that they would like to solve, and they came up with lots of ideas from the everyday to the extraordinary. 

They wanted to improve access to building for wheelchair users, filter out air pollutants with new technology and even make sure everyone gets their fair share of pizza. Some of these ideas are captured in a new launch video which teachers and STEM Club leaders can use to inspire students to get involved and make their ultimate ideas, designs and solutions a reality.

There is also a presentation available with lots of tips and inspiration to encourage students to come up with ideas, introduce the competition and guide them through the process step-by-step. 

Whether your idea helps solve a global problem or makes day-to-day life run a bit smoother for people, BP wants to see a variety of creative ideas and solutions from young people across the UK, so now is your chance to take part!

We knew we wanted to be practical and get our hands dirty, but we also loved presenting our project at the final and meeting all the other competitors. – Eve, member of last year’s winning team

Gill Collinson, Head of Centre & Partnerships at STEM Learning said: “It’s great to see the Ultimate STEM Challenge is encouraging young people to use STEM to find a solution to a problem that they care about, be it a global issue or something which affects their everyday lives. Now in its fifth year, we’re especially excited to see the creative ideas that students come up with, whether big or small, the possibilities of using STEM to make the world a better place are endless.”

“As with previous years, all participating schools can request a STEM Ambassador to support their STEM Club or class during the competition. Our community of over 50,000 volunteer ambassadors can help to open up a world of opportunities for students by providing invaluable insight into the pathways from STEM study to exciting careers. We strongly encourage all participating schools to take advantage of this free-of-charge opportunity.”

After winning last year’s Ultimate STEM Challenge, Eve, part of the winning team, from Walton Priory School in Staffordshire said:“The best part of our experience was designing and building the prototype to test in the stream. We knew we wanted to be practical and get our hands dirty, but we also loved presenting our project at the final and meeting all the other competitors.”

Students can complete this challenge in a STEM Club, during a collapsed timetable day, in classroom lessons or in their own time. 

The deadline for entries is 15 February 2019, with winners receiving a fun day out at the Science Museum in London for the grand final, £1000 to spend on science equipment or field trips, and Science Museum goody bags. All entries shortlisted for the semi-finals will receive a prestigious Bronze Crest Award.

For full details on the competition, access to STEM Ambassadors and to download the free Challenge resources, visit bp.com/ultimatestemchallenge