Young scientists can apply now to win £5000 while helping clean the oceans

  • Registration is open now for an international competition that gives students the opportunity to win £5000 for development of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths] education in their school, college or university.

    Working as a project team with the support of a teacher or lecturer, students aged 7-21 have to think of innovative tech solutions to help clean up the world’s waterways and oceans.

    The competition was launched at the Royal Instiution of London last month by the British International Education Association (BIEA).

    Inspiration comes from projects such as The Ocean Cleanup, a giant arm sitting on the surface of the ocean clearing up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is is a large system of ocean currents circulation rubbish particles in the north central Pacific Ocean.

    This year’s competition was given a royal boost with a visit by HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall to the BIEA headquarters at London’s Granville Centre.

    RELATED: QUB research to investigate the health effects of plastics

    CEO Nicky Collins introduced her to Harris, a two-metre long whale made of discarded plastic bottles in memory of the sperm whale that was found dead on the Scottish Isle of Harris in Scotland last December with 100kg of plastic in its stomach.

    The visit coincided with the 50th anniversary of an impassioned speech made by the Prince of Wales about plastic waste. He’s since said that at the time he was “considered old-fashioned, out of touch and anti-science for warning of such things”.

    RELATED: The 5p carrier bag charge is paying for £2.2million in environmental projects

    BIEA’s STEM Chairman David Hanson said: “Young scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians can think outside the box and could invent extraordinary solutions to the global problem of plastic pollution.”

    Teams from 45 countries have already signed up to take part in 2020 including students from the UK, USA, Australia, China, Finland, Mexico, Pakistan, UAE, India, Malaysia, Nigeria and Poland.

    Finalists will be invited to a grand international event in London on 1 July 2020, where they will also take part in an international plastic clean-up.

    In the first stage of the competition, teams must submit written via email by 31 March 2020 at 5pm (UTC).

    RELATED: QUB polymer processing researchers pioneer new technique to transform single use plastics

    For more information and full details about the STEM Youth Innovation Competition visit or follow BIEA @BIEAeducation on social media.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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