Competitions for STEM students

The 2017 Young Scientist Awards is a major project of the Science Teacher’s Association of NSW. Students are challenged to develop a science investigation that can be entered into the BHP Billington Science and Engineering Awards. Ultimately, successful projects have the opportunity to represent Australia at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), held in the USA.

The Young Scientist Awards website has some great resources for STEM teachers, including judging rubrics for assessment of student work. There are three categories of assessment, depending on the type of investigation:

  • Working Scientifically (Science Investigation)
  • Working Technologically (Models and Innovations)
  • Working mathematically (Mathematical Investigations)

Another competition is the ABC Splash “War on Waste” competition which closes on the 25th August.  Students need to identify and research one waste problem identified in ABC TV’s War on Waste and come up with a 90-second pitch for a solution that has been designed using STEAM thinking.  The winner will be interviewed by the ABC about their entry and the interview will be published on ABC Splash. Students film a 90-second pitch that identifies a waste problem, explains why we need to solve it, describes how they are going to solve it and explains their design. The ABC Splash War on Waste digibook provides some resources to assist students and teachers with their entries.

If your students need financial assistance to participate in and/or attend competitions such as these, the Australian Government’s Sponsorship Grants for Student Science Engagement and International Competitions is now open for applications. Through this program, the Government is providing up to $1.6 million in grants in 2017–18 to assist students under the age of 18 to participate in science events including conferences and competitions. This will help them to develop skills and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Under the program, grants of up to $1500 for domestic events and $5000 for international events are available, with up to $20,000 for group applications. Grants may be used to support travel and event registration for opportunities such as attending science fairs, pitching innovations to entrepreneurs and participating in STEM competitions. Applications can be made until the annual funding allocation is exhausted.

The Sponsorship Grants for Student Science Engagement and International Competitions is part of the Government’s Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme to inspire, motivate and cultivate a scientifically-engaged community.

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