School students around the world compete to tackle the SDGs
In accordance with one of its key priorities of encouraging STEM engagement from an early age and SDG 4, Imperial College has established a Schools Science and Innovation Competition which drives students to design solutions for specific SDGs.
This competition, run by the Faculty of Natural Sciences, was initially designed for London based schools, but soon became popular across the UK and then attracted entrants from around the world including China, India, Thailand and the USA.
Since 2018, the competition has been designed to emphasise innovations which specifically align to the SDGs. Teams of secondary school students select an SDG and create a novel idea to help tackle the SDG. Each team then submits a film depicting their idea and also has the opportunity to create a prototype. Six teams are then selected from approximately 150 entries from across the world to present their idea in person at Imperial College in London. The entries are judged in a Dragon’s Den style format by esteemed judges, who for past competitions have included Professor Lord Robert Winston.
Winning ideas include “Aqua Power”, submitted by a team from Ashmole Academy in Southgate, UK, which focused on hydropower generation aligning to SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy). A team from Pui Ching Middle School in Macau were successful the following year with their “Zinc-air batteries”, also aligning to SDG 7.
Competition organiser and Faculty Education Manager, Becky Middleton, states “I am always amazed by the creativity and ingenuity of the ideas that the teams come up with to meet the sustainable development goals. It is an absolute privilege to be able to run the competition, to see such interest in science and innovation from young people across the world, and their genuine passion and enthusiasm for making a difference.