Six online STEM competitions to enter during the pandemic

This blog post was written by recent UWE graduate Roisin Dowding

STEM competitions are a fantastic way for you to get involved in scientific and environmental activities, with like-minded individuals taking part across the globe. Not only that but STEM competitions are great for socialising, showcasing your unique scientific ideas, and preparing you for the world of work – and all during a pandemic. STEM competitions mix fun activities with advanced learning. You could win a prize, too!

Below is a list of six exciting UK-based and international STEM competitions for you to enter in the first six months of this pandemic year.

1. Bristol Science Film Competition 2021

The diverse and cultural city of Bristol, UK, has announced its annual STEM competition, which blends science and the arts to create a very unique opportunity. Bristol Science Film Festival is asking for a ten-minute long science fact or fiction film, based on any theme. Amateurs, specifically students or hobbyists, can send in their films online and be in for a chance to have their work virtually screened, alongside professional film makers! Applications close 1 May 2021.

2. The Big Bang Competition

The Big Bang Competition is a vibrant challenge that explores all areas surrounding science, technology, engineering and maths. Targeted at individuals in full-time education aged 11 to 19, it is perfect for discovering different and varied academic ideas. The Big Bang Competition provides students with the chance to build their STEM skills through project- based work. Not only could you be in for the chance to win the title of GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year, but this is a wonderful opportunity to greatly enhance your potential towards your future career! Online applications close late March 2021, with the finals commencing in Summer 2021. Good luck, and start the year with a bang!

3. The UK Junior Water Prize

Aimed at youths aged 15-20, this competition requires applicants in full-time education to work towards solving an environmental issue related to water. Competitors must research a practical solution and perform experiments. If successful, you will be offered the chance to represent your school in Sweden and win an immense cash prize! But, more importantly, you will be contributing to tackling vital environmental issues. Applications close 28 May 2021.

4. Intel ISEF

Celebrated in nearly every state in North America and in over 70 countries, the world’s most popular international pre-college science competition is open for applications. To take part in this well-known yearly event, participants must first register themselves in a regional affiliated Intel ISEF Science fair. These fairs, held online for 2021, are available internationally and in the US. They are held from January to March each year, so if you are interested, why not check to see if there is an online fair in your region? Participants must be a 9th to 12th grade student to compete, with the winners making it to the international finals. If you have a passion for science and engineering, this competition is perfect for fuelling your abilities as a young competitor, on a global scale. This is not one to miss!

5. MathWorks Math Modelling Challenge

This popular high school STEM competition is now accepting applicants from the United States and the UK. This competition is aimed at sixth form students in England and Wales, and high school juniors and seniors in the US. Students participating in groups must use their mathematical modelling skills to successfully complete a real-world problem, unknown until the competition day. Judged by more than 125 PhD-level applied mathematicians, this is a great opportunity for you and your friends to prove that you can contribute to the field of mathematics. The winning teams receive varying scholarship prizes between $5,000-$20,000. Registration close on 19 February, 2021. Good luck!

6. Spellman Clean Tech Competition

The Spellman Clean Tech Competition is a global event currently searching for the next generation of environmental innovators. This year, the competition is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the theme, “Preserving Planet Earth.” This is a unique opportunity for aspiring engineers and scientists from around the world to compete by constructing a meaningful and advanced piece of technology, aimed at preserving the planet. There is also a grand prize of $10,000 in contribution to your design! Applications close 21 April, 2021.