1. Home
  2. News
  3. Press releases and latest news
  4. bp launches new Ultimate STEM Challenge with a biodiversity theme

bp launches new Ultimate STEM Challenge with a biodiversity theme

Release date:
22 October 2020
Since 1968 bp has been investing in STEM education in the UK. We have engaged young people in science and engineering by linking the curriculum to careers and inspiring students to take on the challenges of invention and creativity

We rely on the intricate balance between animals and plants to provide us with everything we need to survive and thrive on Earth, but with animal and plant species in decline all over the world, that balance is in danger. So this year’s Ultimate STEM Challenge invites young people across the UK to design an innovative and creative home for nature, using natural and technical solutions, to improve biodiversity in their local area and help to tackle the decline in our native wildlife. This can be in school grounds, at home or in the community.  


The competition comes at a critical time when scientists are telling us that biodiversity loss is one of the greatest threats the world faces alongside climate change, and encourages young people to take action and make a difference. Science is at the heart of how we can all make a positive impact on nature and the environment. 


bp Ultimate STEM Challenge 

A home for nature is a STEM competition and education programme that teaches young people about the critical role biodiversity plays in all our lives. It’s an exciting opportunity for students to reimagine or invent a way of helping to improve local biodiversity. 


Teachers, parents and STEM Club leaders can use the inspiring launch video where wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan explains biodiversity, sets this year’s challenge and inspires students to get involved and make their ideas a reality. 


It’s easy to take part

Simply download the ready-to-go packs with lesson plans, a homework activity and entry forms. Resources are designed for use in socially distanced classrooms, at home and for remote learning.


The free, high quality materials support objectives in the science, geography, design and technology and computing curricula. We want to see a variety of creative ideas and solutions from young people, so now is their chance to take part! Submit all entries by email or freepost by 3 March 2021.

The challenge is open to 9 to 14-year olds across the UK. Entries will be judged in two categories: age 9-11 and age 11-14. Pupils may enter as individuals or teams of 3-4.


There are brilliant prizes up for grabs 

The overall winner will receive £3,000 to spend on creating their home for nature, while the runners up will receive £1,000 each. Achievement certificates – students will feel that they are part of something big!

For full details and resources see: bp.com/ultimatestemchallenge


“We at bp are proud to continue to invest in education in the UK. Initiatives like the Ultimate STEM Challenge help to inspire and raise the aspirations of young people and relate school subjects to future STEM careers," said Jill Anderson, UK schools education manager for bp. “We’re delighted that Michaela Strachan shared such inspiring ideas and explained the importance of biodiversity in the exciting launch video – I really encourage you to watch it and get involved in the challenge!”


Gill Collinson, head of Centre & Partnerships at STEM Learning, said: “STEM Learning is proud to support this year’s Ultimate STEM Challenge. Our vast network of STEM Ambassador volunteers are continuing to support schools and students through virtual engagement, sharing their knowledge and expertise online with resources, projects and challenges. STEM Ambassadors bring a wealth of real-world experience and invaluable insights into the classroom, revealing the pathways young people can take from STEM study to exciting careers. The Ultimate STEM Challenge is the perfect opportunity to create a culture of curiosity and harness imagination.”


About the bp Ultimate STEM Challenge 

bp is a long-term supporter of STEM and continues to encourage and energize every generation; helping them gain a better understanding of how important STEM subjects are now and in the future. Businesses need a steady stream of talented people with a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and maths who will continue to drive progress and innovation and will solve the challenges that humanity will face in the years to come. 

bp’s Ultimate STEM Challenge has been designed to help young people develop their creativity, problem-solving skills and employability by tackling real-world challenges. The competition has been developed based on insights from the ground-breaking ‘Enterprising Science’ research which shows that the more science capital (science-related qualifications, interest, literacy and social contacts) a young person has, the more likely they are to pursue a STEM career.

Notes to editors


Further information about the Ultimate STEM Challenge

Please contact Luke Burley or Natalie Heffner at bpusc@nationalschoolspartnership.com


The Ultimate STEM Challenge

Aimed at students yet to make their GCSE choices, the Ultimate STEM Challenge lays the foundations for younger students considering studying STEM subjects before choosing their subjects.


bp and bp’s commitment to STEM education

bp is an integrated energy business operating in around 80 countries with around 70,000 employees. We provide heat, light and mobility to customers all over the world. Our purpose is reimagining energy for people and our planet with an ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner. We want to help the world get to net zero and improve people’s lives. Read more about our strategy.


For over 50 years, bp has been working to address the STEM skills gap through targeted investment at all levels of education. bp’s early STEM initiatives began as a teaching resource that has since grown into a comprehensive programme contributing to every stage of education, including early years, primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational. Find out more at www.bp.com/STEM.


In order to inspire participating schools to continue running their STEM Clubs and engaging with STEM-based enrichment activities, the bp Educational Service website now has a dedicated STEM Clubs section. This sits alongside a suite of classroom teaching resources developed in response to the research, which seek to further demonstrate that science is for everyone and can be found everywhere. 


About STEM Learning

We support teachers of science, technology, computing and mathematics in working towards our vision that all young people, across the UK, should receive a world-leading STEM education.


We operate the National STEM Learning Centre and Network; providing support locally, through Science Learning Partnerships across England, and partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; the network of STEM Ambassadors; alongside a range of other projects supporting STEM education.


STEM Ambassadors are volunteers from a broad range of jobs and backgrounds who are passionate about inspiring young people to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies and careers. With a community of over 30,000 volunteers, they are an important, free of charge resource for individuals and groups working with young people across the UK. Find out more at www.stem.org.uk.