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New bp Ultimate STEM Challenge competition asks students: what would you reimagine?

28 June 2018
This year the BP Ultimate STEM Challenge is back and it’s even better! For the first time, BP, in partnership with STEM Learning, is inviting UK students aged 11 to 14 to use their STEM skills to tackle one simple challenge: reimagine a solution to a real-life problem

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of BP’s investment in STEM education - since 1968 BP has been helping young people to be more engaged in science and engineering by linking the curriculum to careers and inspiring students to take on the challenges of invention and creativity.


This year the Ultimate STEM Challenge is setting the ultimate challenge to reimagine literally anything using the technology and capability of today. This might be redesigning tools and technology that we have long taken for granted or reinventing something that really could change peoples’ lives for the better.


When developing the competition BP spoke to young people about the problems that they would like to solve and they came up with lots of ideas from the everyday to the extraordinary.


They wanted to improve access to building for wheelchair users, filter out air pollutants with new technology and even make sure everyone gets their fair share of pizza. Some of these ideas are captured in a new launch video which teachers and STEM Club leaders can use to inspire students to get involved and make their ultimate ideas, designs and solutions a reality.


There is also a presentation available with lots of tips and inspiration to encourage students to come up with ideas, introduce the competition and guide them through the process step-by-step.


Whether your idea helps solve a global problem or makes day-to-day life run a bit smoother for people, BP wants to see a variety of creative ideas and solutions from young people across the UK, so now is your chance to take part!



At BP we are proud to be celebrating our 50th anniversary of investing in education in the UK. It’s initiatives like the Ultimate STEM Challenge which have a real impact on the attitudes of young people by raising their aspirations, inspiring them and connecting the dots between school and future STEM careers. Having spoken to young people about what would inspire them when tasked with tackling a real-life problem, they said they wanted the opportunity to be creative, think outside the box and develop their own ideas. That’s why this year, we’re giving them one simple challenge to reimagine something that is relevant to them. The possibilities are endless and will engage students with many different strengths.
Ian Duffy,Head of UK Communications & Community Development for BP



It’s great to see the Ultimate STEM Challenge is encouraging young people to use STEM to find a solution to a problem that they care about, be it a global issue or something which affects their everyday lives. Now in its fifth year, we’re especially excited to see the creative ideas that students come up with, whether big or small, the possibilities of using STEM to make the world a better place are endless. As with previous years, all participating schools can request a STEM Ambassador to support their STEM Club or class during the competition. Our community of over 50,000 volunteer Ambassadors can help to open up a world of opportunities for students by providing invaluable insight into the pathways from STEM study to exciting careers. We strongly encourage all participating schools to take advantage of this free-of-charge opportunity.
Gill Collinson,Head of Centre & Partnerships at STEM Learning



After winning last year’s Ultimate STEM Challenge, Eve, part of the winning team, from Walton Priory School in Staffordshire said:



The best part of our experience was designing and building the prototype to test in the stream. We knew we wanted to be practical and get our hands dirty, but we also loved presenting our project at the Final and meeting all the other competitors.



Students can complete this challenge in a STEM Club, during a collapsed timetable day, in classroom lessons or in their own time.

The deadline for entries is 15 February 2019, with winners receiving a fun day out at the Science Museum in London for the grand final, £1000 to spend on science equipment or field trips, and Science Museum goody bags. All entries shortlisted for the semi-finals will receive a prestigious Bronze Crest Award.


For full details on the competition, access to STEM Ambassadors and to download the free Challenge resources, visit bp.com/ultimatestemchallenge  

Notes to editors

For further information about the Ultimate STEM Challenge, please contact:

Amanda Francis, EdComs, 

+44 (0)20 7401 4033


About the Ultimate STEM Challenge

Aimed at younger secondary school students yet to make their GCSE choices, the Ultimate STEM Challenge builds on the success of the BP Ultimate Field Trip, which has engaged nearly 3,000 UK STEM university students in the past five years, and lays the foundations for younger students considering studying STEM subjects before making their GCSE subject choices.


About BP and BP’s commitment to STEM education

BP is of one of the world's leading international oil and gas companies operating in around 80 countries and employing around 80,000 people. It provides customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants to keep engines moving, and the petrochemicals products used to make everyday items as diverse as paints, clothes and packaging.

For over 45 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.

BP invests £3.25 million each year in STEM-related educational activities in the UK and estimates its resources have reached an estimated 2.8 million UK students over the past five years. 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 receiving 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