National Science + Engineering Competition 2011-12
To recognise and reward the achievements of the UK's best young scientists and engineers, and therefore inspire other secondary students and their parents & teachers
To identify the UK's best young scientists and engineers through regional heats and online entry
To hold a national final to award prizes in age and subject categories
To inspire visitors to the Big Bang fair by showcasing the finalists' project work
Summary of activity:
Generated entries via regional heats and an online entry form. Selected 200 projects as finalists to showcase their projects at the 3-day Big Bang Fair in London in March 2012. Projects were judged by approx 100 professional scientists and engineers for a wide range of prizes, many sponsored by learned bodies and companies. The project is managed by the British Science Association in close partnership with Big Bang CIC and Young Engineers.
We used specific questions on entry forms to monitor demographic data from entrants. We surveyed satisfaction and impact via post-event electronic surveys of competitors, the adults who accompanyed them to the finals and the expert judges. We also had several de-briefing sessions with suppliers and partners.
What went well:
1. Participating in the competition had a positive effect on finalists views of STEM
2. Participating in the competition had a positive effect on the expert judges (professional scientists & engineers from academia and industry)
3. Recent improvements to the operational management of the competition finals largely worked very well
What was learned:
1. Our online information and registration systems need to be more user-friendly.
Top tips and advice for others