TechFest’s global STEM research and essay competition crowned its champions at a virtual awards ceremony earlier this week.
SPONSORED by Acciona, Energy Resourcing, Ocean Winds, Worley and TechnipFMC, STEM Next is an annual competition open to senior school pupils from across the world and aims to bridge the skills gap between school, higher education, and industry.
Participants carried out their own independent research on a topic of their choice, interviewed an industry professional or academic and then wrote an essay presenting their findings. Entrants also had access to pre-recorded lectures presented by the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University, as well as a series of online seminars to support them through the process.
The ceremony was hosted by TechFest’s digital coordinator, Gabija Blazyte, and STEM lead, Yashka Smith, who handed out prizes in six categories – Medicine & Veterinary Sciences, Space Science, Food, Drink & Agriculture, Biological Sciences, Technology & Innovation and Energy Transition. All the finalists and winners received prizes of Amazon vouchers.
Dr Martha Gavan, education manager at TechFest, said the skills developed as part of the competition can help pupils with future career planning and preparation, including completion of university applications.
“We were so impressed by the high standard of the essays, which covered a wide range of topics from artificial intelligence to potential cures for cancer. The winners clearly spent an incredible amount of time considering their subject and gathering research and interviews before writing their final piece of work, and the judges were impressed.
“A particular highlight for the students was meeting and interviewing the industry professionals and academics. They were able to access and ask questions of these busy people, gaining valuable insight into their careers and areas of specialism. We are extremely grateful to all the people who gave their time to support the participants as well as our sponsors.”
Martha added: “The students were able to explore their interests and bring new ideas to the table and we hope they will take forward the skills they have learned as they move through their chosen career path.”
Each year, TechFest runs the highly popular TechFest Science Festival which attracts tens of thousands of children and adults to a series of STEM-based events in and around Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, as well as a year-round programme of educational events for schools and young people. For more information, please visit www.techfest.org.uk
For more information about TechFest, visit their website at www.techfest.org.uk