The 3M Young Innovators Challenge has been created to inspire the next generation of original thinkers and encourage pupils to consider careers based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

The challenge has been run in the Loughborough, Leicestershire, area in partnership with the town’s local newspaper since 2013 and this year the contest has been extended to schools across the Bracknell Forest and Wokingham district in Berkshire, home to 3M’s head office in the UK.

During the week, more than 130 students from 13 primary and secondary schools will be presenting their entries for judging in four Young Innovators challenges.

These include the Tower Tech Challenge for secondary school pupils – which has been developed by Dr Alessandro Palmeri and Dr Mariateresa Lombardo, senior lecturers at the School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University – and the Canyon Crossing Challenge developed by principal 3M project engineer, Chris Bishop, for primary school children to build a bridge that is as light and strong as possible.

In addition, an Eco Tech challenge tasks primary school children with making a musical instrument from recycled materials and secondary school pupils with creating an item of furniture using recycled or sustainable materials.

Two additional categories run solely in the Loughborough area are a Super Food Challenge and a Science Detectives Challenge.

The Bracknell competition is being run in partnership with the organisation Learning to Work. Managing director Rachael Burt commented: “We are delighted to be working with 3M on this new project. We have been running annual maths competitions for primary and secondary schools in the district for some years, but the Young Innovators Challenge is definitely something different.”

Prizes will be presented by Dr Phillip Lee, the MP for Bracknell, at an awards ceremony on 27 May.

Loughborough’s 2017 Young Innovators Challenge is again being supported by the Loughborough Echo and the Loughborough Learning Alliance.

So far, the challenge has attracted 158 teams from a record 38 schools. Judging for the Loughborough competition takes place in May and the prize-giving ceremony is on 23 June with Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan as guest of honour.


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