Pupils from schools across the North-east have been set a new challenge this year as part of TechFest’s annual STEM in the Pipeline initiative.

They have been invited to take part in the first ever Energising the Transition Essay Competition, developed by TechFest in response to the current restrictions in place because of the pandemic.

Open to all S5 and S6 students, the essay is a solo research project for individual pupils. Students will be asked to research a topic or question related to the energy industry, covering any area they choose.

As part of their research they will have to carry out an interview with at least one industry professional. Participants will be given a database of professionals and their areas of expertise, although they can also make their own connections.

The submissions will be judged by a panel of industry experts from various fields and prizes will be awarded for the top three essays. Pupils who take part in STEM in the Pipeline will also be eligible for the Silver CREST Award, Britain’s national award scheme for work in STEM subjects.

Martha Gavan, TechFest STEM lead, said: “Due to circumstances, and following discussion with teachers and the local authorities, it was clear that we would have to put the traditional STEM in the Pipeline on hold for this year.

“We’ve used this opportunity to design this new challenge that incorporates many of the aspects we love about STEM in the Pipeline, but in a format more sympathetic to current conditions. There is no rigid requirement as to the structure of the essay, but good submissions will include clear arguments, referenced sources, illustrations and possibly case histories.

“We hope that STEM in the Pipeline 2021 will return in its usual format, refreshed, updated and better than ever, but we also see potential for expanding and growing the essay challenge as an ongoing project in the future.”

Pupils have until September 13 to register for the competition and the deadline for submissions is November 9. Winners will be announced at the start of December.

TechFest is an Aberdeen-based charity which aims to engage young people in the four main STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and encourage them to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day to day life.

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