Around 80 high school students have been flexing their creative muscles at a prestigious event hosted by the University of Sunderland to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians and medics.
Year 8 and 9 pupils from eight schools across the North-East took part in the Tyne and Wear Science and Technology Challenge Day at the University’s St Peter’s campus.
Working in teams, pupils tried their hand at programming a robot, building an electric vehicle and taking on the role of a doctor diagnosing medical conditions suffered by a simulated patient.
Teams also took part in an E-Fit challenge, which tasked them with using the latest E-Fit 6 facial recognition software (as used by 90% of UK police forces) to create criminal photo-fit images after witnessing a dramatised theft.
Science and Technology Challenge Days are held annually at colleges and universities around the country and are organised by MCS Projects Ltd.
The regional competitions aim to raise enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) subjects and encourage young people to consider studying them at college or university.
Throughout the day, pupils completed three of the four challenges, each lasting for 75 minutes.
Plaques are awarded to the winners for each activity, and the overall winners received trophies.
The overall winning team from each event go on to compete in a regional Final.
His Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant, Ms Margaret Fay CBE, attended the event to watch the challenges and present prizes to the winners.
She said: “It was really inspirational to see the kind of work and experiments the students were attempting. I wish it had been like that in my day.”
Schools taking part in the Science and Technology Challenge Day were Christ’s College, Marden High School, Red House Academy, Sacred Heart Catholic High School, St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School, St Robert of Newminster, Walker Riverside Academy and St Wilfrid’s R.C. College.
Kevin Mali is a Secondary PGCE (Physics) student at the University and is currently on placement at St Wilfrid’s.
He said: “The activities are really engaging and cover all aspects of science. The different challenges are also relevant to what the students are studying in their science classes at school.”
This is now the fifth year the University of Sunderland has hosted the Science and Technology Challenge Day for the North-East region.
Sir David Bell, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “It is more important than ever for young people at secondary school to understand the opportunities that exist in the areas of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine – the STEMM subjects.
“Encompassing areas as diverse as biosciences and drug discovery, robotics, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, vehicle engineering, advanced mathematics and medical sciences and technology – to name but a few – the STEMM subjects offer the chance to study valued and valuable degrees.
“They also lead to high-prestige and socially worthwhile careers that make our world a better place.
“I am delighted that, yet again, the University of Sunderland is hosting MCS Projects’ Science and Technology Challenge Day, and I thank them warmly for all that they are doing to promote the STEMM subjects in schools.”