STEM competition launched to inspire the next generation of budding engineers, scientists and environmentalists

The Bristol-based National Composites Centre (NCC) is launching an exciting virtual poster competition open to all Year 8 students (aged 12-13) across the UK to inspire the next generation of budding engineers, scientists, environmentalists and sustainability policy experts.

The winning team will be announced at a virtual national final in February 2021, and they’ll have the opportunity to visit the NCC in Bristol in the future to take part in our interactive ‘Introduction to Composites’ course where they’ll learn more about the incredible properties of composites, how they’re made, and why they’re so important in our everyday lives. They will also get to make their very own product from composites.

The competition is part of Sustainable Composites – a partnership between the NCC and CPI, two of seven centres from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult - to develop the next generation of sustainable composite materials and bring together the UK’s composites expertise to quickly turn research breakthroughs into industrial applications.

Francesca Andrews, Learning and Development Advisor at the NCC, said: “This is an exciting competition that will get young students thinking about the ways we can all reduce our negative impact on the environment, as well as raising awareness of sustainability, STEM and the role of composite materials. Now more than ever, we need to develop our scientists of the future.

“The great thing about the competition is that it can all be done online, now that we find ourselves in another lockdown, but it’s also a really fun and creative learning activity for them which we hope will be welcomed. Classmates can get together on Zoom or other platforms to talk through their design ideas too.”

For the competition, the students need to imagine that the year is 2121 and Earth is close to becoming inhabitable due to the effects of climate change. A group of scientists have identified a new planet which has ideal conditions to support life which they’ve named ‘SusCom’. Their task is to design a city for the first humans to inhabit. They will need to think about where to locate their city, how they will source food and water, how energy will be supplied, and what they will do with their waste.

Students will have access to a 30-minute online talk with an expert from the NCC to help them with their poster design.

The submission deadline is Friday 5th February 2021, with the final taking place on Wednesday 17th March 2021. All submissions will hear back at the end of February whether they will be invited to the final. The posters will be assessed by a judging panel consisting of engineers from the NCC and CPI. The judges will be looking for clear, informative posters which detail how the students made their decisions.  Students should consider how composites can help their new city.

Posters should include pictures and text. 

If you have any questions, please contact


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