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Innovation Challenge


14 January 2013

How would pupils at our local schools meet the challenge as forensic detectives, futuristic journalists, innovative designers and engineers? 

That’s being put to the test in an exciting new programme devised for schools across the Loughborough area.

The Young Innovators Challenge has been created by staff at the Loughborough site of the diversified technology company 3M, in partnership with the Loughborough Echo newspaper.

The schools programme is aimed at encouraging young people to see science, technology, engineering and maths – known as the STEM subjects - as being dynamic and inspiring subjects that can lead to fulfilling and rewarding careers.

And some rewards are instant, with top prizes for the winners of each of the five challenges being set.

Julie Owen, 3M Business Communications manager, says the competition has been specially designed to offer opportunities for pupils of all ages to take part.  “3M has a community programme that supports the teaching of STEM subjects and this competition is in line with that and with the curriculum being taught in the classroom,” she explains.

“It’s been developed with the help of local teachers and the Forensic Science department of De Montfort University in Leicester and is open to more than 80 schools within the catchment area of the Loughborough Echo.

“We are very excited about it and are hoping for a lot of interest among schools and colleges wanting to take part.”

The five challenges for schools to choose are:

The Future Learning Challenge
This is for pupils in Years 5-11 to devise a concept for a classroom of the future, imagining how learning will be delivered in 20 years time.

  • The prizes are a 3M Multi Touch Display Screen with Snowflake Suite software for the school, plus gift vouchers for team members.

Science Detectives Challenge
This is for Years 8-10 to investigate a crime scene scenario at De Montfort University’s Crime Scene House and Forensic Laboratory. They will make forensic observations and collect samples for analysis at school to help pinpoint the guilty suspect.

  • The prizes are two Apple iPads and two digital microscopes for the school, plus gift vouchers for team members.

Make it Move Challenge
This is for Years 3-6 to design and construct a model vehicle, using only materials from a given list, which can travel unaided over the greatest distance.

  • The prizes are £1,500 worth of LEGO or K’NEX construction equipment for the school plus gift vouchers for team members.

Tomorrow’s News Challenge
This is for Years 12-13 to write a 500-word news report in a newspaper style on a scenario, set in 2035, involving the spread of a poisonous hybrid flower throughout the area.  It illustrates that communicating about science and technology can be as important as the discovery process.

  • The prize is a week’s work placement at the Loughborough Echo and to see the article printed in the newspaper, as well as receiving a gift voucher.

Mobile App Challenge
This is for Years 12-13 to design a concept for a new and unique mobile app to help people better manage or improve their health.

  • There are up to four one-week work placements for the winners with the 3M e-Marketing team at Loughborough, together with gift vouchers. 

The Young Innovators Challenge was launched at a special event held at 3M’s Morley Street offices in Loughborough on Thursday, 10 January.  Attending were a number of headteachers and heads of STEM subjects from local schools and colleges.

The closing date for entries is Friday, 22 March for all the challenges except for the Science Detectives – the closing date for that is Friday, 8 February.

Judging will take place in April with a presentation evening on 26 April at the Henry Ford College in Loughborough, where the prizes will be presented by Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan.

Full details can be found at the website www.3M.co.uk/younginnovators

3M is a trademark of the 3M Company.


For further information please contact
Julie Owen
3M Business Communications Manager
Tel:  01509 613372
Email:  jowen1@mmm.com