BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition officially open

On the 15th of January 2019, the 2nd annual International STEM Youth Innovation Competition was officially opened at a ceremony at London’s prestigious Royal Institution (RI). The British International Education Association (BIEA) alongside its partner, the Born Free Foundation (BFF) announced the competition before an audience made up of educators, STEM professionals, members of industry and invited dignitaries. Working with the support of the British Science Association (BSA), the Royal Institution (RI), Engineering UK and the Royal Airforce Museum (RAF Museum), BIEA called out for students around the world to get involved and sign up to take part.

Participating in the forum were prominent organisations such as the Department for International Trade (DiT), Embassy of China, the Born Free Foundation, Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), New Scientist, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the British Council, Microsoft, Tata Consultancy Services and more. Nearly 20 media outlets attended the conference including the BBC, China Daily, National Geographic, The Week, Computer Weekly and the European Times.

The conference featured presentations by Dr Joshua Veitch-Michaelis (researcher) on machine learning and drone technology and its applications to wildlife observation, Dr Alex Holmes (Head of STEM) from BIEA on how to teach STEM skills, Melissa Schiele on the use of water landing drones and marine conservation and final presentation by Dr Liz Greengrass (Head of Conservation) and Howard Jones (CEO) on the work of the Born Free Foundation and their use of technology in conservation. The second half of the event featured a panel discussion based around how to engage young people in STEM careers and featured Sarah Hedley (National Skills Lead) Microsoft, Dr Shaun Fitzgerald Director of the Royal Institution, Jane Dowden (Education Innovation Manager) from the British Science Association (BSA) and Adrian Fenton (Science Advisor: STEM and Public Engagement) from the British Council. The discussion was moderated by Penny Sarchet (News Editor) New Scientist Magazine. The general consensus of the panel was the STEM outreach activities from organisations like Microsoft, the RI and the BSA (amongst others) have had a positive impact in allowing young people to have fun whilst they engage with role models from industry and finding out about STEM careers in the real world. It was generally agreed that the fun part of STEM school-based activities should be recognised as translating into potentially ‘fun’ careers for those with a STEM background.  The panel also agreed that parents and teachers needed to be kept updated with the eclectic mix of jobs and careers that come with a STEM background – careers that are not, in the words of Jane Dowden, “just teaching and research” for science graduates. Finally, it was agreed that alongside inspiration, activities should also encourage aspiration for young people to engage with STEM opportunities.

The theme of the 2019 competition is fighting extinction through technology and aims to inspire students around the world to use their STEM skills to solve global problems. With Bornfree Foundation as BIEA’s partner in Over 57 student teams from 13 countries have already pre-registered for the 2019 event and BIEA looks forward to welcoming even more as the registration phase will continue until the 31st of March 2019.

The competition was officially launched after a speech by Geoff Gladding, Head of Education at the Department for International Trade who thanked BIEA for helping British education leave a footprint around the world. Second, to speak Wang Yongli, Minister Councillor for Education at the Chinese Embassy who spoke about the difficulties encountered by the Chinese approach to STEM and how to improve it through creativity, he hoped that the competition would provide an opportunity for young people from the world including China to better engage in STEM and build new friendships. Finally, both Mr Gladding and Mr Wang 

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took part in the final ribbon cutting ceremony in which BIEA STEM Chair David Hanson announced the competition officially open alongside Gareth Bullock (President of BIEA), Laura Gosset (Head of Education) from the Born Free Foundation and Andrew Holmes OBE.

BIEA received a fantastic reaction across its social media channels including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with support coming from The Week Junior, Science + Nature Magazine and guests including ex-MP Neil Carmichael and STEM Learning Regional Lead for London & South-East Ajay Sharman.

BIEA hopes to nurture STEM skills and passions in students globally to tackle the ever-growing skills gap between the number of STEM graduates and the number of STEM jobs that need to be filled. With a majority of global economies investing heavily in STEM education and related industries, it has never been more important for young people to get involved and build a passion for STEM. Working specifically with drone technology, the competition will help students build an appreciation for STEM as they work to solve the pressing issue of how to protect endangered animals from the threat of extinction. Students will work across a multidisciplinary set of challenges between the launch of the competition and the final event on the 4th of July 2019, including report writing, design and construction, presenting, editing, research and technical skills. Through the competition, students will increase their teamwork, independent research and critical thinking skills as well as see the applications of STEM outside of the classroom.

Students will have the chance to meet their peers from around the world at the final event which will take place on the 4th of July at the RAF Museum in London. They will have the chance to show off their work to expert judges and members of the public as well as to fly drones through an obstacle course and be in with a chance to win the £5000 grand-prize. All students taking part will also be eligible for the silver Crest Award from the British Science Association.

Can you save a species through technology? Sign your team up today and create a future that we want to visit.

At the time of publication, 68 teams from 54 schools had successfully pre-registered from 17 countries.

BIEA forms partnership with the Born Free Foundation

The British International Education Association united with the Born Free Foundation to sign a partnership contact during the launch event of the second annual BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition on the 15th of January 2019 at the Royal Institution in London.

With its background as a leading voice for the protection of animals in the wild and the rehabilitation of those who have been through captivity, the Born Free Foundation is a natural choice of partner for advising on the wildlife specific angle of the 2019 competition and beyond. BIEA hopes to inspire young people from around the world to work together to use technology and STEM skills to solve pressing global problems such as the extinction of vulnerable animal species. The Born Free Foundation provides an invaluable source of expertise when it comes to the application of technology to monitor and protect endangered animals around the world.

The cooperation agreement was signed by BIEA President Brendan Wignall and Born Free CEO Howard.

Jones with the aim of ultimately helping the education of young people across STEM disciplines and to promote the protection of wildlife on a global level.  In 2019 BIEA and the Born Free Foundation will be producing the BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition with the theme of fighting extinction through technology. Students will be challenged to use drone technology to find a way to help monitor and protect endangered species around the world. The competition officially launched after the two organisations signed the formal partnership agreement and the registration phase will stay open until the 31st of March 2019. BIEA is proud to announce that prior to the official launch it had already received applications from 58 teams representing over 13 countries and regions through its pre-registration process.

BIEA believes that cooperating with the Born Free Foundation will add incalculable value to the 2019 competition and add some of the world’s leading wildlife experts to judge the feasibility of work created by the students. BIEA looks forward to working closely with the Born Free Foundation and to continue to deepen and strengthen their relationship into the future.

Can technology save a species from extinction? Get involved in the 2019 International STEM Youth Innovation Competition and find out.

About BIEA

The British International Education Association exists to promote and export the best British educational practices overseas. BIEA is a not for profit organisation which works to promote STEM and early-years educational practices to overseas teachers and institutions. BIEA has been promoting EYFS education across China and had found considerable success in getting overseas institutions to switch to British style practice. BIEA also runs the International STEM Youth Innovation Competition which aims to promote STEM education and careers for young people all over the world.

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About the Born Free Foundation

Born Free’s mission is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Born Free opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.

Born Free promotes Compassionate Conservation to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs of and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals. Born Free seeks to have a positive impact on animals in the wild and protect their ecosystems in perpetuity, for their own intrinsic value and for the critical roles they play within the natural world.

For more information about Born Free please visit

Left to right: Laura Gosset, Yongli Wang, Geoff Gladding, Gareth Bullock, Andy Holmes

Left to right: Sarah Hedley (Microsoft), Dr Fitzgerald (Ri), Jane Dowden (BSA), Adrian Fenton (British Council), Penny Sarchet (New Scientist)

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