The judges of school science competition the Bright Spark Awards have challenged pupils in Kent to come up with projects to rival the ingenuity of 2018’s overall winners.

And Bright Spark organiser, the KM Charity Team, has urged schools not to be put off from entering by fears that their projects are not sufficiently ambitious.

Awards coordinator Hannah Hawksworth stressed that entries can continue to be tweaked and modified once entered, but would only be in the running if they are received by May 31.

She said:

“The whole point of the Bright Spark awards is they give young people the opportunity to get excited about science, technology, engineering and maths by putting their knowledge of and enthusiasm for these subjects to practical effect.

And it’s often those ideas that seem the most simple that can be the most effective.”

Last year, the competition was won by Zubair Asim and Kevin John from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury.

They impressed the judges with a project designed to improve earthquake prediction by monitoring ambient radiation.

Speaking after the announcement of the pair’s win, Zubair said:

“It feels amazing to come up with this idea and then to progress it massively into something that has massive potential for the future for earthquake detection.”

Now the search is on to find projects of a similar scope for the 2019 awards, and schools are being encouraged to get their pupils to start working on their entries now.

The Bright Spark Awards encourage teams of pupils to use cross-curricular skills in maths, IT, science and engineering in innovative and creative initiatives.

They are open to primary and secondary schools, and there are three categories: innovation, investigation and invention.

The finalists will be invited to a Dragons’ Den-style awards event at Discovery Park in Sandwich in July, during which videos detailing their projects will be shown before they are quizzed by the judges.

Judges from Atkins Global, Megger, Global Associates, Pfizer, Discovery Park, BAE Systems, The ITL Group, EduKit, Highways England and Golding Vision will present a range of prizes, with the overall champions receiving £500.

Ms Hawksworth said:

“Zubair and Kevin set the bar extremely high last year with their earthquake project, and everybody involved in organising and judging the awards was bowled over by what they came up.

I hope other young people with an interest in Stem subjects can use their achievement as an inspiration.”

Submit entries and find out more about the competition at https://www.kmcharityteam.co.uk/schools/brightspark/.

Alternatively, contact event coordinator Hannah Hawksworth at hhawksworth@thekmgroup.co.uk or on 0844 264 0291.