The Bright Ideas Challenge

The Bright Ideas Challenge, Shell’s free cross-curricular schools’ competition for 11-14 years asks students to consider an energy problem that will face cities in 2050. Enter the competition before Friday 21st May and you could win up to £10,000 for your school, high-tech goodie bags and action-packed educational experiences!

Spark your students’ interest in STEM

By 2050 about two thirds of the world’s inhabitants will live in cities. More energy will be needed to light buildings, produce food, heat our homes and fuel transport, contributing to rising pressure on our climate. How can we ensure cities of the future are powered to be sustainable, clean places to live?

That is the question put to students aged 11-14 by The Bright Ideas Challenge. Through an engaging research project, the competition encourages them to build up their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) knowledge and understand the real-world issues around energy. In 2020 all participating teachers surveyed agreed that the competition raised their students’ awareness of future challenges and helped them become more aware of energy issues.

The competition is supported by curriculum-linked resources, helping teachers deliver it in as little as 2.5 hours, in classroom or remotely. Students can access a research guide and a how-to video, taking them step-by-step towards creating a winning entry. They will also find a brand-new inspiration pack, with entries from previous years, practical hints and top tips and comments from the competition judges!

Build the skills for tomorrow

Along with building their STEM knowledge, the competition helps students develop the key skills needed to thrive and make a positive change in tomorrow’s world. As new industries such as the green economy emerge, employers are demanding a range of technical and transferable skillsets. Critical thinking, problem-solving, originality and initiative are skills which will be in high demand in the coming years, according to The latest World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report.

Creativity and problem solving are at the heart of The Bright Ideas Challenge, with resources designed to spark young people’s curiosity and encourage them to come up with innovative solutions to power the cities of the future. One teacher who delivered the competition last year noted that “Working on The Bright Ideas Challenge really broadened my students’ horizons and encouraged them to think creatively about the issues we face regarding energy.”

Inspire young people to be tomorrow’s STEM professionals

The schools’ competition is also part of Shell’s ongoing commitment to inspire more young people to pursue careers in science and engineering, in order to address the considerable shortage of scientists and engineers in the UK. According to the Industrial Strategy Council’s ‘UK Skills mismatch report 2030’, 1.5 million workers are likely to be acutely under-skilled in at least one STEM skill - such as advanced engineering skills - by 2030.

This is why the Bright Ideas Challenge resources are aligned to careers strategies across the UK and have been designed to inspire young people about the positive role STEM skills can play in society. By putting students in the shoes of the industry’s future-thinkers, changemakers and innovators, the hope is to encourage them to become tomorrow’s STEM specialists!

Fantastic STEM prizes up for grabs

And what’s more, students could win up to £10,000 for their school and exciting STEM goodies, packed with science and engineering themed gadgets, kit and subscriptions. Winners will also enjoy funded, facilitated prototyping and science communication workshops at their school to build a prototype and take their ideas to the next level. And what’s more, winning students will have the chance to showcase their ideas to a panel of judges during an exciting VIP virtual awards ceremony.

Why take part in The Bright Ideas Challenge?

  • Use a range of curriculum-linked flexible resources and spark your students’ interest in STEM
  • Help your students build the key skills they will need for tomorrow, such as creativity and problem-solving
  • Show your students how STEM can change the world and inspire them to become tomorrow’s STEM specialists
  • Students could win up to £10,000 for their school and high-tech goodie bags

How to enter The Bright Ideas Challenge

For more information about The Bright Ideas Challenge and to find out how you can enter, please visit
Enter before Friday 21st May 2021!