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The challenge

We are inviting young people to become engineers and share their ideas for innovations that work towards a sustainable future for our planet and our goal of reaching net zero as a country.
The ‘Sustainable Futures Innovation Challenge’ students aged between 9 to 14 to come up with creative solutions to tackle some of the biggest problems that are creating carbon emissions and impacting our environment. Choosing one of four themes: travel and transport, food systems, our homes and habits, and our lifestyles and what we consume, we want students to think of an innovation in technology or society or an innovative system or product that could help address a specific problem they have identified within that bigger theme.

Submit applications‚Äč 

Deadline: 1 April 2022. 

Find out more by watching the Innovation Challenge video guide.

For more ideas and inspiration to get you started on the 'Sustainable Futures: Innovation Challenge', check out our other resource 'This is Engineering: Sustainable Futures'. 


Prizes of up to £2500 to enhance STEM at your school! 

Invitation to regional and national events where students can share their ideas with engineers and take part in STEM activities. 

All entries will also receive a digital STEM badge. 

Who can enter?

The challenge is open to all young people based across the United Kingdom who are in a Connecting STEM Teacher School. 

There are two categories

  • 9 to 11 year-olds
  • 11 to 14 year-olds

The Connecting STEM Teachers programme is free and easy to join. Find out more here or by emailing

Where do I submit?

All entries to be submitted to

Entries must be submitted by 1 April 2022.

Innovation Challenge Project Portfolio PDF Template

You can use this booklet as a guide to create your project portfolio. 

'How to be an innovator' workshop

This workshop has already happened.

Getting into mindset of an innovator can be difficult, and that’s why we are extremely excited that we launched the challenge with a webinar from Gitanjali Rao. This interactive peer-led session introduced innovation and creative real-world problem solving. The session gave students an understanding of the role innovation has in engineering solutions and get them started on their journey through the Sustainable Futures Innovation Challenge.

Gitanjali Rao is an American inventor, author, scientist and engineer and STEM promoter. Chosen as Times's first ever Kid of the Year, she has used technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyber bullying. She now dedicates her time to creating a global community of young innovators to solve the problems that inspire and excite them.

Missed the workshop?
Watch this short video to give you an idea of what the session covered.