Maddy Kavanagh, Education and Skills Programme Manager at Nesta Challenges and Gordon Taylor, a STEM technician at Walton Priory Middle School are talking to me about the The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize.
The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize, delivered by Nesta Challenges, calls on young bright minds to put their passion for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to the test, to create and develop technological innovations to help solve some of the biggest issues of our time.
Young people aged 11-16 are encouraged to apply their creativity and ingenuity in four key areas: supporting people living independently in old age, helping people lead healthier lives, tackling climate change and pollution, and helping people stay better connected.
Now in its fourth year, and supported by Amazon for the first time, the Longitude Explorer Prize pairs classroom STEM learning with valuable entrepreneurial skills to help young innovators make their great ideas a reality. The Prize helps teachers easily incorporate the programme into lesson plans by providing an array of free online resources aligned with the school STEM and citizenship curriculum – adapted to the Covid-19 classroom restrictions schools currently face.
Teams are asked to create solutions based on one of four prize themes:
• Living Longer – technological solutions to support an ageing population
• Living Healthier – technological solutions that help people live happier and healthier lives
• Living Greener – technological solutions that tackle pollution and climate change; and
• Living Together – technological solutions that help people stay better connected in a way that is easy, safe and environmentally friendly as well as solutions to deliver more sustainable transport.
The top 40 teams will be selected as finalists, where Amazon will provide expert mentoring on topics ranging from data analytics, software engineering, robotics, and app development to create prototypes of their concepts to determine the winner in July 2021. The winners will be awarded £20,000 for their school or youth group, and three teams of runners up will be awarded £5,000 each for their school or youth group.
The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize aims to reach students across the UK and address the lack of diversity in STEM industries by providing young people from all backgrounds with an introduction to the possibilities of entrepreneurship in STEM and becoming the disruptors of the future. According to a report from EngineeringUK earlier this year, only 12% of engineers in the UK are women and, according to the Intellectual Property Office, fewer than 13% of patents are made by women. More than half (55%) of entrants to the 2020 Longitude Explorer Prize were girls.
About Nesta and Nesta Challenges
Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society. We’ve spent over 20 years working out the best ways to make change happen through research and experimenting, and we’ve applied that to our work in innovation policy, health, education, government innovation and the creative economy and arts.
Within Nesta, Nesta Challenges exists to design and run challenge prizes that help solve pressing problems that lack solutions. We shine a spotlight where it matters and incentivise people to solve these issues. We are independent supporters of change to help communities thrive and inspire the best placed, most diverse groups of people around the world to take action.
We support the boldest and bravest ideas to become real, and seed long term change to advance society and build a better future for everyone. We are part of the innovation foundation, Nesta. We are challengers. We are innovators. We are game changers.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion or invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalised recommendations, Prime, Fulfilment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit aboutamazon.co.uk and follow @AmazonNewsUK.
About Amazon in the Community
Amazon has long been committed to communities where our employees live and work and we focus on building long-term, innovative, and high impact programmes that leverage Amazon’s unique assets and culture. We want all children and young adults to have the resources and skills to build their best future. We concentrate on “right now needs” – via programmes that address hunger, homelessness, and disaster relief efforts – as well as programmes like Amazon Future Engineer, designed to inspire and excite children and young adults from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in the rapidly growing field of computer science. We are committed to inspiring and educating students across the UK to try computer science and coding, and pursue a career in this field.
Social Media Information
The National Association for Primary Education speaks for young children and all who live and work with them. Get a FREE e-copy of their professional journal at nape.org.uk/journal