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Subsea Expo

The voice of the UK subsea industry

STEM Challenge

Led by Subsea UK in conjunction with
The Smallpeice Trust

Inspiring the next generation of subsea talent

Earlier this year the STEM Challenge, led and organised by Subsea UK and supported by The Smallpeice Trust, saw teams of second year students take part in regional heats across the country to earn their place in the final.  The new initiative aims to encourage school pupils in STEM subjects to consider a career in the subsea sector.

At the regional competitions the teams competed to design and build an ROV using Lego Mindstorms. Lego Mindstorms is a hardware-software platform produced by Lego for the development of programmable robots based on Lego building blocks. Each version of the system includes an intelligent brick computer that controls the system, a set of modular sensors and motors, and Lego parts from the Technic line to create the mechanical systems.

The finalists - Helston Community College (Cornwall), St. Andrew’s RC Secondary (Glasgow), The Portsmouth Grammar School, Royal Grammar School (Newcastle) and Sutton Grammar School, travelled to Aberdeen to go head-to-head in a national competition.  Prior to the final event, each team was given a Think Kit from The Smallpeice Trust, with all the tools needed to build a floating offshore wind turbine. The pupils installed their models in a test tank at Aberdeen Science Centre before presentations were delivered later at BP by students about their project plan, design and execution, to a judging panel of industry experts from Oceaneering, SMD and Saab.  

The teams were then graded on the amount of electricity produced by their turbine, how well it kept afloat and pupils from Royal Grammar School in Newcastle took the top spot.

We are now planning for the 2018/2019 competition and the regional competitions will be held in Plymouth, Southampton, Sheffield, Newcastle and Glasgow end November/beginning of December with the national final being hosted by Subsea 7 in Aberdeen on the 6th March.

If you would like to get involved please email

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STEM Challenge Regional Competitions

SMD, Newcastle - 29 November 2018 (view)
Glasgow Science Centre - 30 November 2018 (view)
National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth - 3 December 2018 (view)
NOC, Southampton - 4 December 2018 (view)
AMRC, Sheffield - 5 December 2018 (view)

Group Photo of the STEM Challengers

Past Regional Competitions

Completed / previous events

Falmouth Marine School – 20th February 2018 (view)
Strathclyde University - 27th February 2018 (view)
Southampton University – 6th March 2018 (view)
Newcastle University – 28th March 2018 (view)
Sutton (Subsea 7) - 29th March 2018 (view)

Last year's final: