Inspiring youth innovation and STEM skills
3 December 2020

Supporting innovative, entrepreneurial thinking and strong skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among young people is key to ensuring Europe’s future competitiveness.

The European Sci-Tech Challenge is an annual competition organised by JA Europe and ExxonMobil. It aims to help students aged 15-18 develop an interest in STEM skills and apply them to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. ExxonMobil is proud to have been the sponsor of this competition for 11 years. Since 2010, the Sci-Tech Challenge involved over 65,000 students who have been supported by 1,700 volunteers from ExxonMobil.

A broad-ranging societal challenge is presented to students with the help of a network of volunteers and teachers. The ExxonMobil volunteers – from chemical engineers to research scientists – give students a first-hand insight into their own day-to-day work and the range of challenges they tackle. By having experienced employees participate as role models in the programme, ExxonMobil aids students to understand the vital importance of STEM skills for a range of professions.

The 11th edition of the competition took place in the context of the coronavirus, which has itself proved to be a broad-ranging societal challenge. But one inspiring beacon of hope during this difficult time has been the way that human ingenuity stepped up to tackle the challenges we’ve faced. ExxonMobil didn’t want the 2020 cohort of Sci-Tech Challenge contestants to miss out on the chance to share their hard work and ideas – so the competition was held virtually.

Although this year’s event was not competitive, students were still able to present their ideas to the panel of judges. The teams presented their ideas for supplying energy to the 2040 Olympic Games. Some of the ideas included: transport running on hydrogen; carbon capture and storage solutions providing carbon dioxide for fizzy drinks; generating energy from the brakes of trains; and diversified renewable sources.

On this year’s panel: Armando Persico, winner of the Global Teacher Prize; Karel Lannoo, Chief Executive of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), a leading think tank; Dr. Walter Goetz, Head of Cabinet of European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean; and Philippe Ducom, President of ExxonMobil Europe. The virtual event was chaired by Salvatore Nigro, CEO of JA Europe.

Check out the video to learn more about this the Sci-Tech Challenge 2020:

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students engaged in the Sci-Tech challenge since 2010
volunteers supporting the challenge