More than 1,400 budding scientists and engineers from 40 local schools have been invited to compete in the Ausgrid Newcastle Science and Engineering Challenge.

University reaches out to budding science students

22 July 2013

More than 1,400 budding scientists and engineers from 40 local schools have been invited to compete in the Ausgrid Newcastle Science and Engineering Challenge from July 22-26.

More than 1,400 budding scientists and engineers from 40 local schools have been invited to compete in the Ausgrid Newcastle Science and Engineering Challenge from July 22-26 at The University of Newcastle Forum Sports and Aquatic Centre in Callaghan.

Founded in 2000 by the University of Newcastle, the program is now a national event, involving more than 800 schools, 22,000 high school students and 30 universities each year.

Science and Engineering Challenge Director, Dr Terry Burns of the University of Newcastle, said this was the first time the event would be held on campus, adding that the Challenge was an important component of the University's science outreach program.

"The Science and Engineering Challenge addresses the skills shortage in science and engineering by inspiring young people to study mathematics, physics and chemistry in senior high school," Dr Burns said.

"A recent Australian Academy of Science survey found that science literacy had declined in the last three years. The Science and Engineering Challenge is an example of the University of Newcastle's efforts to foster aptitude in science and engineering."

A competitive environment is created as representative school teams are pitted against each other and against the clock in a range of science and engineering tasks.

"The Challenge also gives students an appreciation of what it would be like to work as an engineer or a scientist," Dr Burns said.

"The University of Newcastle's excellence in the areas of science and engineering enables us to create a rich learning environment for our Challenge participants and we are consistently impressed with the students' ingenuity and designs."

The University of Newcastle is ranked well above world standards according to an Australian Research Council-administered ERA evaluation.

"We're also one of only two universities to achieve the highest ERA rating in applied mathematics, biochemistry, cell biology, civil engineering, and mechanical engineering," he said.

The University's science outreach program also includes the SMART (Science, Maths and Real Technology) program for primary schools and the Discovery Day and Build a Future programs for primary and secondary students.

Ausgrid is the major sponsor of the Science and Engineering Challenge across the Hunter, Central Coast and Sydney regions.

Contact: Kate Carragher
Contact Phone: 02 4921 5868