Rushcliffe School crowned regional winners in national schools’ science competition

Television presenter Rachel Riley poses with students during Make the Future London 2016 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Friday, July 1, 2016, in London, UK. (Mark Pain for Shell)

A team of five Year 8 students from Rushcliffe School in West Bridgford have fought off tough competition from hundreds of entries across Great Britain to become the overall winners for the East Midlands in Shell’s national schools’ science competition, The Bright Ideas Challenge.


It is the second year the school has had a winning team in the tough competition, which is part of Shell’s on-going commitment to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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With an extra two billion extra people set to live on our planet by 2050, needing 50% more energy than today, The Bright Ideas Challenge, now in its second year, asks students aged 11-14 to use their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills to come up with creative solutions for powering future cities.


The winning team’s ‘bright idea’ of harnessing rain water as a potential source of renewable energy in future cities has won them £1,500 to ‘super-size’ the STEM learning experience at their school as well as a tablet computer for each team member.


The ‘Axys Waterworks’ team identified rain water as an abundant source of potential power for the cities of 2050.


They would turn rain water into a source of power by installing mini Impact Caps on different surfaces across the city. These Impact Caps would incorporate piezoelectric sensors that would convert the tiny vibrations from rain drops into electrical energy that could be used to power homes and businesses.

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As well as winning £1,500 for their school, the winning team members will also be VIP guests at Make the Future Live, Shell’s four-day festival of ideas and innovation taking place at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from May 25-28, 2017.


At the festival, which is expected to attract tens of thousands of people, including over 7,000 students and teachers, visitors can see the world’s future energy ideas brought to life, try out immersive technology and test the latest inventions that could change the way we live work and play.


The winning team for the East Midlands will also meet Rachel Riley, TV personality, maths expert and The Bright Ideas Challenge Ambassador. 


The festival will provide a huge array of opportunities to inspire young scientists – from hands-on activities and a treasure hunt to live science shows and the world-famous Shell Eco-Marathon, which sees students from across Europe and Africa battling it out to design, build and drive the world’s most energy efficient vehicles.


A further 12 teams across the UK each won £1,500 for their schools.  Other winning bright ideas included everything from self-sustaining public toilets through to salt water powered vehicles and eco wristbands that capture and convert sound waves into electrical energy.


Rushcliffe School
Rushcliffe School

Talking about their win George Chant, Vishwas Kancharlapalli, Alex Wainman, Jonathon Jaycock and Karam Johal from Rushcliffe School, said: ‘The Bright Ideas Challenge really got us thinking about the future we’ll be living in. It’s inspiring to see how the things we’ve learnt about in Science can change the world.


‘The whole school is excited about the money we’ve won and the difference it will make to our Science lessons.  We can’t wait to celebrate with other teams from across the country and to meet Rachel Riley at Make the Future Live.’

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Gareth Thistleton, Shell’s STEM education manager, commented: ‘Being a scientist or engineer should be a dream role for young people.  Their skills can help to solve big global challenges, but the UK – a country famed for science innovation – has a huge shortage of engineers.


‘It’s in everyone’s interest to change that. Competitions like The Bright Ideas Challenge can help to inspire young people about the positive role their STEM skills can play in shaping a brighter future for everyone.


‘The quality of creative thinking from the ‘Axys Waterworks’ team from Rushcliffe School really impressed the judges. Not only was their idea imaginative, it was also rooted in sound scientific research. It’s inspiring to see the creative problem solvers of tomorrow grapple with real issues and come up with genuinely exciting ideas.’


For a summary of each of the 13 winning ‘bright ideas’ from student teams across the UK go to