The Big Science Challenge competition, an initiative organised by the British Council with support from Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, aimed at secondary schools across the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Jordan and the United Kingdom.

Students aged 11 to 16 were invited to research and design an original, innovative solution to a problem concerning water, either locally, nationally or globally. Entries were judged at a national level by a panel of experts. The winning teams from each Middle East country were awarded a visit to London for a week-long programme of cultural exchange and educational activities (17-23 March 2012). In addition, students had a unique insight into real-life research and engineering processes during a visit to one of the biggest Rolls-Royce centres in the UK.

This competition, supported by the Ministry of Education in each participating country, aimed at encouraging educational and intercultural exchange which is a core part of both Rolls-Royce’s and the British Council’s long-term strategy in the region. Young people who took part developed interest and enthusiasm in science and technology, and were equipped with additional skills in scientific research and innovation. Through this initiative and by increasing their knowledge, outlook and skills, students are better able to contribute to the global economy and society.

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