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Brisbane City Science and Engineering Challenge at QUT

7th February 2019

QUT will host the award winning Science and Engineering Challenge, part of Australia’s largest science and engineering competition for high schools.

Over 750 year 9 and 10 students, from 24 schools in the Brisbane and Caboolture region will test their STEM skills at the Science and Engineering Challenge at QUT Wednesday 13 – Friday 15 February. Students will participate in a series of educational interactive activities over the three event days. The Challenge is highly effective in influencing students to study science and mathematics in their senior years and pursue science and engineering-related degrees.  

Last year, the University of Newcastle was awarded the BHERT award for Outstanding Collaboration in Community Engagement for the Science and Engineering Challenge. The Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) awards celebrates the best of Australian university partnerships with business and the community.

2019 will mark the 13th year that QUT has partnered with the University of Newcastle to host the Challenge. We strongly believe that the real-world application of learning makes this event truly unique and provides a lasting positive impact on almost all students that participate.

In a recent survey with QUT first year students, focussing on student decision making in choosing to study STEM courses, results suggested high school students already have perceptions in place on what broad area of study by Year 10. The Challenge competition is one of several important STEM-related touch points universities offer to students throughout schooling to ensure that they choose senior STEM subjects and pursue STEM careers.

The Challenge directly aligns with, and supports, the federal government’s increased focus on STEM with the Innovation Agenda and compliments the Queensland Government’s, Advance Queensland policy.  

Challenge organisers and partners include QUT, University of Newcastle, Rotary, Defence Force Recruiting and Engineers Australia (Queensland Division), and SEQ Water. 

The winning schools of the Brisbane and Challenge events will go on to compete in the Super Challenge Series in Queensland in August. The Challenge runs in every state and territory of Australia with more than 24,000 students expected to participate in 2019.


  • Future Power - Control the supply of power to a variety of infrastructure on a “power station” board
  • Stringways - Develop networks that join a series of points in the most efficient way possible
  • Grasping at Straws - Design and build a bionic hand
  • Helter Skelter Shelter - Construct a tall earthquake-proof tower
  • Flatpack- Design and build a model chair
  • Return to Mars - Construct a vehicle to quickly transverse an undulating surface
  • Bridge - Build a small bridge from balsa, pins, tape, paddle pop sticks etc.
  • Confounding Communications - Design an efficient code to send messages along fibre optic rods using only pulses of coloured light.

Schools competing in the challenge:

Wednesday 13 February

  • Brisbane Christian College
  • Burpengary State Secondary College
  • Clontarf Beach State High School
  • Caboolture State High School
  • Deception Bay State High School
  • Grace Lutheran College
  • Our Lady’s College
  • Tullawong State High School

Thursday 14 February

  • Alexandra Hills State High School
  • Anglican Church Grammar
  • Brisbane State High School
  • Kilcoy State High School
  • Murrumba State Secondary College
  • St Laurence’s College
  • Woodford State School

Friday 15 February

  • Cannon Hill Anglican College
  • Corinda State High School
  • Iona College
  • Kelvin Grove Secondary College
  • Morayfield State High School
  • Narangba Valley State High School
  • Pine Rivers State High School 
  • Wynnum State High School 

Venue: QUT Gardens Point campus, Science and Engineering Centre, Level 5

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: 12.30pm – 1.30pm: All activities in action

1.30pm – 2.15pm: Gold Fever “Bridge building” activity
The Gold Fever activity involves teams from each school designing and constructing a model bridge to carry ‘gold’ ingots from one side of the test rig to the other.  The judging involves giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down if the bridge makes it to the other side!  Lauren Stephenson, Director of the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist will be one of the judges on Wednesday 13th February.

Interview and photo opportunities contact:
Kathy Nickels, local organiser 0433 431 550 or

Social media
Live stream of bridge building:

Hashtags: #STEMis4me #qutSTEM #sciengchallenge