The Competition

The Youth Grand Challenges is a new STEM competition that aims to inspire young people, aged 11-to-19, to see how science and technology can be deployed to tackle global health issues. The theme for 2016/17 is infectious diseases.

Infectious diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. For example, each year over one million people die due to mosquito-borne diseases. Infectious diseases disproportionately affect developing countries, where deaths are predominantly caused by infectious diseases. Almost one third of deaths in LEDCs are caused by lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and tuberculosis.

The competition calls on students to come up with innovative solutions that have the potential to change the world, and will reward the best projects from young people created in response. The Youth Grand Challenges provide real-world opportunities for young people to engage with cutting-edge research and product design ideas that have the potential to change the world. From researching vaccines for infectious diseases to designing creative new solutions that improve the lives of some of the poorest people on our planet – innovation, science and technology are key to tackling some of the most urgent global issues of our time.

This exciting initiative is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), encouraging young people to use their skills, passions and interests to develop creative solutions to contemporary issues aligned with the BMGF Global Grand Challenges – unsolved scientific challenges that could lead to significant advances in terms of preventing, treating and curing diseases across the developing world.

Project resources

To support educators and young people in this challenge the British Science Association has released a suite of new CREST resources on the theme of infectious diseases. These resources have been produced by Practical Action and 4Science for the Youth Grand Challenges, in partnership with the CREST Awards scheme.

Find more information about the resources here.

We encourage students to get support from a mentor who works in a STEM field related to their project topic. Mentors can play an important role by offering their experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm to help inspire students. Mentors are strongly recommended at Gold level, preferred at Silver, and optional at Bronze and Discovery levels.

Getting involved

Our applications for 2017 are now closed.

Shortlisted projects will be invited to a celebration event on December 7th to exhibit their work to a panel of expert and celebrity judges who will select the final winners in each category. Watch this space!