Macarthur Science & Engineering Challenge


Macarthur Science and Engineering Challenge

The Chief Scientist of Australia and the Federal Government have stressed that in Australia there is a serious shortage of people with STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The growing success of many countries in our region correlates with the strong growth of STEM education in those countries. However STEM education in Australia is far lower than in neighboring OECD nations.

The University of Newcastle has developed a very successful event called the Science and Engineering Challenge. Locally it is staged as Macarthur Science and Engineering Challenge at Thomas Reddall High School annually in May. In the Campbelltown/Macarthur area the challenge is run by people from the University of Newcastle with the assistance of members of Rotary, and other volunteers. The purpose of the Challenge is to inspire year 9 or 10 students to study STEM subjects in years 11 and 12.


What is the Science and Engineering Challenge (SEC)?

The Science and Engineering Challenge (SEC) is a joint project between Rotary and the University of Newcastle. SEC is a series of workshops held all round Australia. Typically 8 schools are involved with up to 32 students from each school. Each school has to tackle 8 technical challenges. So there will be about 500 students involved from the Campbelltown area over 2 days. The attached tables illustrate its success.


Who should you contact?

Rotarian Malcolm Nearn ( or 46258336). I live locally and would be pleased to attend a meeting to answer any questions.

Rotarian Gavin Ralston 94524666

Table 1
The Effectiveness of the Scientific and Engineering Challenge

Last year, the Science and Engineering Challenge involved more than 20,000 students from over 800 schools across Australia. From our survey, past participants in the Challenge said:

·         93% - Found the Challenge rewarding

·         84% - Found the Challenge informative about relevant potential careers

The graph below shows the percentage of students who decided to study science and mathematics in Year 11 as a result of participating in a Science and Engineering Challenge event: