Students from Coleraine Grammar School in Northern Ireland, UK learn how to fly a drone with Alan Hook, Associate Head of School (Media) at Ulster University, Coleraine.


Early today, British International Education Association (BIEA) in association with Born Free Foundation announced the shortlist for 2019 BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition.

Since the launch in January 2019, there has been huge interest from schools and teachers from around the world. With the competition reaching 30,000 schools globally, drawing applications from 34 countries and regions through the support of its partnership. After an intensive and rigorous marking process, 45 teams are through to the next round based on their qualification scores, representing 18 countries and regions including UK, China, USA, Australia, Canada, India, Kenya and many others.

Each year a theme connecting world issues and technology is chosen for the competition, which will be announced in January and the finals will be held in July. This year’s theme is “Fighting Extinction via Drone Technology”. Teams are asked to come up with a drone design to aid in the conservation of endangered species, and projects submitted in the first round focused on an enormous variety of endangered animals, including snow leopards, black rhinos, pangolins, turtles, elephants and many more.

In the next round, qualifying teams will modify/build a drone to reflect their report design ideas as laid down in the first round within a fixed budget. They are required to submit two videos by 4th June, one to demonstrate their drone in action and able to complete a set of tasks, a second video to visually present an outline of their project to date. In the meantime, BIEA STEM Ambassadors will visit shortlisted teams and support their innovation projects.

Upon successful submission of the videos, teams are invited to come to the international final at the London Royal Air Force Museum on 4th July, with a public showcase of their projects and presenting to a panel of expert judges. A grand prize of £5,000 is waiting for the top team, a variety of other prizes across the age categories will be awarded to participating teams.


Teacher and students from No. 2 High School Attached to East China Normal University in Shanghai, explore components of drone as part of their investigative report.

About the competition

The annual BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition is BIEA’s flagship programme designed to encourage students to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). It presents a unique opportunity to motivate the next generation of leaders who will change the way we explore and connect in the world. One theme is chosen each year to reflect the pressing issues and challenges in today’s world and how technology could be used to in solving these challenges. The competition spans three age ranges: 9-11, 12-14 and 15-17. Entry teams are made up of 3-5 students supported by a teacher, where teamwork is an important component of the competition. There are five main components to the competition: report writing, innovation, presentation, Dragon’s Den style pitching and fixed tasks.

BIEA promotes friendly competition among teams from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, and geographies – from emerging towns in Nigeria to historical capital city of China. Numerous teams are engaging in fundraising campaigns in their communities to make their participation this year possible.


“The overall quality of the reports was astounding, more so when we consider that many young people were submitting reports in a second language. In some cases, the standards of secondary research and innovative experimental investigations to gather primary data for drone specifications were worthy of undergraduates rather than secondary school students.”

Dr Alex Holmes, Lead Competition Judge


BIEA aims to bring together educators and young people of all ages from around the world who share a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). We hope our chosen topic will not only illustrate to the audience the importance of technological innovation when it comes to environmental protection, but also inspire the next generation of STEM graduates to put their minds to solving these pressing world issues”.

David Hanson, STEM Chairman, BIEA


“Wildlife is coming under increasing threat from human actions so Born Free is thrilled to be partnering with BIEA on this competition. It’s a chance to help the next generation understand the real-world application of STEM skills. How we can effectively use technology to protect and monitor wildlife populations could be the difference between extinction and survival for some of the world’s most threatened species.”

Laura Gosset, Head of Education, Born Free.


Follow and support your local team on the road to the International Finals using the official hashtag: #BIEACompetition

For more information about the BIEA International STEM Innovation Competition and to view the complete list of shortlist teams, visit our site:, or follow BIEA @BIEAeducation on Twitter.