Seven Isle of Man Student Teams Advance to Semi-Finals
Seven Isle of Man student teams advance to semi-finals of global STEM competition
Students on their way to developing products of tomorrow
Seven high school teams from the Isle of Man were recently named semi-finalists in the 2011-2012 Spirit of Innovation Challenge for their innovative ideas to solve real-world problems. Hosted by the Conrad Foundation, the free, global competition invites high school teams to use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to develop commercially viable, breakthrough products and technologies. It is the only competition of its kind to combine education, innovation and entrepreneurship, giving students the tools they need to succeed and sustain a knowledge-based economy.
“Of the 81 semi-finalist teams we named, nearly 10 percent hail from the Isle of Man,” said Jennifer Fotherby, executive director of the Spirit of Innovation Challenge. “We are working to grow this competition beyond U.S. borders and unite students from around the world. Having such an outstanding turnout from the Isle of Man in our second year of collaboration speaks volumes about the students’ abilities.”
The seven Isle of Man high school teams selected as semi-finalists include the following: Phoenix Group (Ballakermeen High School in Douglas); Re: ACTION and Omega (both teams from Queen Elizabeth II High School in Peel); and FOOGLE, Energy Wave, Hydro Systems Technology and SyMo (all four teams from St. Ninian’s High School in Douglas).
Each team conceptualized an innovative idea that addressed one of three categories –aerospace exploration, clean energy, or health and nutrition – and used the online community to work with mentors and complete an abstract describing their product.
As semi-finalists, they will now take their idea one step further and develop a business plan, technical plan and graphical representation of their product or innovation. They are vying for one of the top 15 finalist positions, which will qualify them to advance to the Innovation Summit, hosted at NASA-Ames Research Center (Moffitt Field, Calif.) in March where they present their innovations and compete for awards and commercialization opportunities. Finalists will be named by Feb. 16, 2012.
“Increasing student interest in STEM is critical to our future ability to support real-world issues, such as preserving the planet, discovering cures for diseases and exploring the universe,” said Chris Stott, chairman and CEO of ManSat, a corporate partner in this year’s Spirit of Innovation Challenge.
ManSat first invited the Conrad Foundation to the Isle of Man in fall 2010 to present the Spirit of Innovation Challenge to its schools. With three teams traveling to California to present at the 2011 Innovation Summit, the company was so impressed that it sponsored a trip for Fotherby to travel to the island to generate participation in this year’s Challenge among students and teachers. The effort paid off, with a total of 60 teams registering for the 2011-2012 competition.
“We are thrilled our students took an interest in the competition and performed so well,” Stott added. “A few of our teams advanced to the finals last year. We’re confident this year’s group will prove even more competitive.”