The Big Bang Competition

The Big Bang Competition recognises and rewards young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), whilst providing them with the opportunity to build their skills and confidence in project-based work.

The Competition is open to all UK residents in full-time education or training (year group 7-13 and Scottish/NI equivalent), and students can enter online and via regional heats.

The UK Finals take place at The Big Bang Fair in March each year; the dates for 2020 are the 10th – 12th March.

Finalists compete for over £20,000 worth of amazing prizes, including top and runner-up prizes in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories for science and engineering, as well as the coveted titles of GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year and GSK UK Young Scientist.

Visit our How to get started page for advice and inspiration, and read the rules and eligibility for 2019/20.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Why get involved?

  • Project work inspires young people to think and behave like scientists and engineers
  • Allows young people to explore an area of interest and develop independent learning skills
  • A chance to celebrate and share their achievements with the wider community and media
  • Opportunities to network with like-minded peers and members of industry and STEM employers

“The Big Bang Competition is a vibrant celebration of young people and STEM where students compete for big prizes but the best accolade is simply being part of the excitement!”

Dr Meryl Batchelder, Subject leader for Science, Corbridge Middle School, Newcastle upon Tyne

What makes a successful project?

The scope of the Competition is deliberately broad, so any project in the field of STEM can enter – projects ranging from health to the environment and from computing to design and technology; the options are endless!

Projects do not have to meet any set standards to enter the Competition.

It doesn’t matter if you conducted your project using simple everyday items or whether you undertook research in a scientific laboratory; it’s all about the idea and the enthusiasm behind it. It could be an invention, a communication campaign or research into solving a problem within the community.

Check out our case studies for examples of previous projects.

Where to get started?

First, have a quick read of our rules and eligibility.

If it’s your first time taking part, why not check out some project ideas online? Head over to our ideas and resources page for some fantastic (and free) resources!

Alternatively, if you want to start from scratch and your students have been inspired by a particular topic, they can plan their own project.

We would suggest following our judging criteria to help work out what they need to cover – aspects like a background and rationale, a clear methodology, some results or evidence of testing, a conclusion and lastly and very importantly, reflection on what they’ve learnt and what problems they overcame along the way.

Remember to check out some top tips from our judges!

“As a teacher preparing for The Big Bang Competition, you learn so much about the students’ abilities that may not be as clearly evident in normal lessons and tests. Students with additional needs have particularly flourished in STEM when completing projects as they prefer alternative teaching methods.”

Thandiwe Banda, Head of STEM, Portslade Aldridge Community Academy, Brighton

How to enter?

There are two possible routes to entry; either through a regional heat in your local area where students have the opportunity to showcase their project to judges, or online, where they can submit a video or report to be assessed remotely.

In either instance, young people receive valuable feedback on their work with tips on how to develop it further from STEM professionals.

They may be selected to attend the UK Finals, which take place at The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham in March every year. Finalists will be in with a chance to win some fantastic prizesand special awards, including opportunities to represent the UK at Intel ISEF in the USA, CASTIC in China and EUCYS in Europe!