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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


An innovation competition for year 11 and 12 students in the UK

Register your team

The Davidson Inventors Challenge (DIC) is a collaborative initiative between our department and the Association of Science Technology and Innovation (ASTI) in Malaysia led by one of our alumni Dr Yunus Yasin.

It gives year 11 and 12 students in the UK the chance to work on a team project using science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills to tackle a global challenge. 

It is aimed at young students interested in STEM in tribute to our Emeritus Professor John Davidson, and former Head of Department, who sadly passed away in December 2019. He was known as “the founding father of fluidisation” and worked in chemical engineering since 1952, including the areas of fluid flow, process dynamics, gas absorption and fluidisation technology, remaining very active until his death. He was passionate about his students, interested in their well-being and enjoyed their questions. He was always committed to the very highest standards of teaching and research and often had simple solutions relying on a profound understanding of the fundamentals. 

Choose a challenge and find a solution to put chemical engineering skills into practice 

We are deeply concerned with the effects of COVID-19 on education, and we are aware of students' need to continue learning whilst ensuring their safety and wellbeing.  Therefore, this challenge is an opportunity for year 11 and 12 students in the UK to enter this competition as a team (3 to 5 students), think of a problem and evaluate innovative solutions to current-day global challenges. We welcome entries from students in all UK schools, especially state schools and those with students from disadvantaged and lower-income backgrounds.

Get ready to solve problems, get creative and innovate! 

To take part in the challenge interested students will have a go at problem-solving and come up with innovative solutions, which are key skills chemical engineers learn, develop, and put into practice on a day-to-day basis. In this way, they will not only get first-hand experience and become familiar with the diverse applications of chemical engineering and biotechnology, but they will also learn about the important role chemical engineers and biotechnologists play in tackling the toughest global challenges.

Download the event poster to share at your school

Sustainable Development Goals

The theme for the challenge is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the United Nations to address global challenges as noted in the SDGs strategy. The teams are therefore required to first select a goal they'd like to work on and come up with a potential solution towards achieving the selected SDG.

Registration, entry criteria and submission

  • DIC opens for registrations: 12 November 2021
  • Registration closes: 21 January 2022
  • Entry criteria:  Students in years 11 and 12 enter as a team (3 to 5 students) based in the UK. We especially welcome entries from UK state schools and underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds. Each competing student team will be required to: 
  1. register their interest by submitting the online registration form by 21 January 2022. Note that registrations have now closed.
  2. submit a project outline by 7 March and then a short paper addressing the problem and evaluating the potential solution/s by 1 May 2022.

This DIC will then be conducted as an online competition involving a submission of a short paper based on the student participants’ analysis of a problem and proposed solution. If your proposed solution also involves a working prototype and/or a working scaled model, you may also describe it in your paper.

  • The Final will take place online on Thursday 26 May. 

The three finalist student teams will be invited to take part in a Zoom webinar to give our department staff and students a live online presentation of their inventions. The judging panel at CEB will then appoint a winner.

There will be some guests of honour in attendance and the programme will be confirmed soon.

  • Prize: To be confirmed. 

Find out about last year's competition and watch a recording of last year's final

For queries regarding student participation and entry submission please contact  Elena Gonzalez  Marketing and Outreach Assistant 

Monday, 25 October, 2021 - 14:00 to Monday, 25 April, 2022 - 17:00
Contact name: 
Elena Gonzalez
Contact email: 
Contact phone: