STEM the flow challenge underway along the Clyde

Schools across the West Partnership are taking on the challenge of source to sea litter in and around the River Clyde. 

Marine litter pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing our natural world and impacts everything from flooding to air quality and even our food. It’s estimated that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic gets into the sea each and every year – that's a truck full of litter a minute. As 80% of all marine litter comes from land, we need to face this problem upstream by addressing the issue at it's source. 

With support from education and industry partners, and as part of our Upstream Battle campaign, we are asking young people to help tackle the issue through this engineering-based design challenge where they must devise solutions to help reduce source to sea and marine litter around the River Clyde. 

Teams of pupils in Primary 6/7 to Secondary 3 can choose to look at ways of collecting litter that is already in the Clyde, or ways of preventing it getting into waterways in the first place.  We are encouraging teams to investigate the issue in their school grounds or local area, in order to collect evidence to inform their solutions. 

The STEM the Flow challenge is being supported by Scottish Water, BAE Systems and Jacobs Engineering, who will be leading workshops and providing professional industry advice, to help guide participants through their projects. 

Jaimie Cunningham, STEM Development Officer, Glasgow City Council, commented, “STEM the Flow is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to apply their engineering and problem solving skills to real life problems. They get to interact and work with STEM professionals and gain an insight into hitherto unknown careers in industry – helping them see that their opportunities and options in STEM really are innumerable.” 

The challenge is open from October 2022 until February 2023, and we are delighted that the Riverside Museum, Glasgow, will again host an exhibition event where participants can showcase their projects to other teams, a judging panel and even the general public. 

STEM the Flow last ran in 2019, when recalling the previous challenge, Bruce Robertson, one of our Charity Trustees and a former Director of Education said, “The STEM the Flow Challenge gave young people the opportunity to use their creative minds and abilities, as well as their passion for their environment and iconic local river. It was inspiring to see the range of design ideas the teams produced and hear about their project at the exhibition.”  

Bruce will be joined by representatives from education and industry partners to present awards at the Riverside Museum exhibition in February. He commented, “I would encourage as many schools as possible to take part in the challenge and contribute to another inspiring day at the Riverside Museum.”  

Further details on the Stem the Flow challenge, as well as registration forms for workshops and webinars are available and you can find out more about our Upstream Battle campaign and how you can get involved. 

Please note, at this time the STEM the Flow challenge is open to schools within West Partnership local authorities only. 

26 September 2022


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