Training and mentoring opportunities to encourage young people to use and develop their STEM skills have been given another boost. JA Europe and ExxonMobil once again organised the Sci-Tech Challenge.

The 8th annual Sci-Tech Challenge was held in Brussels on May 10. This year’s theme was low emissions mobility.

Chosen from best three teams (Belgium, France and Italy), the winning team from France was honoured during an award ceremony hosted by Adina-Ioana Valean, Member of the European Parliament.

The French team developed a highly-innovative approach to reducing CO2 emissions from road transport through the development of a new vehicle – the Norman Car. The car is lighter than modern vehicles to optimise fuel consumption, with the ability to store and compress its own CO2 emissions.

“This was the most incredible experience of my life so far. Thanks to the Sci-Tech Challenge, our team has learned so many different things,” said winning team member, Youri Hamon.

“It is amazing for us to realise that we can achieve so much at our age. We’ve learned to work as a team, to develop our scientific knowledge, to work in a different way TO what we usually do at school. On top of this, being part of the European Challenge enabled us to meet with other students across Europe sharing the same passion. We can’t thank our teachers enough for all this”.

According to organisers, the winning team was selected for their combination of team spirit, entrepreneurship and scientific knowledge.

“A growing number of jobs today require STEM skills, even within non-technological positions as companies across the economy do more digital work for instance. The European Commission is finalising the New Skills Agenda for Europe, stressing the need for greater STEM competences and transversal skills,” said Caroline Jenner, CEO of JA Europe. “The Sci-Tech Challenge is part of the answer, empowering and stimulating students in the field of science, mathematics and engineering.”

The European Online Challenge had called on students from seven participating countries (Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania and the UK) in March to find innovative solutions to greenhouse emissions from passenger cars.

The jury included Nikolaas Baeckelmans (VP EU Affairs, ExxonMobil), Francesca Stevens (Director Government Affairs and Business Development, Arconic), Antoine Feral (VP EU Affairs, Rolls-Royce), Christian Egenhofer (Associate Senior Research Fellow & Director of Energy Climate House, Centre for European Policy Studies) and Giulia Catini (Head of EU office, CNH Industrial Institutional Relations).

“This year’s Sci-Tech Challenge focused on the important issue of low emissions mobility,” said Baeckelmans. “The range of innovate solutions developed by the students from across Europe shows that the creative thinking of the next generation will be a major step in meeting the continent’s energy challenges”.