Society for Science & the Public

Global STEM Network Creates Transformative Problem-Solvers and Leaders

Lead Organization

Society for Science & the Public

Washington, D.C., United States

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

There are more than two billion young people in the world today many who will face incredible challenges, but too few of them will ever become tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and innovators. The Society for Science & the Public has built the largest pre-collegiate global STEM network. The focal point of this network is more than 420 science fairs in 80 countries, regions and territories and our science journalism, Science News. Even at this size, our programming reaches fewer than half the countries in the world and only a fraction of our youth. Students competing in science fair break down cultural and economic barriers, create new industries and contribute to our global economy by witnessing problems only they can see inside their communities. This network expansion project will provide opportunities for young people from all countries to find their own solutions to the world’s problems through scientific research and innovation.

Problem Statement

Nearly half of the world’s population is under the age of 25, disproportionately living in the developing world. This “youth bulge” has been viewed as either a demographic dividend or a demographic disaster for our global economy and security. With so many additional people, there is an enormous burden on our planet. We believe that young people are our best hope for a better future. There are thousands of societal challenges, which are both hyper local and global. We need solutions which are often driven by scientific research and its innovations. However, many of the world’s youth are not given opportunities to become scientifically literate and to develop solutions to the problems that surround them. The current scientific elite are not even identifying many important problems plaguing communities because they do not have the local perspective. Whether it is climate change, improved agricultural practices, pandemic disease, tackling poverty or going to Mars, we need all people from across the globe to be prepared to work on inclusive scientific and engineering innovations.

Solution Overview

Since 1950, we have a built a global STEM network in 80 countries, regions and territories with the focal point being science fairs and scientific literacy. During this project, we will add 100 more countries to our network. We believe the science fair method is simple and scalable with an outsized impact on society. Ask a young person to find a problem meaningful to them, use science to better understand it and present their results. We will know we are making progress when the technology platform we plan to build connects us to the millions of more students who are engaging in their local STEM fair and reading science journalism, especially traditionally underserved students. This data will provide us with the ability to demonstrate our impact, make adjustments to our network and provide alumni support across the globe. This will have a broad impact on some of the hardest to reach countries and in some of the STEM deserts in the United States. With the localized nature of science fair projects, the project will also have a deep impact on local communities. The direct beneficiaries of our project will be the millions of additional students, teachers and education systems involved in building the STEM pipeline. The world will be a beneficiary of evidence-based scientific solutions that will solve some of our biggest problems.

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Project Funders

  • Regeneron 2020 - 2024
  • Broadcom Foundation 2010 - 2022
  • Intel 1996 - 2019

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