Aspire to Engineer 2019

Engineers design and build the world around us. They use logic, creativity and problem solving to make new things, and make existing things even better! This year’s Aspire to Engineer, the UK-wide schools engineering challenge, inspired classrooms and groups won unique prizes! Previous winners have won special visits and workshops from the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, as well as Skype interviews with Nobel Prize winning scientists. Read about this years winners here. Even though the project has ended you can still access our high quality free resources by clicking the button below.

Aspire to Engineer: The Genetic Engineering Challenge is led by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. Its mission is to‘increase the means of industrial education and extend the influence of science and art upon productive industry’. Find out all about them at 

The Great Exhibition Road Festival

Big Ideas worked for the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 to present their tent at the inaugural Great Exhibition Road Festival 2019. The tent told the story of Prince Albert’s ‘original’ Great Exhibition to the public sparking excitement and interest in science and engineering. Festival-goers were invited to experience some of the marvels from 1851 with help from the cutting edge technology of 2019. This included the live 3D printing and construction of the iconic Crystal Palace as well as the chance to step inside the original exhibition with help from our 1851der app. This allowed stereographs from both 1851 and 2019 to come alive in 3D when looked at through our cardboard viewers – the original Victorian virtual reality! You can still download the 1851der app online.

Big ideas will be returning to The Great Exhibition Road Festival 2020 with the Royal Commision for 1851.


The Engineers 2019

This exciting event brought together three of the world’s greatest astronautical engineers to discuss the nuts and bolts of space travel across our world and beyond! The public discussion was recorded in front of a live audience who had the opportunity to ask the engineers their own questions and was broadcast on the BBC World Service.

The Engineers is a partnership between the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and the BBC World Service with Big Ideas working for the Royal Commission to make it happen.


This year Under 12s from the Premier League Academies took part in Flu100 to earn a place in the Christmas Truce Challenge Tournament.  Clubs can earn a place in this annual competition in Ypres, Belgium, by taking part in the Education Challenge. This year the project commemorated those who lost their lives in the Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919. 

Academy players used the Flu100 resource pack to learn about the devastating effect of the Flu Pandemic after the end of the First World War. The academies looked into their club history and researched the impact on the virus on their local area. The players then designed memorials for the victims of the Flu100 pandemic and shared them with the judging panel.

This year Middlesborough FC and Watford FC Under 12s were selected the winners of the Flu100 Challenge.

This project has now been made available to school and community groups, renamed Flu100+. If you would like access to the free resource pack please click here.

Foundation Stones

Foundation Stones is a unique project that asks you to paint a commemorative stone to be placed within the foundations of the new UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London. You are invited to paint a stone in remembrance of the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered in the Holocaust and all other victims of Nazi persecution. You can also choose to dedicate your stone to those murdered in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Each Foundation Stone represents a commitment to learn from the past and to build a future free from all forms of prejudice, discrimination and hatred. 

Foundation Stones is a partnership with the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation. It launched in July 2019 and continues to run.

Get involved

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