Aspire to Engineer: The Genetic Engineering Challenge

Take part in this UK-wide school challenge about genetic engineering to inspire your classmates and win your school a unique prize from the Natural History Museum ranging from a class visit to the Museum with a free workshop, to a live ‘virtual’ visit to meet the Museum scientists, or a visit to your classroom.

Three runners-up will have an opportunity to speak to one of our inspiring engineers over a 30 minute school video call.

The deadline for challenge submissions has been extended to 31 January 2019.

Register your interest now to receive free resources and inspiring material by emailing us at

About the project

Become a genetic engineer and you could change the world! Huge changes in how we live in recent years mean that genetic engineering could be the key to solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.

From ending hunger and curing disease to preserving the world’s most delicate eco-systems for future generations, we spoke to three genetic engineers to find out all about their work and what inspires them.

“There is hope that we will contribute to saving the coral reefs of the world.”

Professor Madeleine van Oppen

“Science and engineering have huge potential for making the planet a better place.”

Professor Gebisa Ejeta

“I’m really excited to come to work. I think that it has the potential to advance medicine and change lives.”

Dr Kathy Niakan

So what exactly is genetic engineering?

Genetic engineering is a bit like performing surgery on genes – which are like a set of instructions that tell living things how to look and behave. Genetic engineering means that scientists can change how living things look and how they behave.

Genetic engineering means making new discoveries about how living things work, and then applying this to the cells or genes of a biological organism – in other words, a living thing. Our free resource pack is full of interesting scientific words – we have provided definitions for lots of them throughout the pack!

How you can get involved in Aspire to Engineer: The Genetic Engineering Challenge

Email us at to take part and to receive free resources and inspiring material.

Keep up-to-date with the project

You can share your stories with us and how you’re getting involved with Aspire to Engineer: The Genetic Engineering Challenge on social media using #TheEngineers and #AspiretoEngineer .

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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