UK schools to debate engineering solutions to climate change in #TEWeek21 'Schools COP'

08 November 2021

Get involved in Tomorrow's Engineers Week 2021
Get involved in Tomorrow's Engineers Week 2021

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week returns this week for its 9th year, running from 8-12 November 2021. Taking inspiration from COP26, #TEWeek21 will explore how engineers & engineering can contribute to tackling climate change & achieving net zero. As part of a Tomorrow’s Engineers Week Schools COP, classrooms across the UK will debate engineering solutions to climate change.

Revolutionary engineering ideas proposed by secondary school students will be debated in classrooms across the UK as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (8 to 12 November 2021), as students look to shape solutions to net zero in the #TEWeek21 'Schools COP'. As well as enabling young people’s voices to be heard by decision makers, this nationwide campaign aims to inspire the next generation of engineers to help tackle climate change.

Proposals include ways that engineers can help efforts to improve biodiversity on land and at sea, and the development of self-sufficient agri-biomes for farm animals, to capture methane so it can be converted into an energy source.

The ideas were developed at a summit of more than 70 students from over 30 schools. Now, as part of the Tomorrow’s Engineers Week Schools COP, young people will debate the ideas in lessons taking place in classrooms across the UK and throughout this week.

Schools will then vote on their favourite proposals, with the results being announced and sent to Members of Parliament later in November.

The full list of engineering solutions students felt should be urgently developed:

•    Continue to invest more in renewable energy sources and expand on them to use on all buildings

•    Planting more trees and re-wilding of areas to increase biodiversity

•    Improving insulation, retrofitting and reduce energy consumption in the home

•    Ocean fertilisation to improve, for example, use of algae, microorganisms and carbon capture plants, such as seaweed

•    Better recycling of plastics and use biopolymers to create plastics that are less harmful to the environment

•    Support the development of smarter building design and construction

•    Develop self-sufficient agri-biomes for animal farming to capture methane for it to be converted into energy sources

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week held a Schools COP to give young people a platform to come up with engineering solutions to creating a net zero future
Tomorrow’s Engineers Week held a Schools COP to give young people a platform to come up with engineering solutions to creating a net zero future

•    Engineering fake meat to encourage veganism and reduce consumption of fast food

Ms Nabeela Sohail, a Physics teacher from Azhar Academy Girls School said: “Schools COP is such an amazing event, at the right time, as we are already facing an energy crisis. Students come up with immensely brilliant ideas to the challenges we face and it is vital that these voices are heard.

Given the vital role of engineers in achieving net zero, students also considered how to encourage more young people into engineering careers. Suggestions, which will now be considered by the organisers of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week and campaign partners, include:

•    Improved visibility and marketing of engineering careers, for example,  through social media

•    More engineers visiting schools

•    Engineering can’t be learned from reading books – it needs to be seen in action and students need to be able to experience it, feel it and have a go at it, in a hands-on way

Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, which organises Tomorrow’s Engineers Week said: “These passionate young people looked beyond what they – and we – can do at an individual level to discuss how engineering, science and innovation can help achieve net zero.

I was impressed by the level of thought that had gone into their ideas. Some converged with technologies currently being explored, such as ocean fertilisation to improve carbon capture by marine plants. Others were more unexpected, but gave me pause for thought on whether there might be a fruitful innovation there, such as the idea of self-sufficient agri-biomes for farmed animals to capture methane as an energy source.

They clearly saw the role of science and engineering in addressing the challenge. It is vital that we convey to all young people the range of creative, problem solving and exciting engineering roles that they could have in the future, and through them contribute to achieving net zero and a greener world.

The ninth Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (#TEWeek21) takes place from 8 to 12 November 2021, with a lesson plan and teaching resources available for schools to take part in the Schools COP discussions. A packed calendar will see engineering professionals showcase the impact their jobs have on meeting net zero. Meanwhile, institutions, employers and schools will come together to deliver inspiring activities to give young people the opportunity to discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

For more information on how to get involved in Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, please visit:

To watch the Tomorrow’s Engineers Week Schools COP Summit and have your say on the recommendations, visit: or

About Tomorrow’s Engineers Week

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (#TEWeek21) takes place from 8-12 November 2021 and highlights to young people that engineering is a creative, problem solving, exciting career that improves the world around us and is playing an active part in achieving net zero. Tomorrow’s Engineers Week is led by EngineeringUK. To find out how to get involved, visit:

About EngineeringUK

EngineeringUK is a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with the engineering community to inspire tomorrow’s engineers. We lead the engagement programmes: The Big Bang, Robotics Challenge and Energy Quest, and help schools bring STEM to life through real-world engineering via Neon. We bring engineering careers inspiration and resources together through Tomorrow’s Engineers and manage The Code, which drives change at scale to increase the number and diversity of young people choosing academic and vocational pathways into engineering. We base everything we do on evidence and share our insight widely.

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