Science and Engineering Challenge
What is the Science and Engineering Challenge (SEC)?
The Science and Engineering Challenge (SEC) is a nationwide STEM outreach program presented by the University of Newcastle in partnership with communities, Rotary clubs, universities and sponsors. Through the SEC, students experience aspects of science and engineering which they would not usually see in their school environment.
The SEC is one of Australia's longest-running STEM engagement programs, built upon strong foundations and respectful, mutually beneficial partnerships. This event is run by the University of Newcastle and allows high school students in Years 9 and 10, the chance to experience how science and engineering can help to solve real-world problems in a fun, competitive setting. 
Teams of students from different schools compete against each other in a series of eight challenges. Qualifying teams compete in the State Finals, with a state champion school participating in the Science and Engineering Challenge National Final. More than 400,000 students have been involved in the SEC since the program began at the University of Newcastle in 2000.
Rotary has been a critical part of the SEC since its inception. The cooperation between Rotary and their communities is the key to ensuring successful events around Australia. In most regions, local Rotary clubs take the lead role in organising Challenge and Discovery Day events. They bring together local communities, businesses, schools, professional organisations and universities to support the Challenge financially and organisationally. 
Over 2,500 Rotarians also volunteer at events each year, which means many give up time from their jobs, businesses or families. One of the main reasons Rotary became involved with the SEC was because Rotary has a long history of working with young people, often in the area of the sciences.
In 2019, the national program involved more than 30,000 students from over 1,000 schools across Australia. More than half were in rural or remote regions of the country; 10% were from non-English speaking backgrounds, and 5% identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
Of the SEC participants surveyed in 2019:
  • 91% found the overall experience rewarding
  • 87% gained an appreciation of science and engineering courses.
SEC - Vision: Our vision is to inspire every Australian school student to create a future in science and engineering. 
SEC - Mission: Through the provision of meaningful, hands-on experiences we aim to inspire more young people to make a difference in the world by choosing a career in Science and Engineering. Science and Engineering. Create our future. Make a difference.
SEC - Core Values
1.      People: we value safety, inclusiveness, and teamwork. We respect individuals and are committed to empowerment and equity issues.
2.      Integrity: we value fairness, honesty, respect, and transparency.
3.      Involvement: we value broad community involvement including families, schools, charities, community groups, educational institutions,            professional organisations, businesses, industries, and governments.
4.      Innovation: we value creative and imaginative solutions.
5.      Excellence: we value professional, high-quality service and are committed to continuous improvement. We aim to be a leader in our field.
Science and Engineering Challenge was awarded the United Nations Day Honour for 2022. In recognition of the program’s longstanding efforts to advance inclusive and accessible STEM education and engagement in Australia, and alignment with the principles of science-based sustainable development, as defined by the UN.
The Commonwealth of Australia was a founding member of the United Nations and remains an active participant in the UN today. As the pre-eminent institution promoting the objectives of the UN in Australia, the purpose of UNAA is to inform, inspire and engage Australians to create a safer, fairer, more sustainable world. The prestigious UN Day Honour was established to recognise an individual or organisation in Australia that has made a significant contribution to the work and purpose of the UN.
2022 was designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD2022). UNAA NSW believes that, as a community-focused, partnership-based, interdisciplinary initiative designed to “inspire more young people to make a difference in the world”, The Science and Engineering Challenge exemplifies the spirit and ambitions of both IYBSSD2022 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
For more information on how to support this exciting project, please contact the SEC District chair: Jessica Gnata on 0402 004 658 or 
The 2023 SEC National Finals will be held in Sydney - please find national states/territories and local events on the following link:
A big ‘THANK YOU’ to our Rotary Clubs for their support for the 2023 SEC National Finals to be held in Sydney at Olympic Park on Friday 27 October. Your $100 donation will provide an unforgettable experience for our science students. Supporting their future journey through STEM related subjects in their HSC and moving them onto the National Youth Science Forum in their summer break between Year 11 and Year 12.
For more information on SEC please view the following links:
Handbook for Clubs & Schools - click here
Program Information - click here
Media Information - click here