Is anything possible young Aussie inventors say yes

Australia’s best and brightest STEM talent are proving anything is possible.


From harnessing the power of microbial fuel cells to showing how artificial intelligence can combat pollution, a group of young school-age scientists and engineers were recognised late last year for their ingenuity in the BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards.

For over 40 years the Awards have been engaging and developing the next generation of innovators who want to tackle and solve the world’s big challenges.

And at their core is a fundamental belief in how a STEM education is critical for teaching children to be inquisitive, use critical thinking to solve problems and ensure they’re equipped for the future. 

That’s what excites BHP Chief Technical Officer Laura Tyler.

Speaking to the finalists at the virtual event in December 2021, Laura said the students had shown a thirst for knowledge and a desire to change the world and make it a better place.

‘In a world where we face many significant environmental and societal challenges, we need this generation to be curious, creative and innovative,’ said Laura. 

‘At BHP we see the critical role STEM skills play every day, particularly as we enhance our capabilities and adopt new technologies to continually improve our business.’

Next month seven of these brilliant young minds will be showcasing their research alongside students from 75 countries at the virtual Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF).

Like Sam Rogers from Proserpine State High School in Queensland.

Sam’s project is a robot arm powered by artificial intelligence and designed to sort complex electronic waste, like mobile phones, for recycling. Using a webcam and various machine learning algorithms, the waste is identified for responsible recycling quickly and with a high degree of accuracy. With the prototype sorting over 3.1 million electronic items annually but only costing $286 to power, it’s a solution that saves time, money and the environment.

The Awards also acknowledge the critical role of teachers in engaging and supporting students to embrace and pursue STEM subjects and careers, and so each year outstanding contributions made by STEM teachers to science education are recognised.

Read more about student projects and teacher finalists in the latest CSIRO blog.

The Awards are managed by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, in partnership with the BHP Foundation.