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QinetiQ hosts its 13th School’s Powerboat Challenge


Conrad Manning

This month, we once again hosted the annual Schools’ Powerboat Challenge in which teams from local schools are asked to design, build and race remote control model powerboats.


On Friday 3rd November QinetiQ, for the thirteenth time, hosted its School’s Powerboat Challenge at its Haslar facility in Gosport, with schoolchildren from 9 different schools in the local region and surrounding areas taking part. The event was run by the Haslar team and the local STEM community with support from QinetiQ’s early careers team.

The event inspires the young and curious minds of schoolchildren to explore the thrilling world of engineering and discover the unique power of maritime, giving students the opportunity to unleash their creativity and implement science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a real-world setting.

We were delighted to be joined at the event by members of the Royal Navy including Captain Jo Deakin and Commodore Steve Prest, MP for Gosport Dame Caroline Dinenage, and industry experts from The Royal Institution of Naval Architects, Portsmouth International Port and QinetiQ senior leadership team. Ideal for the Gatsby benchmarks, the children were able to ask them about careers in fields such as naval architecture, technology, engineering, mathematics and project management.


Chris Groves, Underwater Business Development Lead, QinetiQ said:

“I never cease to be amazed by our young people’s incredible ingenuity, design prowess and perseverance. The powerboat designs were all different this year and they each performed on the water and had some aspect that got our professional Hydrodynamicists thinking!

The enthusiasm and sense of fun was infectious and I was proud to have been a small part in this educational and entertaining STEM event.”

Sam Healy, Group Director, Environmental, Social and Governance, QinetiQ added:

"The powerboat challenge is one of our flagship STEM outreach events and fantastic way for young people to visit a world class facility, meet inspirational scientists and engineers and have the opportunity to get some hands on experience in designing and building a working prototype, working as a team. We know these events have real impact and I‘m very proud of the amazing team at Haslar who deliver it."

Each year students produce faster and more thoughtful designs and this year was no different. Whilst the equipment and introductions were the same, there were boats of all shapes, styles and performance and I am always amazed at their ability to think outside the box! Even though it was a competition pitting schools against each other, everyone from the VIPs to the Year 7s had a brilliant time with my personal highlight being the head of Platform Design and Life Support getting stuck in to design development with one of the schools! I’m already looking forward to the next edition.


Results and Awards:

  • 1st Farnham Heath End School
  • 2nd Cowes Enterprise College
  • 3rd Weston Secondary School


  • Sustainability Award presented by Chris Hatter (Portsmouth International Port) – Farnham Heath End School
  • Presentation Award presented by Captain Jo Deakin (HMS Sultan) – Bournemouth School for Girls
  • Judges Award presented by John Bonnar (QinetiQ Chief Engineer Maritime) – Cowes Enterprise College
  • Perseverance Award presented by Simon Cooper (QinetiQ Business Development Director UK Defence) – The Key Education Centre

Participating Schools:

  • Eggar's school
  • Weston Secondary School
  • The Henry Beaufort School
  • Bournemouth School for Girls
  • Farnham Heath End School
  • Cowes Enterprise College
  • Testbourne Community School
  • The Key Education Centre