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Mintlaw book place in Tennessee after ROV win

Mintlaw book place in Tennessee after ROV win

Pupils from Mintlaw Academy have the won the MATE Scotland ROV competition held at Robert Gordon University (RGU) after impressing judges by successfully completing a series of underwater missions.

The aspiring engineers were among five secondary school teams from Aberdeenshire, Dundee and Moray who faced off at RGU to put their robots through a series of underwater missions for a place in an international event in the USA.

The win by the Mintlaw ROV team means they will go on to represent Scotland and compete in the MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education Center) World Championship which is scheduled to take place in Kingsport, Tennessee from 20 – 22 June 2024.

This year, the competition mission tasks focused on protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity and included observing underwater assets for data collection and administering probiotics for diseased coral.

Grove Academy (Dundee), Keith Grammar School, Peterhead Academy and Speyside High School were the other schools that entered teams with their own Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) which they built and fitted with the appropriate sensors, tools and other technology required to complete the underwater tasks.   

Dr Rosslyn Shanks, MATE Scotland Regional co-ordinator from RGU’s School of Engineering, said: “The standard of this year’s competition was extremely high, and all the pupils can be proud of the ROVs they built plus their hard work in the pool and with their presentations and marketing displays.

“It has been fantastic to witness all the teams working together and it is clear there a real interest in engineering which is great for the event and also RGU’s own efforts to widen access to higher education.

“We are grateful for the industry support we have in terms of judges; including Serica Energy, Subsea7, TechnipFMC, Seaway7 & BW Offshore, as well as university colleagues, but most importantly our donors, which this year were Serica Energy, Harbour Energy and Film-Ocean. Without this financial support the competition would not run, nor could we plan for expansion to encourage more young people in STEM and so I would encourage other companies to consider supporting this fabulous MATE ROV competition.”

Ali Hynd, Depute Head Teacher at Mintlaw Academy, said: “All the staff and pupils at Mintlaw ROV are over the moon to have won the Scottish Regional heat of MATE ROV, and are so excited with a trip to Kingsport, Tennessee. This has been a two-and-a-half-year project with this group and their dreams have been realised by winning the competition. Special thanks should go to RGU for hosting the competition and all the supporters both for the competition and the followers of Mintlaw ROV. This has been an amazing year for these young people, and this tops it off.”

A spokesperson for Serica Energy said: “Education, with support for our local communities is one of the main tenets of Serica’s team Values, so we were delighted to support the excellent MATE ROV Scotland contest.

“Our ESG commitment is absolute, so this year’s themes of protecting the ecosystem and its biodiversity chimed well with our team. We believe that STEM initiatives such as this bolster confidence in the participants and can be inspirational as young people plan their futures. We wish Mintlaw Academy every success in their trip to the finals in Tennessee.”

Duncan Smith, Film-Ocean Project Manager, said: “The ROV competition has provided a unique opportunity for young people to learn about ROV technology and how these systems are used in the real world. By applying engineering skills to solve challenges hands-on, the participants could reinforce their learning and have fun in the process.”

Graham Stewart, Subsea Projects Manager at Harbour Energy and an RGU alumnus, who attended the event said: “This competition is a fantastic opportunity for the next generation to gain practical skills that are directly applicable to the energy sector, as well as experience in team building, critical thinking and problem-solving.

“As a former subsea engineering student myself, I was thrilled to see so many young people, from all walks of life, diving into STEM right here on our doorstep. Well done to everyone who participated and best of luck to the team from Mintlaw Academy for the international event this summer.”

The MATE Scotland ROV competition was co-ordinated and hosted by RGU, and this year kindly supported by Serica Energy, Harbour Energy and Film-Ocean Ltd. Eventual winners were Mintlaw Academy’s Mintlaw ROV team, with ImpROVise from Keith Grammar School in second place, and Nemo from Grove Academy finishing third in the RANGER class.

Keith Grammar School won the Overall Teamwork Award with Mintlaw Academy securing the Safety Award. Mintlaw Academy and Speyside High School’ s Navigator classes each took home an Encouragement for Future Development Award. Grove Academy finished first in the NAVIGATOR class competition at the event which was held on 27 March. 

The aim of the competition is to inspire and challenge young people to learn and creatively apply STEM skills to solving real world problems in a way that strengthens their critical thinking, collaborator, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

The MATE Scotland ROV competition is searching for sponsorship for future events and any interested companies or individuals can contact

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