This year's Mid Sussex STEM challenge was officially launched on Friday, October 4, and will see eight secondary schools and colleges take part.
The event was opened by local MP Nicholas Soames in the Mid Sussex District Council's council chamber at 2pm.
Mr Soames said: “I applaud this wonderful initiative by our local companies; since its inception three years ago, it has proved that, working together, industry and education are a force to bring future success and vision to our nation.”
Each team will be researching, building, protecting, designing and assembling a vehicle to a required specification that meets the challenges set across a predetermined course, whilst navigating the vehicle remotely as well as installing a video link.
The schools taking part include Sackville School, Imberhorne School, Oathall Community College, St. Paul’s Catholic College, Warden Park, Burgess Hill Academy, Downlands Community School and Beacon Academy.
Nick Green, Flowserve’s general manager, said: “Cyber security, technical creativity and advances are all of paramount importance to our national, regional and local economy.
"Engineering in the distant past conjured images of big, dirty and oily locations but nothing could be further than today’s highly skilled, intelligent and, very often, delicate mechanisms.
"We need to inspire a generation of talented engineers and scientists, to plug the gap across a myriad of other careers; students continuing STEM studies will have a choice of amazing and highly successful careers.”
Companies involved include Flowserve, PSM Marine Engineering, Nuffield Hospital, Bike Smart, Lloyds Banking and Edwards Vacuum.
Jonathan Ash Edwards, leader of the Mid Sussex District Council, said: “We’re incredibly lucky in Mid Sussex to have such successful senior schools and companies who are prepared to give up time and energy to work with them to ensure the skills of our next generation will stay in the locality and build on our strong economy.”