APEGA Innovation in Education Awards

Supporting Experiential Learning in Alberta Schools


The APEGA Innovation in Education Awards enables Alberta educators to incorporate meaningful, educational experiences in their Grade K to 12 classrooms. The goal of these awards is for students to leverage engineering and geoscience concepts to positively impact their community. Working with a group in their community, students will explore engineering, geoscience and curriculum concepts through the creation of a prototype that meets a need or solves a problem for this group.

Awards of up to $5,000 each, totalling $50,000, will be awarded to facilitate innovative engineering- and geoscience-focused classroom initiatives.

Applications closed

In light of the current circumstances relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021-22 APEGA Innovation in Education Awards have been cancelled.

Applications for the 2022-23 APEGA Innovation in Education Awards will open in September 2021.

Application requirements from previous years are provided for reference.

Check back soon for more details regarding the application process for the 2022-23 awards.


Who Can Apply?

All educational, administrative, and support staff members currently employed by a Grade K to 12 school or school board in Alberta are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be certified to teach in Alberta. Schools on the border of Alberta are eligible if their students are Alberta residents. Recipients must be in roles that enable them to complete the initiative with a large group of students and must have the full support of their school or school board.

What kind of project can win an Innovation in Education Award?

Check out some past recipients and media coverage of an award-winning project!

Get inspiration for your submission

Initiative Criteria

 Activities conducted through this award must:

  1. Be focused on engineering or geoscience.
    • Engineering is the application of scientific principles to develop comprehensive solutions to specific problems.
    • Geoscience encompasses many areas of study. For this award, the focus should be on geology and geophysics.
  2. Be carried out by at least one full class of Grade K to 12 students at the recipient's school.
    • This is not intended to be an enrichment program - it should engage at least one class of diverse students and diverse learners during regular school hours.
    • If you would like to run an initiative outside of a regular class (e.g., an after-school club), please contact [email protected] before submitting your application to discuss eligibility.
  3. Be student-led, hands-on, and engaging.
    • Your proposed schedule should include touchpoints where students have an opportunity to influence the direction of the project.
  4. Encourage student skill development while also teaching realistic and relevant applications of the engineering and geoscience fields.
  5. Have a positive and measurable effect on the class and the larger community outside the classroom, i.e., your project should also result in a deliverable that can be utilized by a community organization or group of individuals outside the school.
    • For example, past award recipients have engaged in the following community-benefitting initiatives:
      • programming a machine that automatically sorts recyclable plastics from non-recyclable items
      • developing devices to help senior centre residents with their daily challenges
      • studying conditions of a local water reservoir and presenting prototype solution to the city
      • creating informative trail signs about ecology and geology for a community trail
      • designing aquaponic systems to be donated to community centres
  6. Be completed between September and May, with a project duration of at least six months.

How We Choose Recipients

Recipients of the Innovation in Education Awards are selected by a panel of APEGA staff members and professional members, based on how well the proposed initiative meets the selection criteria.

For your project proposal to be selected, you must clearly meet all criteria and provide specific project details with demonstrable impacts while also incorporating extensive student choice. We recommend establishing a framework for your initiative that will allow you to meet all of the specific proposal criteria. Be sure to identify student choice points and how your students will influence this project within the scope of the final desired results. Address how your students might be able to change the scope of your project, and how you will adapt to these changes.

Review the Application Criteria  View the Evaluation Rubric

What constitutes engineering or geoscience?

What do we mean by "engineering and geoscience" concepts? Here are some informative resources to help guide the focus of your submission.

On the importance of engineering and geoscience in Alberta



Introduction to the professions - APEGBC


More about geology


More about geophysics


For even more videos about geoscience concepts, check out this YouTube channel.

Please note: Projects that consist solely of the creation of a makerspace, the completion of short, discrete projects, or the purchase of classroom equipment will typically not be accepted. However, if those activities/purchases are required for the completion of a larger initiative that meets the other criteria, then the submission will still be considered.

Your application should clearly define the overarching problem the students will be solving through the entire initiative, and how the makerspace, small activities, or classroom equipment purchase will contribute to that goal.

Application Process

There are two rounds in the application process.

  • There are three components to a successful application: a completed application form, a budget and timeline sheet, and a letter of school support. Using the online application form, you will provide basic information about yourself, your school, and your proposed initiative.

    Your application will be reviewed after the deadline, and if successful, you will move forward to Round Two.

    Review the Application Criteria  View the Evaluation Rubric

    Budget and Timeline Sheet

    You will need to fill in and submit a proposed budget and timeline of key milestones. You will be prompted to upload this file within the application form.

    Letter of School Support

    You will need to upload a letter of support from your school principal that addresses the following:
    1. How will the school administration support you in completing the initiative as described (e.g., will it make an in-kind donation or provide support staff or additional time and resources)?
    2. How does this initiative tie in with your school's or school board's goals?
  • If your application is selected to proceed, you will be notified after the deadline. In this round, you will be asked additional questions about your proposal that are intended to provide detailed information about your project planning process and requests for support.

    Interviews will be conducted through an online interviewing platform that will allow you to record video responses to our questions at your convenience.

Tentative Timelines

September 2021Applications Open
February 2022Round 1: Applications due
April 2022Round 2: Interviews
Successful Round 1 applicants will be asked to complete a 30-minute video interview between April 1, 2022 and April 30, 2022
May 2022Winners announced
June 2022Awards Gala: An opportunity to celebrate completed 2019/2020 initiatives and meet the 2022/2023 winners
September 2022 - May 2023Provide monthly updates
June 2023Final report due
Awards Gala: An opportunity to celebrate completed 2022/2023 initiatives and meet the 2023/2024 winners



If you are an award winner, starting September 2022, you will be asked to submit a brief project update by the last day of each month, as well as a final report. Recipients will be asked to provide photos and videos, timeline and budget updates, and initiative-specific metrics (such as the number of students engaged, the initiative's influence to date, and unexpected challenges or modifications to the initial plan).

The final report is due on June 1, 2023. This report must include a video featuring students summarizing the project's goals, progress, and final deliverables. Failure to submit sufficiently detailed progress reports by the necessary deadlines may result in award funding being withheld by APEGA.

In June 2022, we will invite winners of the 2019/2020 cycle to our annual awards gala. This event provides networking opportunities, showcases the current year's project, and recognizes both past and current award winners. Similarly, after completion of your Innovation in Education Award project, you will be recognized at an awards gala in June 2023!

Initiative Inspiration

Use the following ideas to kickstart your brainstorming. Remember, these are meant to be sources of inspiration and should not limit your creative process.

  • The Invisible Bicycle Helmet is a short documentary about Hövding, an airbag-style bicycle helmet that is hidden in a special collar. The documentary includes interviews with the helmet’s Swedish designers, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, who began developing Hövding while still in school.
  • Students create an app in partnership with a community organization that solves a problem affecting the community. Students learn coding and the organization gets a useful app to solve a problem.
  • Students create a device and correlated communication campaign to bring awareness to forest fire risks and actively prevent fires from starting.
  • Students travel to an area affected by Dutch Elm disease, learn to identify affected trees, map the location of diseased trees, and create a website to allow members of the public to add their sightings.

Terms and Conditions

  • Should the project require funds above those provided by APEGA and the school/school board, award recipients can utilize other funding sources to support their initiatives. Allocation of funds from various sources must be clearly outlined in the application.
  • Upon selection of the final Award winners, APEGA will inform recipients of the amount of funding approved for their project. The full amount will only be dispersed to schools after all project deliverables (including receipts) are submitted on time. If the recipient’s employment at the school ends during the term of the agreement, the funds will stay with the school, provided the initiative will be completed by an alternative staff member. If no substitute can be found, all funds must be returned to APEGA.
  • APEGA retains the right to withhold or withdraw funds if the initiative is not completed as described in the application form, or if reporting is not completed. This includes the provision of high-quality photos and videos and other deliverables as requested.
  • APEGA must be notified of significant changes to the initiative, and the recipient must receive APEGA’s written approval of the changes before proceeding.
  • All expenses must be incurred between September 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023.
  • An individual or school may apply more than once with different initiative proposals, but there can be only one recipient per school, per award year, and the amount received must be dedicated to a single initiative. Collaborative applications that include multiple teachers and classrooms are encouraged.
  • The award cannot be used to fund food, travel, or capital expenses (e.g., a class set of equipment or upgrades to school facilities) unless they are crucial to the completion of the initiative. Such expenses must be clearly outlined and justified in the proposed budget and approved by APEGA.
  • APEGA will not fund competition/event fees or travel to competitions/events. Teacher Professional Development course fees and associated costs will also not be covered.
  • The purchase of technology may be covered, but it must be economical as well as necessary for the completion of the initiative and approved by APEGA.


Please email us at [email protected] with the subject line "APEGA Innovation in Education Awards".