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 1 to 12 classrooms. The goal of these awards is to teach students about their respective curriculum points through the exploration and application of engineering and geoscience concepts to create something new or to solve an existing problem.

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

In celebration of APEGA's centennial in 2020, we will also be recognizing one recipient with the Centennial Innovation in Education Award. This award will provide up to $10,000 for a special project that meets all other Innovation in Education Award criteria and demonstrates exceptional community engagement and impact. More information about APEGA's Centennial celebrations will be available in Winter 2019.

Who Can Apply?

All educational, administrative, and support staff members currently employed by a grade 1 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.

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 1 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 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021, 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.

Download the Innovation in Education Awards info package (ZIP)


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.

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.


Sign up for an information webinar:

*More information webinars will be scheduled soon. Please check back for more details!

Register for a webinar

Book a call with us for personalized feedback:

  • January 31, 2020: between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.

Register for a time slot


For any additional questions, please email us at [email protected].