Entries have recently closed for a unique contest, in which the British National Space Centre (BNSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL), challenged students age 14 to 18 to design the best space experiment weighing 1kg or less. The winning design team will get a £100,000 budget, and the sponsors will arrange for its launch into orbit.
COMMENT: We need more opportunities like this - a relatively low-cost way to raise excitement about space and related fields among students with real, hands-on work they can see the results of. Actually, we need a LOT more of these. The CubeSat program provides a handy "bus" for a small experiment, and the National Science Foundation program described in my post of 3/4/08 (below) is a great start. Still, there aren't enough sponsored (read: funded) opportunities for students to build and launch space experiments, especially at the high school level. NASA and ESA, are you listening to me? (OK, I'm pretty sure they're not, but I'm still right.)