Science Competitions

Every year, more than 9 million students in grades K–12 enter a science competition. Of those, only several thousand students in grades 9–12 participate in the topmost levels of competition. These prestigious competitions include:

  • BioResearch Academy Summer Camp

    • Since the inaugural program in 2017, BioResearch Academy’s mission has been to enlighten young, motivated biological scientists on thinking creatively about research problems. It aims to inspire the next generation of researchers through transformative instruction and social learning within an intimate community of like-minded peers.

    • Use the Referral Code “BioOlympiads” and get a free book, “How to prepare for the biology olympiad and science competitions” by Martyna Petrulyte.


  • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF): For high school students only, who must first qualify at an affiliated fair. Top prize is a $50,000 scholarship.
  • Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS): A competition for high school seniors. Top prize is a $100,000 scholarship.
  • Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology: A competition for high school students. Top prize is a $100,000 scholarship.
  • Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS): A competition for high school students only. Regional winners proceed to a national competition.
  • International BioGENEius Challenge: For high school students only; recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. Process is state, national, international; hosted by the Biotechnology Institute. Top prize is a $7,500 cash award.
  • Google Science Fair: The Google Science Fair is an online science competition open to students ages 13-18 from around the globe. Top prize is a $50,000 scholarship.
  • Some of the larger state and regional fairs.

Check out the websites for videos and much more information. Each of these competitions is distinctly different, but they all have extremely high standards for success, generally far beyond what is expected at other levels of competition. So, if you are in middle school or junior high school, we hope you aspire to participate in these fairs, but don’t worry about your current project meeting the same standards. Virtually all of the participants in the top competitions “worked their way up” from much simpler projects when they were younger!

Other opportunities:

DANA Foundation Neuroscience Project contest:





Opportunities for Students/Classes

1) National Youth Science Camp – application: information: This is a fabulous 4 week long, residential, all-expenses paid, summer science bonanza for graduating seniors. Those involved speak very highly of it, especially getting to know interesting people from around the country. Wisconsin can send two delegates. Applications are due by Feb 17, 2016.

2) Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge – Students in grades 5-8 are asked to propose a new invention or solution to an everyday problem, and explain their solution in a one-to-two minute video. Parents/guardians must register their child. The grand prize winner receives $25,000, though there will other finalists, and a winner from each state will receive a $250 technology package.

3) Free field trip transportation to Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC), Monona, WI – During the month of January, you and your students can get free transportation to the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. For a list of programs, visit their website:, click on Programs, then click on School Programs.

4) Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision – Student teams envision a technology 20 years from now. Categories are K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. The extensive project write-up and presentation, which could certainly be linked to your science standards, is due Feb 1st .

5) EngineerGirl Essay Contest – In this contest open to boys and girls, students write about a new technology and how it can improve safety, health, well-being, and/or sustainability. Due Feb 1, 2016. Grade banded 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.

6) MIT Research Science Institute for Juniors – During the summer after their junior year, students can participate in this prestigious summer STEM institute from June 26 to Aug 6 at MIT. The only cost is travel to get there and back. Very high academic qualifications are required.

Medical/Healthcare Opportunities:

Camp Cardiac is a one week (8/1 – 8/5) medical career/studies program for students 15 and older, located at the NYU/Langone Medical center in Manhattan. The cost is $800 (scholarships available, & must be applied for by April 4). Camp Neuro is a similar one week program focusing on neuroscience. The cost is $800, with scholarships available. The application deadline for both programs is April 25. – learn more at these links:

The Perry Initiative offers one-day programs for girls (currently in 10th grade or higher) interested in medicine, science, or engineering, with a focus on the latest technologies in the field of orthopedic medicine. The application deadline for the next program, which takes place on May 14 at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, is April 14; learn more and apply at this link:

Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan is offering free biology-related summer courses to 9th, 10th, and 11th-graders, and also structured summer hospital internships to current high school juniors who are economically disadvantaged (free/reduced lunch) or from under-represented demographic groups (AfricanAmerican, Latino, Native American). The application deadline for all their programs is April 8. Learn more about these two programs and apply via these links: ntapplication.pdf

Bronx residents: 10th and 11th-grade students who live in the Bronx are eligible for summer medical internships in that borough. The initial application deadline is April 1. Learn more and apply at these links:

New: Sigma Camp is a one-week math/science camp in Connecticut scheduled for 8/14-8/21. Students up to 16 years old may apply, and the cost is $1,150, with some limited financial aid available – the application deadline is April 18. Learn more at:

The Google Science Fair welcomes entries from high school students. The application deadline is May 18 – learn more at:

The Manhattan College (in Riverdale) Summer Institute in Engineering takes place from 7/18-7/21 and is open to all students. The cost is $100, and the deadline to apply is April 15 – learn more and apply at:

Oceanography: The SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx offers a ten-day program of classes and lab/fieldwork studying oceanography. All current 9th-11th graders are eligible, and the cost is $400 for the 6/27 – 7/8 sessions. Learn more at:

Google Science Fair

The Google Science Fair is one of the best-known international student science competitions. It is open to students aged 13 to 18.


eCYBERMISSION is a web-based competition open to students from grades 6 to 9. Teams must use scientific, mathematical and engineering principles in order to solve a problem stemming from one of the following mission challenge categories: alternative sources of energy, food, health and fitness, forces and motion, robotics, technology, national security and safety and the environment.

Junior Solar Sprint

The Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) is a free educational program for students in the 5th through 8th grades. Entrants are required to conceptualise, construct and then race their own solar-powered cars. The aim is to use science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills to create the fastest, best-crafted solar vehicle possible.

Young Mind Awards

The Young Mind Awards is a global compeition that focuses on promiting design engineering and research at the middle, high school and undergraduate levels. The competition spans five categeories: wireless, medical, research and development, electromechanical/mechanical and electronic.

Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS)

Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS) is a one-day annual competition open to middle and high school students. During the competition, students apply their mathematical and scientific knowledge in order to help solve real-world engineering challenges.

MIT THINK Competition

The THINK Scholars Program is an educational outreach initiative that aims to promote the spheres of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by funding and supporting projects developed by students at the high school level. The program is run by undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is sponsored by technology companies and educational organizations.

Desitnation Imagination

Destination Imagination is a worldwide competition open those kindergarten through university level. Students form teams of up to 7 members, select their preferred challenge and work together to develop a innovative and creative solution.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF)

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. It draws on students who have participated in regional sciencie fairs within the Intel ISEF-affiliated network and provides them with the opportunity to showcase their independent research. Substantial prizes and scholarships are awarded.
Zero Robotics

Zero Robotics is a programming competition in which the robots in question are SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) inside the International Space Station. The competition has two divisions: the first is the the High School Tournament, focused on students in grades 9-12; the second is the 5-week Middle School Summer Program, which takes place at various locations across the United States.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl®

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl® is an academic competition designed to examine middle and high school students’ knowledge across a variety of science and mathematics areas. Teams compete against one another in a rapid question-and-answer format, and are tested on a range of subject areas including chemistry, biology, Earth science, phsyics, mathematics, energy and more.

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams™

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams™ are made up of high school students, mentors and teachers who are awarded funds needed to invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their own choosing. A new program, JV InvenTeams (for 9th – 10th grade students) is designed to help develop young people’s skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through invention-based design activities.

The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology

The Siemens Competition aims to promote excellence in mathematics, science and technology. High school students may submit either individual or team research projects to regional and national levels of the competition. College scholarships are awarded to winners.

Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) Program

JSHS is open to students from grades 9 -12 interested in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Entrants submit their original (field-based, experimental, observational or applied) research project before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers.


ExploraVision is a science competition in which teachers sponsor and lead students in groups of 2-4 as they simulate real research and development. The aim of the competition is to envision what a current technology might look like in 20 years’ time. The competition is open to K – 12 students enrolled in public, private or home schools in the United States and Canada and is open to all interest, skill and ability levels.

Neuroscience Research Prize

This award was established to encourage US students in grades 9 – 12 to explore the brain and nervous system through laboratory research.

FIRST Programs

The mission of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is to engage young people ahed K – 12 in programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills. Programs on offer include The FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competiton, among others.

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is open to students in grades 5 – 8 and asks entrants to come up with innovative solutions to solve everyday engineering and science issues.

BioGENEius Challenges

The BioGENEius Challenges provide high school students with a chance to compete and be recognized for excellent research in the sphere of biotechnology. The three challenges in which students can compete are the Global Healthcare Challenge (relating to medical biotechnology), the Global Sustainability Challenge (agricultural biotechnology) and the Global Environment Challenge (industrial/environmental biotechnology).

Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge

The Conrad Challenge is an annual, multi-phase competition in innovation and entrepreneurship. The competition seeks interesting and viable solutions across four areas, namely: cyber technology and security, energy and environment, health and nurtition and aerospace and aviation.

Future Engineers

Future Engineers is an educational and design platform that hosts and develops challenges for young innovators and engineers.