Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

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The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the largest pre-college scientific research event in the world,[1] and is owned and administered by the Society for Science & the Public[2] a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, DC.[3] Each May, more than 1500 students from roughly 70 countries and territories compete in the fair for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips and the grand prizes, including one $75,000 and two $50,000 college scholarships. All prizes together amount to over $4,070,000.[4] Two awards ceremonies are held including: Special Awards Organization Presentation (which now includes the Government Awards Presentations) and the Grand Awards Ceremony. The International Science and Engineering Fair was founded in 1950 by Science Service (now the Society for Science & the Public) and has been sponsored by the Intel Corporation since 1997. As of 2012, seven ISEF alumni went on to win Nobel Prizes, with successful ISEF veterans including Jack Andraka and inventor Alex Deans.[5]


Although it is an international event, the United States almost always hosts it (the 1995 fair was held Hamilton, Ontario, Canada). Locations for fairs through 2019 have been decided:

2005: Phoenix, Arizona, May 8–14.

2006: Indianapolis, Indiana, May 7–12.

2007: Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 13–19.

2008: Atlanta, Georgia, May 11–17.

2009: Reno, Nevada, May 10–15.

2010: San Jose, California, May 9–14.

2011: Los Angeles, California, May 8–13.

2012: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 13–18.

2013: Phoenix, Arizona, May 12–17.

2014: Los Angeles, California, May 11–16.

2015: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 10-15.

2016: Phoenix, Arizona, May 8-13.

2017: Los Angeles, California, May 14-19.

2018: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 13-19.

2019: Phoenix, Arizona, May 12-17.[6]

Contestants and competition[edit]

Contestants are selected from regional, district, and state ISEF affiliated fairs. These fairs usually encompass multiple states or entire regions of a country. The regional fair committee is responsible for managing the fair when their city hosts the event.

Individual science projects and team science projects both compete for prizes. Teams are composed of two to as many as four high school students (grades 9-12).

The structure of the competition is as follows:

  • Sunday: Arrival, project setup, fixing Display and Safety violations, and pin exchange
  • Monday: Continual arrival and setup, opening ceremony
  • Tuesday: Final project clearance
  • Wednesday: Awards judging over 3 sessions, with both scheduled and unscheduled interviews
  • Thursday: Public visitation day, special awards ceremony
  • Friday: Grand awards ceremony, project teardown

Additionally, time is set aside for students to experience the host city, with ISEF coordinating signups for various tours and activities. A significant component of the program is social, as students interact with each other during mixers and ceremonies. Throughout much of the week, various seminars are also held for students, mentors, and teachers.


  • Gordon E. Moore Award: $100,000 scholarship, given to the top of the Best of Category Award winners, selected on the basis of innovative research and potential of the project to have an impact in the particular field and the world as a whole.
  • Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award: $ 50,000 award presented by Intel and SSP to two Best in Category projects. Previous winners include Henry Lin and Eesha Khare.
  • Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS Award: all expense trip paid trip to the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar, and attendance to the Nobel Prize ceremonies.
  • European Union Contest for Young Scientists: All expense paid trip to European Union Contest.
  • Intel Best of Category Awards: Category winners are awarded a $5,000 scholarship; their school and the fair they represent are awarded a $1,000 grant.[7]

ISEF also used to hold a "People's Choice Award" to allow the public to vote for its favorite entries.[8]

Intel Science Talent Search[edit]

The Intel Science Talent Search is a related but separate science research competition for high school seniors studying in the United States. Begun in 1942 as a partnership with Westinghouse then in 1998 with Intel, Society for Science and the Public, a Washington-based nonprofit organization selects 40 contestants annually to present each's original research to the general public and members of the National Academy of Sciences.[9]


External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Intel International Science and Engineering Fair". Intel. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "About". Society for Science and the Public. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mission and History". Society for Science and the Public. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "FAQ about the Intel ISEF". Society For Science & the Public. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "About Intel ISEF". Society For Science. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Intel ISEF grand awards. (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2012, from
  8. ^ "Intel ISEF People's Choice Awards". Intel ISEF. Retrieved July 12, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Intel Science Talent Search". Society for Science and the Public. Retrieved November 19, 2009.