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Overview of the Top 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:

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!

Summary Information
  Grade Levels Eligibility Format Teams Allowed?
Intel ISEF 9-12 Qualify by being a top winner at an affiliated science fair from around the world Science fair board + judging interviews Yes
Siemens Competition 9-12 for teams

12 for individuals
Open. U.S. students. Application deadline October Research paper + presentations for finalists Yes
Intel STS 12 Open. U.S. students. Application deadline November Research paper + interviews for 40 finalists Individuals only
JSHS 9-12 Open. U.S. students. Deadlines vary by region (usually December/January). Research paper + oral presentations at each level Yes
Google Science Fair 8-12 Open. Students worldwide ages 13-18. Deadline May Online project submission + judging interviews for finalists Yes

There are additional rules to determine whether your research is eligible. For example, the Siemens Competition does not allow social and behavioral science research projects. Check the competition websites for current rules.