Science Buddies - Astellas Chemistry Contest

Banner for the 2012 Science Buddies - Astellas Rosalind Franklin Chemistry Contest

2012 Science Buddies - Astellas Rosalind Franklin Chemistry Contest. Encouraging student innovation and excellence in chemistry.

"Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated."
Rosalind Franklin, 1940

Win Big with Your Chemistry Science Project!

Are you working on an exciting chemistry, food science, or biotechnology project for your local science fair, a school project, or simply because you love science? Enter the Science Buddies—Astellas Chemistry Project Contest for a chance to win!

The contest is open to U.S. students in grades 6-12. To enter, submit photos or other documentation of your chemistry science project poster board, as detailed below.

Who was Rosalind Franklin?

Rosalind Elsie Franklin was an important female chemist whose research using x-ray diffraction helped lead to the identification of the structure of DNA. Through the Science Buddies—Astellas Rosalind Franklin Chemistry Contest, Astellas hopes to inspire young female scientists to pursue chemistry research and career paths.

To learn more about Rosalind Franklin, visit: The Rosalind Franklin Papers and Rosalind Franklin.

Official Prize Criteria & Rules

These rules and regulations are based on the official rules of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), with the permission of Science Service, the organization that runs the Intel ISEF. In case of any discrepancy, omission, or other inadequacy of the rules and guidelines, Science Buddies, in its sole discretion, will make a decision to resolve the issue.


Chemistry projects submitted for the Science Buddies—Astellas Chemistry Contest can be based on a Science Buddies Chemistry Project Idea or a project of the student's own design.

Categories and Prizes

Category Winner Description Grade Range Prize
High School: Top female student entry The top student chemistry project by a female student in grades 9-12. 9-12 $500 cash, awarded by Astellas
High School: Top male student entry The top student chemistry project by a male student in grades 9-12. 9-12 $500 cash
Middle School: Top female student entry The top student chemistry project by a female student in grades 6-8. 6-8 $250 cash
Middle School: Top male student entry The top student chemistry project by a male student in grades 6-8. 6-8 $250 cash
Random drawing Single winner of random drawing from all entrants. 6-12 $50 gift card to

Science Buddies reserves the right to withhold awards if no projects meet minimum standards.


  1. Legal United States resident or U.S. Citizen.
  2. Any student in grades 6-12 (from any type of school: private, public, home school, etc.).
  3. If students are competing as a team, they should send one entry for the entire team.
  4. Participation assumes parental permission. The student and his or her parents must take full responsibility for the safety of the student's experiment.
  5. Before receiving an award, the student and his or her parents must agree in writing that the project may be published online, photographed, filmed, or taped, and that Science Buddies may use such photographs, film, or tape, and the student's name, school, grade level, and project description in connection with the Science Buddies website and the promotion of Science Buddies, and that the student and his family will not make any claim for invasion of privacy or any other legal right in connection with such uses by Science Buddies.

Individual or Team

Students may compete individually or in teams of up to three (3) students. If a team has a winning project, only one prize will be awarded. Team members are responsible for dividing up the prize amongst themselves.

In the event that a mixed-gender team has an equal number of male and female students (1 boy and 1 girl), the team must designate in which category (male or female) they would like to compete. For mixed-gender teams of three students, teams with a majority (2 out of 3 students) of female teammates will be placed in the female category, and teams with a majority of male teammates will be placed in the male category.

Ethics Statement

Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. Plagiarism, use or presentation of other researcher's work as one's own, and fabrication or falsification of data will not be tolerated. We have tools to check for fraud and plagiarism, and we will use them. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition.


  1. Students (or teams) must undertake one research project, of their own choosing, in the field of chemistry. The project may follow (but is not required to follow) the suggested "experimental procedure" or "possible variations" explained in one of the projects listed on the Chemistry Projects home page.
  2. If a student's (or team's) project idea requires SRC approval (What is SRC approval?), the student (or team) must send an e-mail to with a description of the project idea and why it needs SRC approval. The student (or team) must alert the Science Buddies staff before proceeding with the project so that the Science Buddies staff can send instructions for how to fill out and return additional forms (safety assurances, etc).
  3. Every student (or team) must complete a project display board describing the project. The final contest submission must include either digital photos, word processor documents, or PDF documents of all the following parts of the project display board:
    • Title
    • Abstract
    • Question
    • Variables & hypothesis
    • Materials list
    • Experimental procedure
    • Data analysis including data charts and/or graphs
    • Conclusions
    • Acknowledgments
    • Bibliography
    (Note: Students or teams may submit full research paper or journal in addition to the documentation from the project display board.)

    Word processor documents must be saved in Microsoft Word (.doc) or plain text (.txt) format. To be valid, an entry must contain all of the above project display board parts. More information about creating a project display board can be found at

  4. If any part of the student's (or team's) experiment is conducted at a research institution or in an industrial setting (e.g., universities, medical centers, research labs), the student (or team) must print the ISEF Form 1C: Registered Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form. The form is available at The student (or team) must have the supervising scientist from the organization fill out and sign this form after experimentation and send it, postmarked on or before April 15, 2012.

Deadlines and How to Submit

  1. Projects from students under the age of 13 (or teams consisting of members under the age of 13) must be submitted by either a parent or teacher. Students age 13 and older may submit their own projects.
  2. Completed entries can be e-mailed to with the subject line: Chemistry Contest Submission. In addition to the information stated above under "Requirements," the body of the submission e-mail should also include the following:
    • Student's (or team members') grade(s)
    • Student's gender (if a team, please list the gender for each team member; teams consisting of 1 male and 1 female must also decide in which category (male/female) they are competing)
    • Name of student's (or team's) school
    • Parent or teacher's name(s)
    • Parent or teacher's e-mail address(es)
  3. Entries must contain all information to be entered in the contest.
  4. Entries must be submitted on or before 7PM Pacific Standard Time (PST), April 1, 2012. Date stamps on the e-mail will be checked to ensure eligibility.


Each student (or team) may enter only one project which covers research done over a maximum, continuous 12-month period between May 2011 and April 2012.

Judging Criteria

  1. Creative Ability (30)
    1. Does the project show creative ability and originality in the questions asked (the approach to solving the problem, the analysis or interpretation of the data)?
    2. If using an existing Science Buddies Project Idea, does the project go beyond the description in any way or show more ingenuity or effort than might be expected?
  2. Scientific Thought (30)
    1. Is the problem stated clearly and unambiguously?
    2. Was there a procedural plan for obtaining a solution?
    3. Are the variables clearly recognized and defined?
    4. If controls were necessary, did the student recognize their need and were they correctly used?
    5. Are there adequate data to support the conclusions?
    6. Does the finalist recognize the data's limitations?
    7. Does the finalist understand the project's ties to related research?
    8. Does the finalist have an idea of what further research is warranted?
    9. Did the finalist cite scientific literature, or only popular literature?
  3. Thoroughness (15)
    1. Was the purpose carried out to completion within the scope of the original intent?
    2. How completely was the problem covered?
    3. Are the conclusions based on a single experiment or replication?
    4. How complete are the project notes?
    5. Is the finalist aware of other approaches or theories?
    6. How much time did the finalist spend on the project?
    7. Is the finalist familiar with scientific literature in the studied field?
  4. Skill (15)
    1. Does the finalist have the required laboratory, computation, observational and design skills to obtain supporting data?
    2. Where was the project performed (i.e., home, school laboratory, university laboratory)? If any part of the student's experiment is conducted at a research institution or in an industrial setting (e.g. universities, medical centers, research labs), the student must print, fill out, and return the ISEF Form 1C: Registered Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form. (See Requirements above.)
    3. Did the student receive assistance from parents, teachers, scientists or engineers?
    4. Where did the equipment and supplies come from?
  5. Clarity (10)
    1. How clearly does the finalist discuss his/her project and explain the purpose, procedure, and conclusions?
    2. Are the important phases of the project presented in an orderly manner?
    3. How clearly is the data presented?
    4. How clearly are the results presented?
    5. Did the finalist perform all the project work, or did someone help?


Winners will be alerted by Science Buddies in May of 2012. Winning entries will also be identified on the Science Buddies website in May 2012.


The 2012 Science Buddies—Astellas Rosalind Franklin Chemistry Contest is sponsored jointly by Science Buddies and the Astellas USA Foundation. The Astellas USA Foundation is a sponsor of Science Buddies chemistry resources.


Children and students of Science Buddies' staff and employees are not eligible to participate in the contest.

Free science fair projects.