Every year, tens of millions of students participate in science fairs around the globe but only about 1,800 earn the right to compete for nearly $5 million awards bestowed each May at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). In 2021, the competition will take place virtually in order to keep our finalists, volunteers, judges and staff safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
More than 600 individual and team awards are presented every year at the Regeneron ISEF. Each entry is judged at least four times with category awards given in first, second, third and fourth place. Awards are $3,000, $1,500, $1,000 and $500 respectively in each of the 21 categories. The top winner of the Regeneron ISEF receives an award of $75,000, with the next top two winners each receiving $50,000. Additional awards worth approximately $4 million are provided through the Regeneron ISEF Special Awards program, and include tuition scholarships, summer internships, scientific field trips, and laboratory equipment. They are provided by about 70 corporate, professional, educational and government sponsors annually.
1. Each ISEF-affiliated fair may send to ISEF the number of projects allocated and committed to within their affiliation agreement.
2. A student must be selected by an ISEF-affiliated fair, and meet both of the following:
a. be in grades 9–12 or equivalent; and
b. not have reached age 20 on or before May 1 preceding ISEF.
3. English is the official language of ISEF. Student project boards and abstracts must be in English.
4. Each student is only allowed to enter one project. That project may include no more than 12 months of continuous research and may not include research performed before January 2020.
NOTE: Projects that were conducted between January 2020 and March 2020 that competed at an ISEF-affiliate fair, may not be presented in 2021 without meeting the continuation criteria.
5. Team projects must have no more than three members. Teams competing at ISEF must be composed of the original members who competed at the ISEF-affiliated fair and must all meet ISEF eligibility.
6. Students may compete in only one ISEF affiliated fair, except when proceeding to a state/national fair affiliated with ISEF from an affiliated regional fair.
7. Projects that are demonstrations, 'library' research or informational projects, 'explanation' models are not recommended or appropriate for ISEF.
8. All sciences and engineering disciplines are represented at ISEF and projects compete in one of the 22 categories. Review a complete list of categories and sub-categories with definitions.
9. A research project may be a part of a larger study performed by professional scientists, but the project presented by the student must be only their own portion of the complete study.