To be eligible for an award, students must carry out an investigation or design and construct an invention, innovative device or an ICT application, observing the following conditions:

1. Entry Deadline: ALL projects in all categories need to be submitted before midnight (AEST), Monday 29th August, 2022.

Projects received after this time will have their eligibility for a prize decided by the Young Scientist Appeals Committee. Details of the process can be found in the following documents.

  1. Young Scientist Appeals Process
  2. Young Scientist Appeals Form

Students, teachers and/or supervising adults are encouraged to submit projects early so uploading and internet issues do not result in a student project missing the deadline.

Due to restrictions because of the COVID-19 situation, we will not be accepting (nor requiring) any hard copies of documents, posters, models etc.) for Technology projects. 

Please refer to the How to Enter page for details of what is required for Technology projects.

2. Every attempt must be made to anonymise the project entered. The student name and school name MUST NOT appear anywhere in a student’s entry, including the logbook and file names. This includes a school’s handout or marking scheme, that is often pasted into the logbook. The only detail that needs to be included on the front page is the name of the project and the school year of the student(s). All student and school details are stored on a database that the judges can’t access.

3. Students may submit more than one entry into the Young Scientist Awards.

4.  Students entering the same project into multiple categories (science investigation, technology project or mathematical investigation) must submit each as a separate entry, following the specified rules for each category.

5. The investigation or innovation submitted must have commenced after 1 September 2021. (Students may reference data gathered prior to this date in their discussion but will only be judged on work carried out after 1 September 2021)

6. Entries may be submitted by teams of students. A team can consist of no more than three members. If teams comprise students from different age categories, the project needs to be entered into the age category of the oldest student.

7. Entries must be the student’s own work. It is the responsibility of the teacher or supervising adult to ensure that the project to be submitted is the work of the identified student or team. Students may receive support, however, all support must be clearly stated in an Acknowledgements list.

8. Documentation should be submitted outlining all phases of the investigation or innovation process, showing when research was conducted and when experimentation or data collection began. This will form part of the logbook (investigations) or folio (innovations).

9. There is no limit on the number of entries from a single school. Schools and teachers are strongly encouraged to conduct their own preliminary judging and only send in projects that are appropriate for state-level judging.

10. Students from other Australian states and territories can enter the STA NSW Young Scientist Awards and be in the running for any of the category or sponsored prizes. However, we strongly encourage students from outside NSW to enter their own state-based competitions and only enter STA NSW Young Scientist if their state-based competition does not have categories that support their project. They are not eligible to win any Grand Awards or represent STA NSW in subsequent national or international competitions.

11. Students from other countries are welcome to enter the STANSW Young Scientist Awards and be in the running for a place in any of the category prizes. If they are selected for a prize they will receive a Certificate stating their category placement and their name will be listed on our annual list of prize winners. They are not eligible to win any cash awards, Grand Awards or represent STA NSW in subsequent national or international competitions.

12. To be eligible for ISEF 2023 (TBC), students must have started their experimentation on or after 1 January 2022. Interested students should review the rules and guidelines for ISEF before commencing any experimentation or data collection. Only Year 9-12 students will be eligible for ISEF 2023 (TBC).

13. Students may submit a new investigation or innovation to Young Scientist each year. A project in the same field of study as a previously submitted project may be considered a new investigation if it is based upon new hypotheses. To be considered a new innovation, significant modifications need to have been made to the working model based on previous evaluations. Students must document how the additional work is new and different from a previous entry.

14. Projects involving animals must meet animal welfare guidelines for NSW.

15. If a student’s experimentation or testing involves interaction with human subjects (e.g. measuring human activity, in-depth questionnaires, surveys), approval must be given by an ethics committee constituted at their school. Students must provide evidence of the written consent of each subject and their parents/guardians (if the subject is less than 18 years old). Care must be taken to ensure the anonymity of each subject in all submitted documentation. A Young Scientist editable sample consent form is available.

16. Projects involving potentially hazardous biological agents, chemicals, activities or devices, must satisfy the requirements for chemical safety in schools (CSIS).

17. For projects involving firearms, heavy machinery or transportation, students must provide evidence of a permit to use such equipment or of supervision by an adult with a permit. Entries must be in line with State and Federal laws and regulations.

18. If a student conducts any part of their experimentation at a laboratory outside the school, written approval must be obtained from that facility and documented in their entry.

19. Members of the organising committee, judges and sponsors must not judge any project or participate in any decision relating to a matter where they have a conflict of interest. Sources of conflict can include: (i) A familial or other close personal relationship eg. living in the same household, child of a close friend (ii) A teacher/student relationship (including a student at the same school, but different class) (iii) A mentoring relationship (iv) A personal or business relationship with a sponsor (v) Previous exposure to the entry (eg. at a school or regional fair).

20. The judges’ decision is final. Any inquiry relating to the judging of a project must be made, in writing, to STANSW Young Scientist Awards, PO Box 699 Lidcombe, NSW, 1825. See also procedures outlined in Rule 1.

38 thoughts on “Rules

  1. Leonie

    Hi is there a particular log book format the students must use ? Thanks


    Hi Leonie,

    There is no particular format. It can be typed or handwritten and later scanned but it needs to show what the student has done each day or week. The logbook gives the judges a clear understanding of how the student thinks and it gives the report authenticity. We have a lot of examples on our past winning projects pages and you will see they are vastly different. As a tip, judges love to see raw data written down in a logbook and they love photos for evidence and even diagrams.

  3. Melinda Bridger

    Is it possible to submit an entry that won at the UOW Science Fair in 2016? It fits the date cut off as the students began working on their project in the first week of September 2016. Two students have been reworking their project and are keen to submit their project for Young Scientist.


    This is totally fine and we are very pleased to receive as many entries from the UOW Science Fair as possible. You may remember that I was at the UOW Presentations and encouraged all students there to enter Young Scientist and continue work on their projects.


  5. J

    Is it possible for groups of students to enter?


    Yes, teams of up to 3 students are allowed to enter.

  7. Rose

    Hi, my 2 two basic ideas are a entertainment machine for sick kids and my other idea is about improving food safety what category’s would these be in??? Thanks


    The entertainment machine would come under the category Innovations and Engineering Design (if you are secondary) or Inventions and Innovations (if you are primary). For improving food safety that would most likely come under Scientific Investigations: Biology or Chemistry (if you are secondary) or Scientific Investigations (if you are primary).

  9. Rose

    I have two ideas one to do with entertaining sick children and another about food hygiene what catorgies would these be in???? Thanks

  10. Georgia

    Hi, I have an idea it’s a desert survival kit what would its catorgory be????? Thankyou;)


    Again this desert survival kit would come under the category Innovations and Engineering Design (if you are secondary) or Inventions and Innovations (if you are primary)

  12. Catherine

    Hi there
    I was wondering if photos of the child are allowed in the logbooks.
    Thank you


    Yes that is fine. If you include photos of other children then you need their consent.


    You can but our rules stipulate that we can only judge you on the work that was performed after 1st September 2017. So anything done before that will be treated as background research and we will just count the latter material. I hope this helps!

  15. Jasmine

    Hi, can you do something that is already something E.g Photosynthesis or do you have to create something that will improve Earth??

  16. ROBERT


    For the inventions, innovations category, they mention that a folio is needed. My project improves on previous technology and a science report was made. Is it acceptable to submit the science report detailing my work as my folio?


    HI Jasmine,
    Thanks for your interest in our program and apologies for the delay in replying. To enter the Scientific Investigation category, you will need to complete an original (hands-on) first hand investigation. This can be into an aspect of photosynthesis of course. Many (but not necessarily all) of the projects we see have an environmental or social benefit as well. To enter the Working Technologically category, you need to design and make an innovative product or model of an innovative product that has some benefit to society. I hope that helps you. Please do have a look at our Major STEM categories page under the Resources tab for more details.


    Hi Robert,
    Thank you for your interest in our program. Apologies for the delay in replying. Does your scientific report include a log? And does it include sufficient details about your innovation and how you developed it? If so, then that should suffice in place of a folio.

  19. Lachlan


    What are the prizes for certain categories? Thanks.

  20. yas


    Will a select few of young scientist winners from 2020 be given the opportunity to attend Intel Isef in 2021 and also, are iTE Innovations and Engineering Design Awards eligible towards entry into the Intel Isef 2020 competition.



    Yes to both questions. iTE Innovations and Engineering Design Award students are definitely eligible for ISEF 2021. In fact 4 of the ISEF 2020 finalists are from that category.

  22. Dylan

    Is it possible for an international student to be selected to participate in ISEF?

  23. Bettina Grimston

    I have two Science extension students who have produced amazing research projects which are due in as part of their HSC. Would they be eligible?


    Definitely! Our rubrics for Year 11 and 12 are structured around the Stage 6 Science courses, including Science Extension. We do not publicise projects until well after the HSC results are published so entering Young Scientist will not jeapordise your HSC mark in any way. NESA are very happy for students to submit Science Extension projects into Young Scientist. You do need to be aware that we also judge the portfolio as part of the scientific process for Young Scientist, unlike your school assessment which only assesses the final HSC Major Science Research Project report.

  25. Lipi Mathur

    Hi Team,
    I have two students one from year 8 and the other from year 9. they have been working together for their project which is mostly research investigation. Experimental work cannot be performed due to the extensive nature of their project. Are they eligible to participate? If yes which year group and category should they register their project under?
    Thank you.


    It is not possible. You have to enter through the affiliated fair of your own country. If your country does not have an affiliated fair then we would have to get special permission from ISEF themselves.


    They will need to enter the Year level of the older student which is the Year 9-10 level. If they have done some form of survey of data then that is fine but if it is just literature research then that will not satisfy our judging rubrics.

  28. Annabel

    If, in a project, the only human subject you use is yourself, do you need the consent form?
    Thank you.


    Hi Annabel,

    You do not need the human sonsent form if you are your own guinea-pig.

  30. Dian Eka Ambarwati

    Can indonesian student apply this ?

  31. Jeremy

    Could we have a team with students studying at different school? Thank you.


    HI Jeremy,
    Apologies for the delay in replying. Yes – you can have a team (maximum of three students) with students from different schools.


    HI Dian,
    Apologies for the delay in replying. Yes – international students are welcome to enter their projects in the competition. You will not however, be eligible for any cash awards, or to progress to national or international competitions.

  34. Jas

    For the secondary projects in 2021, is there a particular requirement for referencing? For example is it required to have Harvard style referencing and also in Alphabetical order?


    We don’t have any specific requirement for referencing. Just use a well known referencing style.

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