2024 Science Competitions For Gifted Students

International Science Competitions For Gifted Students

Explore a wide variety of science competitions and scholarships available to high-achieving students in science.

Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook

Middle Schoolers! Check out this 5-star science study guide from the brains behind Brain Quest. Covers experiments, matter, chemical reactions, the periodic table, the solar system, weather and climate, cells, genetics, electricity and much more!

National Science Bowl

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl® is a nationwide academic competition that tests middle and high school students’ knowledge in all areas of science and mathematics. 

Ages: Middle school and high school

Fellows Scholarship

Fellows Scholarships are generous scholarships of $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 awarded to gifted students 18 years and younger who have completed a significant piece of work in one of 9 categories – science being one of them.

Ages: Elementary school, middle school, and high school

3M Young Scientist Challenge

The annual challenge asks students in 5-8 grade to submit with a 1–2 minute video for a chance to win $25,000 and an exclusive mentorship with a 3M Scientist.

Ages: Middle school (Grades 5-8)

National Science Olympiad

Founded in 1984, Science Olympiad is the premier team STEM competition in the nation, providing standards-based challenges to 6,000 teams at 425 tournaments in all 50 states. For middle school and high school students.

Ages: Middle school and high school

Society For Science Affiliated Science Fairs

With 400 affiliated fairs around the world, these fairs facilitate the pursuit of STEM in young scientists, engineers, and inventors. These fairs are the first steps to competing at Regeneron ISEF and Thermo Fisher JIC. Find a science fair in your state by visiting https://findafair.societyforscience.org/.

Student Ideas for a Better America™

The National Museum of Education is looking for creative students in grades PreK-12. Enter any idea or invention for a new way to demonstrate an educational concept, an idea for a new product, an improvement for an existing product, a new procedure, or any idea that solves a problem and/or makes life better. Winners are also then eligible to apply for induction into the National Gallery for America’s Young Inventors!

Ages: All ages! Pre-kindergarten through Grade 12

Neuroscience Research Prize

Sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology and Child Neurology Society, this award is designed to encourage high school students to explore the world of the brain and nervous system through research, identify and reward those students whose scientific skill and talent indicate potential for scientific contributions in the field of neuroscience, and recognize the efforts of science teachers who have demonstrated support for students interested in neuroscience.

Ages: High school


ExploraVision is a science competition for K–12 students of all interest, skill, and ability levels. The competition encourages students to combine their imaginations with the tools of science to create and explore a vision of a future technology.

Project categories are Grades K-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9, and Grades 10-12. Prizes include up to $240,000 in savings bonds, an expense-paid trip to Washington DC, and much more!

See a video below of an elementary category winning teacher brainstorming tips!

Ages: Kindergarten through 12th grade, elementary school, middle school, and high school

Regeneron Science Talent Search

Regeneron STS is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science research competition for high school students. Started in 1942 as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, Regeneron STS recognizes and empowers our nation’s most promising young scientists who are developing ideas that could solve society’s most urgent challenges.

Ages: High school

MIT THINK Scholars Program

THINK project proposals are science, technology, and engineering ideas that span many fields, from green technologies and practical devices to software applications. 

Ages: High school


North America’s largest high school STEM competition for grades 9-12. It emphasizes environmental conservation and offers hands-on learning in aquatic ecology, forestry, soils, land use, wildlife, and current environmental issues.

Ages: High School

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

The STEM competition that challenges students from everywhere to achieve, and to build the skills that prepare them for college and career. The JSHS is backed by the Department of Defense (DoD), and administered by the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA).

Perform original research, present findings, and compete for scholarships, aid, and opportunities. JSHS exposes students to diversity of thought, and promotes learning that can be applied to regular studies and real life.

Undergraduate tuition scholarship and cash awards range from $1,000 – $12,000!

Ages: High School

Aerial Drone Competition

Recommended for students grades 5-12, teams will compete in local and national competitions where students work together to complete four missions.

Ages: Middle School, High School (Grades 5 – 12)

Bell Advanced Vertical Robotics Competition

The Bell Advanced Vertical Robotics Competition inspires future entrepreneurs in the fields of engineering and manufacturing. Students use hands-on, industry-standard tools to design, build, and compete against teams from around the US with the most advanced aerial robotics technology available today.

American Computer Science League

American Computer Science League (ACSL) organizes computer programming and computer science contests for K-12 schools, organizations and local groups. The 2023-2024 school year will be their 46th year of continuous operation! Last year, about 8,000 students the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia participated in the regular season competitions.

Each season is divided into four contests, testing students on fundamental concepts in computer science, ranging from Number Systems to Boolean Algebra to Digital Electronics. In the upper divisions, each contest also includes a problem to solve by programming using Python, C++ or Java.

Ages: Kindergarten, Elementary School, Middle School, High School

ArcGIS Online Competition

Esri and the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) challenge US students to conduct and share a research project about something in their home state.

Ages: Middle School, High School Grades 4-12

International Biology Olympiad

The International Biology Olympiad is the association that organizes the world’s premier biology competition for secondary school students.

National Robotics Challenge

The longest continually operating robotics competition in the world! The contest is open to elementary, middle school, and high school students.

The National Robotics Challenge is designed to provide students of all ages and levels of study the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of manufacturing processes, controls, robotics, and other technologies through competitive engineering contests. Students are judged on their application of technology principles, engineering concepts, and their ability to solve real-world problems through a team approach.

Solar Car Challenge

The Solar Car Challenge is the top project-based STEM Initiative helping motivate students in Science, Engineering, and Alternative Energy. In 1989, the Solar Car Team launched an education program to teach high school students how to build and safely race roadworthy solar cars.

Genes in Space

Grades 7-12: Design DNA experiments for space challenges.

Earth’s life evolved with gravity and atmospheric protection. Space offers opportunities and problems:

  • Alien Life: Can we find new life forms?
  • Organ Systems: Does space travel affect our eyes, bones, and organs?
  • Cosmic Radiation: How does deep space alter our DNA?
  • Bioengineering: Can organisms help us inhabit new planets?
  • Space Microbiome: Which microbes accompany us to space?
  • Your Idea: What’s your boldest space-related question?

Affiliate Disclosure