Abstract Instructions | Student Science

Support Strong Science

Be a champion now for the

next generation of science leaders.

Abstract Instructions

Submitting the Intel ISEF Online Abstract

Completing Your Abstract Online

Students who have been chosen to compete at Intel ISEF must upload an abstract of their research during the online entry process. After review and approval by the Intel ISEF SRC, it becomes the Official Abstract and Certification for Intel ISEF 2018.

Please recognize the importance of this summary of your project and take the time to review it for completeness and readability.  The abstract is used in the following manner:

  • SRC review:The Intel ISEF Scientific Review Committee reviews your abstract to be an accurate summary of the work that you did and the project's compliance with the rules.
  • Display & Safety inspections:The Intel ISEF Display & Safety Committee reviews the responses to the questions at the bottom of the abstract during their safety inspections.  
  • Judging: Judges are provided advance copies of the approved abstracts online and in hard copy to prepare for interviews on Wednesday.
  • Public Exhibition: The Official abstract is the only document permitted to be handed out. People who come through the Exhibit Hall on Public Day may want a copy to learn about your research at those times when you are not available to explain.
  • Online Abstracts: The abstract is the written history of the project presented at Intel ISEF.  It is provided in an online Project Database that is searchable by year and by author. 

The Official Abstract is the ONLY item you will be permitted to hand out during the Intel ISEF.  As part of your paperwork submission process, you will use our online system to write your abstract. This system allows you to cut and paste or type the text of your abstract online and creates an Adobe Acrobat Reader file (.pdf). 

Tips on Writing a Project Abstract

An Intel ISEF abstract is a brief paragraph or two—limited to 250 words or 1800 characters— highlighting and/or summarizing the major points or most important ideas about your project.  An abstract allows judges to quickly determine the nature and scope of a project. You should:

  • Emphasize the following aspects: purpose (hypothesis), methods (procedures used), data summary or analysis, and conclusions.
  • Focus only on the current year's research.
  • Use the past tense when describing what was done. However, where appropriate use active verbs rather than passive verbs.
  • Use complete sentences. Don’t abbreviate by omitting articles or other small words in order to save space.
  • Avoid jargon and use appropriate scientific language.
  • Use concise syntax, correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

For more information on specifics of writing an abstract, see the How to Write an Abstract resource. 

Avoid a Rewrite

  • Focus on what you did, not on the work of your mentor or of the laboratory in which you did your work.
  • Do NOT include acknowledgements, self-promotion, or external endorsements. Don’t name the research institution and/or mentor with which you were working and avoid mentioning awards or honors (including achieving a patent) in the body of the abstract. 
  • Use only plain text without symbols as they will not read accurately in the online version.
  • Be sure to emphasize the current year’s research.  A continuation project should only make a brief mention of previous years’ research (no more than a sentence or two).

The Abstract on Your Display Board

Because your abstract will not be considered official until it is stamped/embossed at the Intel ISEF, you must NOT mount a copy of any abstract in/on your vertical display until you are given the official copy that demonstrates the Intel ISEF SRC review and approval of the project (via an embossed gold seal in the bottom right hand corner.)  If you plan to have a copy of the Official Abstract & Certification on your vertical display board (recommended), you should leave a space (8.5 by 11 inches) for it to be mounted after you have arrived at the Intel ISEF and it has been returned with the embossed approval. 

Do Not Bring Multiple Copies to Hand Out

Do not bring copies of an abstract, or any other materials for handing out to judges or to the public, to the Intel ISEF.  At the Intel ISEF, you will be given copies of the approved, stamped/embossed Official Abstract & Certification for judging.  You should leave these copies at your booth for use by the judges on Tuesday and Wednesday. You may make additional copies on site at the Intel ISEF to hand out to the public after it has been stamped/embossed and returned to you.

Revisions to Your Abstract after Submission

SRC Requests for an Abstract Rewrite

The ISEF Scientific Review Committee will review each project abstract along with the provided documentation.  If the SRC is requesting a revision to the abstract, they will notify the Society staff.  The Society will make a simple correction and notify you of the change or they will contact you with instructions on how to correct the electronic copy for resubmission to the SRC.  Your immediate attention to this request will help ensure that your project is reviewed in a timely manner and that simple corrections are resolved prior to your arrival onsite at the Intel ISEF.

Voluntary Requests for an Abstract Rewrite (Deadline – April 24, 8:00 p.m. EST)

If you decide to make revisions to your abstract after it has been submitted, you will be able to access it via the Finalist Checklist. You must submit any abstract rewrite by the Wednesday, April 24 deadline. After this date, this option will not be available. The online form will request an explanation of the change and will provide the text of the original abstract to revise. Once the abstract rewrite form has been accessed, you will have 72 hours to make the corrections before the system will lock this abstract so that the Society staff and/or SRC may review the submitted changes. If approved, this rewrite will replace the original; if there are concerns raised, the Society staff and/or SRC will be in contact.

After April 24, there will be no voluntary abstract rewrites accepted. This includes any onsite requests in Phoenix during project set-up. Only abstract rewrites required by the SRC will be managed onsite.

From the SSP Newsroom

Science News


Science News for Students


Eureka! Lab