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Intel ISEF Judging

Overview of Judging Process

Judges will pre-review projects during the afternoon and evening on Tuesday of Intel ISEF week and again early Wednesday morning when finalists are not at their projects.  Actual judging interviews with finalists at their projects will take place during the day on Wednesday.  You are encouraged to review the judging criteria to understand the areas of emphasis and how best to prepare the project board and yourself for the interview. 

On Tuesday, the Exhibit Hall will be open from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. for finalists, media and special SSP or Intel guests. During this time, some finalists will be involved in pre-arranged media interviews and any finalists in the Hall may be visited by special guests.  Attendance is not required, but this is a good opportunity to do a last check of your project and to lock down any items to the booth that you want to have available to judges, such as data or lab books, computer presentations or equipment.  It is also recommended that you put your name and project booth id on all such items.  It is the responsibility of the finalist to lock items down; if you are not able to secure, you may decide to bring laptops or other equipment to display only when you are present.  Please remember that adding items to your booth that have not been approved during the Display & Safety inspection is an infraction of the rules and if discovered, your project will fail to qualify for judging.
On Wednesday morning, the Exhibit Hall will open at 7:45 am and Special Award judges will begin interviewing projects at 8:00 a.m.  Because some judges’ visits are not scheduled, you should remain with your project from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm unless the Hall is closed for lunch.

Grand Awards Judges

When you arrive at your project Wednesday morning, your Grand Awards judging interview schedule will be at your booth.  Printed on this pink card will be the following information in session and time order: the interview period number, the time of the interview, and the name of the interviewing Grand Awards judge.  This card will also have open periods when no Grand Awards judges have been scheduled to interview you. Grand Awards judges will have a blue ribbon attached to their nametag.  Please note that Grand Awards judges may return for a second interview during the last open judging period from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. 
Grand Awards are presented in each of the 20 Intel ISEF categories.  Team projects are incorporated into their respective categories to be judged against all other projects – individual or team – in their categories. Grand Awards are given in best of category, first, second, third, and fourth places.  Grand Awards amount to $5,000 for best of category, $3,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place, $1,000 for third place, and $500 for fourth place.  The best of category is given to one of the first place winners in each of the 20 scientific categories. These projects qualify for other prestigious awards, including The Gordon E. Moore Award and The Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards. A team project is awarded the same value as an individual project; the award must be shared equally among the team members.

Special Awards Judges

Special Awards judges will have a red ribbon attached to their nametag.  Special Awards judges will interview finalists whose projects qualify for consideration under the criteria established by the organization or institution offering the special award.  They may interview finalists exclusively during the open periods from 8:00 to 9:00 am and 3:15 to 3:45 pm. In addition, Special Awards judges may interview finalists during an open period on the pink schedule card and during the last open interview period from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.  Please note that Special Awards judges may not interview every finalist.
These judges represent over 70 professional organizations involving a wide variety of scientific disciplines.  These governmental, industrial, and educational institutions provide awards including money, scholarships, plaques, summer internships, scientific field trips, subscriptions to professional journals, books, and equipment grants. Please visit http://www.societyforscience.org/isef/specialawards for a listing of participating Awards Organizations.

Finalists must be present at the awards ceremonies in order to receive an award.

Finalists Schedule – Wednesday of Intel ISEF Week

  • 7:45 am  Exhibit Hall Opens to finalists
  • 8:00 am to 9:00 am  Special Awards judges only interview period
  • 9:00 am to 11:45 pm  Grand Awards Judging Session I – Scheduled interview periods 1 through 11on pink card
  • 11:45 pm to 1:00 pm  Lunch/Free Time (finalists not allowed in Exhibit Hall)
  • 1:15 pm to 3:15 pm  Grand Awards Judging Session II – Scheduled interview periods 12 through 19 on pink card
  • 3:15 pm to 4:00 pm  Special Awards judges only interview period
  • 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm Judging Session III – open time for unscheduled interviews by either Grand Awards judges or Special Awards judges
  • 5:00 pm Judging Completed

At 5:00 pm, judging is over for all finalists.  Please exit the Exhibit Hall as quickly and quietly as possible because some of the judges may still be working. 

Please remember that you MUST be back at your project from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm on Thursday for school visitation and public exhibition.

Thank you and best wishes for success at the Intel ISEF!

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