Dear ISEF Candidate,
The following provides information and a step-by-step guide to becoming a candidate for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).
ISEF is a big deal and becoming a candidate to attend ISEF is a great honor, but it may not be easy. Please read on and we will describe the roadmap for getting from Covestro PRSEF to ISEF. Your initial preparation for Covestro PRSEF will be augmented to include the following:
Being chosen as a candidate to the International is not automatic. The judging for ISEF is completely separate from the Covestro PRSEF judging – different judges and different criteria. The ISEF judges do not confer with the Covestro PRSEF judges nor are they swayed by who wins the category competition. To be considered for ISEF, you must submit an application along with one copy of your research paper. In addition, your research paper should be emailed to PRSEF@carnegiesciencecenter.org. Type ISEF paper in the subject line.
The research paper is to be limited to no more than 20 double-spaced pages, not including the cover page. If you can say everything in less than twenty pages, do it! Do not pad your paper with extraneous information. Sheer volume means nothing, high quality does! The reason for doing the paper is to help you focus your thoughts. Note: the judges who will be reading the papers are or have served as editors and reviewers for numerous scholarly books and journals. They WILL check your references. Avoid Internet citations unless they are from online, refereed journals.
The ISEF judge for your particular category will review all the papers in the category. Based on the review of the papers and your project boards, the judge will select the top one or two. These students will be given a preliminary interview amidst the category judging. Following that interview, the judge will select usually one from the category to move on to the final competition. However, the judge has the prerogative to send more than one or none. Theoretically, there will be eight of you (one from each category).
Each finalist will present his or her research to the panel of eight senior-level scientists and engineers. You will have 15 minutes to present your work and field questions from the group. Generally speaking, the questioning will explore your depth of knowledge and ability to think on your feet. The students that are selected to be candidates to ISEF will be announced at the awards ceremony the following day.
T. D. Jacobsen PhD
Chair, ISEF Judges