In September this year, Google will be hosting young scientists from all over the world at its fifth annual Science Fair Awards.

The Google Science Fair, in partnership with LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic, calls on teenagerss between the ages of 13 and 18 to come up with an idea for any invention or experiment that addresses specific issues they see around them and within their society.

“It’s only through trying something that we can get somewhere,” Google for Education’s Miriam Schneider says. “Flashlights required batteries, then Ann Makosinski tried the heat of her hand. His grandfather would wander out of bed at night, until Kenneth Shinozuka tried a wearable sensor. The power supply was constantly unstable in her Indian village, so Harine Ravichandran tried to build a different kind of regulator. Previous Science Fair winners have blown us away with their ideas. Now it’s your turn.”

Twenty finalists, accompanied by a parent or guardian, will be chosen to attend the awards. There are three age categories in the competition: 13 – 14, 15 – 16 and 17 – 18. Winners and runners up are chosen in each category and one overall winner is chosen for the grand prize.

This year’s winnings include:

  • Grand prize – $50 000 (around R520 000) scholarship funding.
  • The Scientific American Innovator Award –  $25 000 (around R260 000) in scholarship funding and a year’s worth of mentoring.
  • The Google Technologist Award – $25 000 (around R260 000) scholarship funding,  a year-long mentorship from a Googler in the winner’s related field and a visit to their home office.
  • The National Geographic Explorer Award – The winner, along with a parent or guardian, will travel on a 10-day National Geographic Expedition to the Galápagos Archipelago.
  • The LEGO Education Builder Award – The winner, along with a parent or guardian, will travel to The LEGO Group headquarters in Billund, Denmark, where the student will meet with LEGO Education employees and designers.
  • The Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award – The winner will go on a tour of Virgin Galactic, Mojave Air and Spaceport in Mojave in California to meet its group of engineers turning the Virgin and have the opportunity to get acquainted with its new spaceship.
  • The Community Impact Award –  The winner will be awarded $10 000 in funding to help develop their project and a year-long mentorship from Scientific American.
  • The Incubator Award – The winner will receive $10 000 (around R110 000) from Google and year of mentorship to further develop his/her project.

Entry submission close on 18th May, regional finalists will be announced on 2nd July and global finalists will be announced on 4th August.

The Google Science Fair Awards ceremony will be hosted the Google Headquarters in Mountain View California.

Last year, no students from Africa made it through to the awards, so we’re hoping this year will be a bit different and that we’ll see local young scientists from all over Africa proudly representing the continent.

You can submit your entry in any science field, be it biology, computer science, anthropology, chemistry, engineering and more, on the Google Science Fair website.