California Science & Engineering Fair
Awards Program 2024

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Awards at the California Science & Engineering Fair are distinguished as either Fair Awards, which are determined by judges working for the Fair itself, or Sponsored Awards, which are presented by organizations external to the Fair in additional recognition of student achievements.

Fair Awards

Category Awards
The California Science & Engineering Fair awards the top four projects within each subject category and each age division as First Place, Second Place, Third Place, and Fourth Place. One project, and only one project, receives each award — there are no ties. In the case of awards given to a team project with multiple students named as co-authors, the cash award is divided equally among each co-author. The Category Award amounts for 2024 are as follows:
Category Awards Junior
First Place $125 $250
Second Place $100 $200
Third Place $75 $150
Fourth Place $50 $100
In addition, the judges may elect to name a small number of projects of outstanding quality as Honorable Mentions. The projects will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony and on the Fair’s web site.
Project of the Year
Following the selection of Category Awards, two special committees of category judges (one for each age division) review every first place winning project in each subject category in order to select the best project in each division. These awards are $500 in the Senior Division, and $250 in the Junior Division.
Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF)
This award is tentative, dependent upon funding which has not yet been secured. From the Senior Division, about 3 projects will be qualified to Regeneron ISEF. Each selected student will receive an all-expenses paid trip to participate in the 2024 Regeneron ISEF which will be held May 12-17 in Los Angeles. ISEF Finalists selected by CSEF wil be informed on Thursday, April 18. Owing to the short time between CSEF and ISEF, applications will need to be submitted immediately following selection.
Thermo-Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge (JIC)
From the Junior Division, approximately 40 top category award winners will be qualified into the Thermo-Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge, a national competition for students in grades 6-8, with a top prize of $25,000. This will include at least all First and Second Prize recipients who have not already been qualified to the JIC from their county/regional science fair, and could possibly include all such First through Fourth Prize recipients. Application instructions will be provided to all selected students immediately after all fair awards are announced. The deadline for applying to this competition is June 12, 2024.

Sponsored Awards

Sponsored Awards are presented by various professional scientific and engineering associations, businesses, volunteer groups, and private individuals in recognition of outstanding achievement through science fair projects. Judging for the awards is done by the presenting organizations themselves, and is entirely separate from the judging for category awards and all other awards presented by the Fair which are listed above.

See here for awards in recent years.

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California Science & Engineering Fair / Awards Program /