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NSF Prize Competitions

NSF welcomes members of the public to help solve science, technology, engineering and math challenges by submitting ideas and solutions for a chance to win prizes. For more informaiton on federal government competitions, please visit

The NSF 2026 Idea Machine
This is a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science and engineering. Participants can earn prizes and receive public recognition by suggesting the pressing research questions that need to be answered in the coming decade, the next set of “Big Ideas” for future investment by NSF. Updated icon
DATE UPDATED: May 30, 2019

NSF Career Compass Challenge
This is a competition that aims to enable a future where careers are made up of continuous learning opportunities that build upon your skills and interests. Enter now for a chance to win up to $100,000.
DATE UPDATED: May 23, 2019


We are mathematics video competition and NSF logo

NSF We Are Mathematics Video Competition
NSF invites anyone who is or has been involved with NSF-supported work in the mathematical sciences to submit a brief video (up to 3 minutes) showcasing their work in a way that is appealing to a broad audience, for a chance to win $3000.
DATE UPDATED: May 03, 2019

Visualization Challenge
Visuals can communicate research results and scientific phenomena in ways that words cannot. That's why NSF cosponsors this international contest to recognize outstanding achievements in this area.
DATE UPDATED: November 7, 2018

Community College Innovation Challenge
Many real world problems can be solved with STEM-based solutions. NSF invites teams of community college students to identify key problems and propose innovative solutions in this national contest.
DATE UPDATED: June 25, 2018

Generation Nano Challenge
NSF and the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) aim to promote an early interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in middle and high school students. The competition asks students to use scientific research to drive or equip an original superhero and then tell their hero's story in a comic or video.
DATE UPDATED: October 16, 2018