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Judging & Prizes

Judging Rounds

  • Middle school students and high school students will be judged separately.
  • All entries will first be screened for compliance with the rules.
  • NSF reserves the right to adjust the numbers of finalists based on the number and quality of submissions. Individuals and teams will be notified by email if they have progressed to the next round.
  • Each entry will be anonymously evaluated based on the stated criteria and will be scored on a sliding scale by each judge.

Round One – semifinalists chosen

  • Judging occurs online by a panel of experts.
  • The highest scoring entries from the first round will advance to the semifinal round.

Round Two – finalists chosen

  • Judging occurs online by a panel of experts.
  • The highest scoring entries from the second round will advance to the final round.
  • Each comic or video that moves on to the second round will be posted on the competition website for public viewing.

Round Three – first and second place winners chosen

  • Judging occurs online by a panel of experts.
  • A first and second place winning entry chosen for both the high school and middle school category.


  • Experts with expertise in science and technology and/or graphic design.
  • Will convene separate panels for each judging round.
  • Will score each entry on the criteria described in the Scoring section below.


Each entry will be scored based on three categories for a total of 100 points:

  • Use of science and technology (50 percent) -- How accurately did the entrant incorporate science and technology into their story to address the chosen societal mission.
  • Creativity (25 percent) -- The originality and quality of both the superhero and their story, as well as the application of science and technology.
  • Artistic and technical quality (25 percent) -- The visual appeal and refined execution of the comic or video.

Prizes: Festival Attendance

Attendance at the 2018 USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., April 5-8, 2018. This biannual, award-winning event is the largest of its kind and the only national science festival. The festival features speeches by inspirational scientists, exhibits from some of the biggest names in STEM, and interactive and informative demonstrations.

  • Paid trip for each first-place winner (both the middle school and high school team / individual) and one chaperone (per team) to attend the festival.
  • Winners will design an exhibit describing their superhero and the science / technology the superhero used, to be displayed in the NSF booth at the festival. The display can include, but is not limited to, posters, a hands-on replica of the gear and an interactive activity.

Prizes: Cash -- Scholarship

  • First place winner receives $1,500 per team member.
  • Second place winner receives $1,000 per team member.
  • Teacher honorarium receives $500 -- awarded to a teacher(s) that encouraged the first place teams / individuals on their journey.

Generation Nano Competition
National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Ave
Alexandria, VA 22314

Follow the competition #GenNano

Who: 6-12 grade -- individuals or teams of 2-3

What: A short comic OR video to tell a story and describe how your hero uses science on their mission or quest

When: Enter between Sept. 18, 2017-Jan. 10, 2018, 11:59 p.m. EST

Where: Learn more and enter at

Why: To promote an early interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Questions? Contact the Generation Nano Team at

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