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How to Enter

The entry window has closed, but bookmark this page and check back to participate in the public comment phase, expected to open in April, 2019!

You must provide the following information for your entry:
 Title of your Big Idea;
 Each author's name, occupation, affiliation / place of employment (if applicable), city, state, and country of residence, and email address. For team entries, the first name listed should be that of the team leader;
 Scientific, engineering, or STEM education research interests or areas of expertise of the author(s);
 Narrative that addresses the five questions listed below. The answer to each question must fit within the specified character limits (including punctuation and white spaces):
  • What is the compelling question or challenge? (200 characters)
  • What do we know now about this Big Idea and what are the key research questions we need to address? (4000 characters)
  • Why does it matter? What scientific discoveries, innovations, and desired societal outcomes might result from investment in this area? (3000 characters)
  • If we invest in this area, what would success look like? (1800 characters)
  • Why is this the right time to invest in this area? (1000 characters)
 Up to three key words describing the Big Idea;
 Up to three publication/citation references (optional);
 Consent to NSF's use and display of the submitted information and contestants' names and likenesses;
 Confirmation that all individual and team entrants meet the age, and citizenship / residence requirements as described in the eligibility criteria; and
 A signed parent / guardian permission form for entrants younger than 18 years of age.
 A checkbox will be available for teachers to indicate that they are submitting an entry on behalf of their high-school classes.


The NSF 2026 Idea Machine
National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia 22314 USA