News Release

Monday, May 11, 2009

National Institutes of Health Joins in Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Events

NIH To Encourage Biomedical Research Careers for Top High School Scientists.

The National Institutes of Health will for the first time announce Grand Awards in the Medicine and Health category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) taking place this week at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nev. The Intel ISEF, the world's premiere science competition exclusively for students in grades 9-12, provides an annual forum for more than 1,500 outstanding high school students nationwide to showcase their independent research.

"The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is a platform for the best and brightest high school science students in the world," said NIH Acting Director Dr. Raynard S. Kington. "Hundreds of NIH scientists are poised to retire in the next decade. It is a priority for NIH to nurture the careers of brilliant young scholars and build a pipeline of scientists with an interest in one day working with one of NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers. Participating in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is one example of how NIH is encouraging students in science education."

NIH will present the Medicine and Health Category, which will recognize multiple award winners in several category levels and a Best of Category winner. Outside funding sources will finance the awards, including a Best of Category prize of $5,000 and a notebook computer. In addition, a $1,000 award will be given to the winner’s school and the Intel ISEF-affiliated fair they represent. The first place prize is a $3,000 cash award; second place is a $1,500 cash award; third place is a $1,000 cash award; fourth place is a $500 cash award.

NIH will also have an exhibit at the Intel ISEF to provide the young scientists and their families, teachers and mentors with information about NIH, including NIH training programs and science careers. NIH is comprised of extramural and intramural components. The NIH Intramural Research Program oversees a number of programs providing rewarding biomedical research experiences for high school and college students, recent college graduates, graduate students, professional students, and postdoctoral and clinical fellows.

Judges, who come from scientific institutions from all over the world, will independently assess the projects and recommend finalists for the NIH announcements. NIH officials, including Dr. Elisabeth Wagener, deputy director of the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program, and Drs. Joseph Mindell (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), Carla Easter (National Human Genome Research Institute) and Stuart Maudsley (National Institute on Aging) will also contribute their scientific expertise to assist with the project evaluations.

"We are delighted to have NIH participate in Intel ISEF this year," said Elizabeth Marincola, president of the Society for Science & the Public (SPP), which coordinates the competition. "By presenting the Medicine and Health category, NIH scientists are sending a strong message to our finalists: that the top research agency in the United States wants them to consider careers in biomedical science."

Student finalists at Intel ISEF earned the right to compete by winning a top prize at local, regional, state or national science fairs. An NIH representative will speak at the Grand Awards ceremony on Friday, May 15. The Grand Awards are the highlight of the week, valued at nearly $1 million in scholarships, tuition grants and scientific field trips. Information on the winners of the Medicine and Health Category will be posted on the SSP Web site at immediately following the ceremony.

NIH's participation in the Intel ISEF represents the efforts and support of multiple Institutes and Centers, including the Office of Science Education, the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Office of Research on Women’s Health, the Office of Intramural Training & Education, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which partnered with the Friends of NIDA, a coalition of individuals and professional societies committed to the elimination of drug abuse and addiction through education, advocacy, and support of the NIDA research goals, to present the Intel ISEF Addiction Science Awards.

SSP partners with Intel and dozens of corporate, academic, government and science-focused sponsors that provide support and awards for the Intel ISEF each year. SSP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the public engagement in scientific research and education. Founded as Science Service in 1921, SSP has through its award-winning magazine, Science News, and through world-class science education competitions, conveyed the excitement of all areas of science and research directly to the public. Learn more about SSP at

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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