Fair Info

As the city’s largest high school research competition, the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) hosts several hundred high school students from all five boroughs of New York City each year. Students present their research projects to expert judges and compete for a variety of prizes, and advancement to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. NYCSEF is sponsored by the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and the City University of New York (CUNY) / Office of Academic Affairs.

When and Where

Preliminary Round:  Sunday, March 1, 2015 @ The City College of New York (Manhattan).

This year’s Preliminary Round hosted 457 projects presented by 578 students from all over the five boroughs.  Judges included science educators and professionals in the science and engineering fields from the city’s foremost research institutions, top universities and the business sector.

Visit the Preliminary Round page to find out who advances to the Finals Round!


Finals Round: Tuesday, March 24, 2015  @ American Museum of Natural History, Hall of Ocean Life (Manhattan).

Projects scoring in the top 25% of their categories advance to compete in the Finals Round and judged by experts in the 14 science and engineering fields.  After a long judge deliberation students are selected to advance and represent New York City in May at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, PA.


Awards Ceremony:

Friday, March 27 @ The Kaye Playhouse Theater at Hunter College 

During the Awards Ceremony the top projects from both the preliminary and final rounds will be recognized as First Award, Second Award, Third Award, and Special Award winners.  The students selected to represent New York City in May at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, PA, will be announced during the ceremony.  All award winners must be present to receive their awards and prizes.

A complete list of all of the 2014 NYCSEF Participants and Award Winners can be downloaded here.

Why you should be involved

Science fairs are gateways to a life-long fascination with science and with learning. Ask any scientist, engineer, or doctor about their science fair project and they invariably wax nostalgic and then explain how that event changed the course of their lives – regardless of whether it was a winning or losing endeavor.

Science fairs put into practice the very skills that form successful academic and professional careers. It’s so much more than just a showcase of science experiments.

A competitive science project requires: reading, writing, math, statistics, ethics, critical thinking, computer science, graphic arts, scientific methodology, presentation skills and a face-to-face defense of their work in front of expert judges. Students also learn to budget time and money; in groups, they practice teamwork and leadership; and at the fair itself, they interact with science educators, top scientists, and scientific innovators as judges.

But most importantly, participating in NYCSEF represents an active opportunity for student self-learning in a field of their own interest, a promise of adding to the greater scientific understanding, and a chance for recognition, awards and an accomplishment that will distinguish a college application.

Supporting future scientists and engineers has never been more important. In order to remain educationally and economically competitive, we need to bolster the scientific curiosity and ambitions of these talented young individuals. Consider these statistics:

  • 50% of all engineering degrees awarded by U.S. engineering colleges are earned by international students,
  • 50% of the current science and engineering workforce is nearing the age of retirement.

Science fairs are not just for high school students. You can be involved as a volunteer, as a judge, and if you have a master’s or doctoral degree in Math, Engineering or Science, please sign up to judge.

Who Runs the Program

CUNY College Now is pleased to organize this event in collaboration with the NYC Department of Education Office of School Programs and Partnerships. College Now is a comprehensive initiative between CUNY and the NYCDOE that prepares public high school students for college. Students from more than 400 public high schools participate in College Now programs each year, and the NYCSEF presents an exciting opportunity for College Now to collaborate with students and teachers throughout the city.

The University has designated 2005 to 2015 the “Decade of Science” at CUNY, renewing its commitment to creating a healthy pipeline to science, math, technology, and engineering fields by advancing science at the highest levels, training students to teach in these areas, and encouraging young people, particularly women and minorities, to study in these disciplines. As CUNY has grown, the University has strengthened its mission as a premier research institution, building an array of modern facilities and expanding the ranks of its world-class faculty.

In 2011, President Barack Obama highlighted in his visit to the NYCSEF Finals Event, the importance for students to participate in activities like these and the skills gained by completing research projects.

Upcoming Deadlines

  1. 17Dec2014 NYCSEF Project Application Due Date
  2. 01Mar2015 NYCSEF Preliminary Round @ The City College of New York
  3. 24Mar2015  NYCSEF Finals Round @ The American Museum of Natural History
  4. 27Mar2015 NYCSEF Awards Ceremony @ The Kaye Playhouse Theatre-Hunter College
  5. 10May2015 International Science & Engineering Fair Week in Pittsburgh,PA

Get the complete schedule

News + Notes

Congratulations to those that participated at the Preliminary Round! For results, visit the Fair Info page for more information.

City University of New York (CUNY) website