3M and Discovery Education launch alumni network and grant program supporting nation’s young scientists
Jan 19, 2023

3M and Discovery Education are launching the Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Network and Alumni Grants Program. The effort will support past participants and the future science leaders as part of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. As the nation’s premier middle school science competition, the annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge invites students in grades 5-8 to compete for a mentorship with a 3M scientist, a $25,000 grand prize and the chance to earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” The new Alumni Network and Alumni Grants Program offers previous participants networking opportunities, resources, events, and funding for existing science projects.  

“For 16 years, alongside Discovery Education, we’ve brought science to life through the 3M Young Scientist Challenge,” said Karina Chavez, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at 3M. “By participating in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, hundreds of students have been inspired to create world-changing innovations. The Alumni Network and Grants Program are a way to continue supporting and celebrating these tremendous young people that represent the future of science.”  

The 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Network brings together a growing community of former finalists and mentors to connect over shared experiences, celebrate achievements and promote innovations. America’s Top Young Scientists have gone on to give TED Talks, file patents, found nonprofits, make the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and exhibit at the White House Science Fair. These young innovators have also been named Time Magazine’s first Kid of the Year, featured in The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, and Business Insider, and have appeared on national television programs such as Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and more.  

“A real joy of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the connections the students make with each other and their mentors. The new Alumni program is designed to nurture growth and support ongoing science opportunities for prior participants as they tap into a network of innovators,” said Amy Nakamoto, general manager of social impact at Discovery Education. “We are incredibly excited to launch this new effort catalyzing future science leadership.”  

The Alumni Grants will award a total of $25,000 in grant money to ten different alumni annually. Former finalists must be registered members of the 3M Young Scientist Alumni Network to apply. Alumni may apply online to receive one grant per year within three funding areas:  

  • Continuation of 3M Young Scientist Challenge Project: This grant supports alumni who are interested in continuing to develop or evolve the project they originally developed during the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Three alumni are eligible to receive $5,000 each annually.  
  • New Idea to Improve the World: This area of funding would be available to support projects alumni may be working on that are different from their original 3M Young Scientist Challenge innovation. Two alumni are eligible to receive $2,500 each annually.
  • Science in Your Community: Funding can be used to support alumni initiatives such as community enrichment opportunities, school events, or community activation projects. Five alumni are eligible to receive $1,000 each annually.  

Grant applications are now available for submission through application close on March 23, 2023. More information about the 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Network and Grant Program applications is available here.  

The award-winning 3M Young Scientist Challenge supplements the 3M and Discovery Education program – Young Scientist Lab – which provides no-cost dynamic digital resources for students, teachers, and families to explore, transform, and innovate the world around them. All the resources are also available through the Young Scientist Lab Channel and in the Social Impact Partnerships channel on Discovery Education’s recently enhanced K-12 learning platform.

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