3M and Discovery Education are now taking entries for the 2023 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 an exclusive mentorship with a 3M scientist, a $25,000 grand prize, and the chance to earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” Competition entries are accepted at YoungScientistLab.com until the April 27, 2023 deadline.
Each year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge recognizes the grand prize winner, 10 finalists, the Improving Lives Award winner, four honorable mentions, and up to 50 state merit winners – nationwide and in Washington D.C. – who have demonstrated a passion for using science to solve everyday problems and improve the world around them.
To enter, students in grades 5-8 submit a one-to-two-minute video explaining an original idea using science to help solve an everyday problem. All entries are reviewed by a diverse group of judges and evaluated on their creativity, scientific knowledge and communication skills. Videos can be recorded using a cell phone or digital camera and will not be judged on production skills.
Previous challenge finalists have collaborated with 3M scientists to create solutions to a wide variety of real-world problems, including mid-ear infections, COVID-19, water conservation, food waste, alternative energy sources, cancer treatments, energy consumption, and transportation efficiency. The 2022 winner – 14-year-old Leanne Fan from San Diego, California – created Finsen Headphones, an antibiotic-free, low-cost option that detects and treats mid-ear infections using machine learning and blue light therapy. The use of Finsen Headphones could potentially reduce the number of children who suffer from hearing loss by up to 60 percent.
In June 2023, 10 finalists will be chosen to participate in an exclusive summer mentorship program during which they will work closely with and learn from a 3M scientist. Each finalist then has the opportunity to compete in the final event at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota during an interactive competition comprised of hands-on challenges, presentations, live judging, and more. During the final event, Oct. 9-10, 2023, the grand prize winner and the Improving Lives Award winner will be announced.
“The ‘3M Young Scientist Challenge’ encourages students to think creatively and apply the power of STEM to discovering real-world solutions,” said Karina Chavez, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at 3M. “Inspired by the passion and commitment of these young minds to improving lives and the communities around them, we are excited to see what innovations this year’s entries bring.”
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. In addition, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Network began fall 2022 and welcomed more than 100 former challenge finalists and winners for networking and grant opportunities.
“Each year, submissions to the 3M Young Scientist Challenge showcase the true power of students to solve everyday problems using science,” said Amy Nakamoto, General Manager of Social Impact at Discovery Education. "The Challenge inspires students to use their creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills to make the world a better place.”
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.