Regeneron ISEF 2021 FAQ

Each year, students from around the world compete in the Society for Science & the Public’s more than 420 affiliated high school science fairs. Top winners earn the right to compete at Regeneron ISEF where nearly 2,000 finalists are judged in 21 different categories. During the week of August 24, the Society hosted a series of conference calls with directors for those affiliated fairs to answer questions about the impact of COVID-19 on Regeneron ISEF 2021.

Please see below for a round-up of the top questions asked. Click here, to watch a recording of one of the sessions.

Regeneron ISEF 2021

Yes, we will be holding the Regeneron ISEF as a virtual competition with judging and awards. We anticipate both Grand Awards and Special Awards will be given.

The program week for Virtual Regeneron ISEF 2021 will be held May 16-21, 2021. Judging will take place May 3-6 with a given category being judged on one day over three time periods.

Yes. There will be no changes to the categories for 2021. Please reference the full definitions on our website:

Yes. The Society believes that an in-person science fair cannot and should not be replaced with a virtual experience as a long-term solution. The intrinsic value of the in-person dialogue, interaction and cultural and intellectual exchange that is afforded by an in-person event cannot be fully realized in a virtual environment, although we continue to innovate on ways to make it virtual experiences interactive and positive as possible. However, while we as a nation and as a world continue to suffer the effects of this pandemic, our over-arching goal is to keep everyone safe and to proceed with an abundance of caution.


The base affiliation fee will be $550 and covers up to two projects with an additional per project fee of $75. Please see for more information about fees.

The affiliation process is open as of August 31, 2020, and the deadline for affiliation with the $50 discount is October 7, 2020. Please visit for a complete 2020-2021 calendar.

No. Last year’s fees are non-refundable as will be the case for this year. These fees support our year-round support of the fair network.

The project allocations for your fair will not be affected by last year’s participation. You will receive instructions during the affiliation process, asking you to indicate whether you held an in-person fair, cancelled your fair, or held a virtual fair. We will indicate the required documentation for each circumstance.

The project allocations for your fair will be the same as 2019. We will not take last year into account and we will not count any variance this year against your fair in future project allocations. Please note: if your fair appealed for additional projects in 2020, you will need to appeal for additional projects in 2021

Fairs’ allocations will not change from 2019 and with the reduction in fees and with no travel costs, you may be able to commit to your full allocation. We understand that affiliated fair registration numbers may not be as high this year as is typical, and would recommend that fairs use a minimum threshold of 1 finalist project per 7 high school projects registered to determine the appropriate allocation.

Virtual Fairs

Yes. The 2021 Affiliation Agreement is written to recognize that the Regeneron ISEF 2021 will be virtual and that an affiliated fair may hold a fair virtually, in a hybrid fashion or in-person.

The Society has been gathering information from fairs that were successful in holding virtual fairs last Spring and are working ourselves to determine how best to manage the Regeneron ISEF 2021. As we know more, we will share information with the affiliated fair network on our website and through continued conversations. Many application and fair management software systems have included new features to support virtual events. The Society is using the 6Connex platform for virtual conferencing, but has not yet determined what software solution will be used for virtual judging.

The Society encourages all affiliated fairs to have an open dialogue with your sponsors about holding a virtual science fair, how they can be involved and why you continue to need their support. The Society has found that many sponsors have been eager to support our efforts to reach a broader public through our virtual programming.


Please email with any rules question that you, your students, teachers or parents may have. The ISEF SRC members take turns responding to this account and will provide guidance typically within 48 hours.

Projects that were conducted between January 2020 and March 2020 that already competed at an ISEF-affiliated fair, may not be presented in 2021 without meeting the Society’s continuation criteria . Additionally, please note that each student is only allowed to enter one project in an affiliated fair, and that project may include no more than 12 months of continuous research. Projects competing at Regeneron ISEF 2021 may not include research performed before January 2020.

Each affiliated fair has their own eligibility criteria that will determine if they accept students from other countries, states or regions. It is not against the International Rules for a team from different territories to compete together, but the team may compete in only one affiliated science fair. The host fair must agree to support that team’s project should it advance in competition.