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FAQs

Below are frequently asked questions regarding the Siemens Competition

Abstract
  • How do I create an Abstract?
Acknowledgments
  • Why can’t we use names or acknowledgments in our Research Report?
  • I want to reference certain individuals or institutions in my Research Report. How can I do so without mentioning a name?
Behavioral Science Topics
  • What type of project would be considered behavioral science and thus, ineligible?
Categorization
  • I don't know how to categorize my project. Does this matter?
Citations and References
  • I don't know how to format my citations and references. What is acceptable?
Confidentiality
  • Will my research be kept confidential?
  • Will my Research Report or Abstract be published online or in print?
Eligibility
  • I am not a citizen of the United States and I do not hold a green card. May I still apply for the Competition?
  • I have applied for a green card, but have not received it yet. Can I still enter the Competition?
  • Are exceptions made for non-seniors to submit individual projects?
  • Are exceptions made for teams with more than three students?
  • Are we allowed to submit a Research Project again?
  • I will not be 13 years old by the Competition deadline and/or my birth year does not appear on the registration drop down. What should I do?
Forms
  • How can my Principal/Parent/Mentor/Lab Director access their form once I have invited them to participate in my project?
  • What if my Principal/Parent/Mentor/Lab Director can’t find the email with their invitation link?
  • I participated last year and remember that the invite links expired after they were clicked on once. Has that changed for 2017?
  • My Mentor indicated that they filled out the Mentor Form and submitted it, but my dashboard still says it is "incomplete
  • Since I am 18 years or older, do I need to complete the parent/guardian form?
Judging
  • Will I receive feedback from the judges as to why I was not selected as a Semi or Regional Finalist?
Mentors
  • What if I don't have a mentor or advisor?
  • When am I required to obtain the signature of the lab director on my Mentor Form?
Online Registration
  • I submitted my registration online and received my Confirmation Page. Then I realized that I had entered some incorrect information and misspelled words. How do I fix this?
  • My team structure changed during my research project. How does this impact my registration information?
Proctor Requirements
  • If I am selected as a Regional Finalist, will I require a Proctor?
Publications
  • Can I submit my Research Report if I plan to submit it for publication or if it has already been published?
Research Report/Research Project Defined
  • What is the difference between the Research Report and the Research Project?
Research Report Requirements
  • Are my graphs and charts included in the 18-page limit?
  • How many graphics and illustrations are allowed?
  • When should I start on my Research Project?
  • When submitting the Research Reports, can the original signatures be photocopied?
Submission Process
  • I am preparing to submit my final Research Report but I am not sure I uploaded the correct PDF. How can I check my submission?
  • After I submitted my Research Report I realized I need to make a correction. Can I edit my submitted PDF?
Vertebrates
  • My Research Project involves working with live vertebrates and/or human subjects. Is this allowed?
  • My Research Project involves examining tissue of a vertebrate that was initially collected for another research experiment. I was not involved in that experiment. Tissues were provided to me. Is my project allowed?
Competition Facts and Information
  • Is the deadline when the Research Project must be received or when it must be postmarked?
  • How many Research Reports are received each year?
  • How many finalists are chosen?
  • How many regional finalists are chosen?
  • Do I need to travel to a university if I am chosen as a regional finalist?
  • Which university do I compete at if I advance to the regional level?

 

Abstract

How do I create an Abstract?
The Abstract is a synopsis of the problem, methods, results, and conclusions in your Research Report. It should be 100-200 words long, include the project title, and stand alone on a page. Do not include identifying information, such as your name, high school, research facilities, mentors, or advisors. Do not use gender ("he" or "she") in the abstract. The Abstract is not counted as part of the 18-page report. Click here for sample Abstracts for previous winners.The Abstract is part of the Research Report, but is not counted as part of the 18-page limit.

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Acknowledgments

Why can't we use names or acknowledgments in our Research Report?
This ensures that the projects are judged on the quality of your research. Do not include identifying information, such as your name, high school, research facilities, mentors, or advisors. Do not use gender ("he" or "she"). Research Reports that include identifying information may be disqualified.
Acknowledgements must be provided before submission. List any individuals that assisted you with your Research Report, including family members.

I want to reference certain individuals or institutions in my Research Report. How can I do so without mentioning a name?
You may use a generic expression to distinguish your references. For example, if you are citing the work you performed in a research institution, your Report could read "research facility." If you wish to cite an individual, such as your advisor, you may substitute the word "advisor."

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Behavioral Science Topics

What type of project would be considered behavioral science and thus, ineligible?
Any project that involves the study of the actions and reactions of humans or animals, through observation, experimental methods, or both is ineligible. Social science projects, the study of society or social behavior, are also ineligible.

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Categorization

I don't know how to categorize my project. Does this matter?
Your Research Project must be categorized as accurately as possible, so the appropriate judges can be assigned. Consult a teacher in your science or math department, or your mentor, to help you. If your project crosses several disciplines, place it in the one where you feel it best belongs. If necessary, the judges reassign projects to ensure qualified judges review your work.

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Citations and References

I don't know how to format my citations and references. What is acceptable?
Citations and references should be in complete and correct standard format for the discipline. Consult a teacher in your science or math department, or your mentor if you need guidance. Please also consult page 8 of the 2017 Siemens Competition Guidelines for more information regarding citing your sources. You may also refer to The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing. Please keep in mind that improper use of citations may result in disqualification.

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Confidentiality

Will my research be kept confidential?
Yes, all judges sign a confidentiality agreement before judging begins. However, if the student is selected as a National Finalist, students will be required to present your research to a panel of National Judges during the National Competition, which is open to the public.

Will my Research Report or Abstract be published online or in print?
The abstract may be published online (see samples here), but the full Research Report will not be published. Please keep in mind that if the student is selected as a National Finalist, students will be required to present their research to an audience that is open to the public.

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Eligibility

I am not a citizen of the United States and I do not hold a green card. May I still apply for the Competition?
No. You must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident (holding a green card). The Siemens Foundation established this program to close the growing skills gap we have in math, science, and technology here in the United States. Please refer to Page 3 of the 2017 Siemens Competition Guidelines for additional information on Student Eligibility.

I have applied for a green card, but have not received it yet. Can I still enter the Competition?
No. All individuals or team members must first obtain green cards or permanent resident status before registering for the Competition and submitting a Research Report. You need to obtain a green card before the Competition deadline in order to be eligible. Please refer to Page 3 of the 2017 Siemens Competition Guidelines for additional information on Student Eligibility.

Are exceptions made for non-seniors to submit individual projects?
No. Exceptions are not made. Students submitting individual projects must be in good standing, enrolled in, and attending their last year of high school. You must complete all high school courses required for college admissions no later than September 1, 2018. Team projects may include seniors, but are not required to do so.

Are exceptions made for teams with more than three students?
No. Exceptions are not made. Teams may have only two or three students.

Are we allowed to submit a research project again?
If you were a Semi-Finalist, Regional Finalist or National Finalist in the Siemens Competition in 2014, 2015, or 2016 and intend to submit a previously submitted project, you must be able to clearly demonstrate scientific advancement, or submit a new Research Project. You must disclose this information in the Registration process.

I will not be 13 years old by the Competition deadline and/or my birth year does not appear on the registration drop down. What should I do?
Please email Discovery Education at siemenscompetition@discovery.com.

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Forms

How can my Principal/Parent/Mentor/Lab Director access their form form once I have invited them to participate in my project?
Your Principal/Parent/Mentor will receive an email with a link to their form once you have sent them their invite. They will have to create their own secure login username and password to access their form. Once they log in, they can edit and save information to continue working at a later date, or they may submit their form.

NOTE: Edits cannot be made to the form once your final Research Project has been submitted.

What if my Principal/Parent/Mentor/Lab Director can't find the email with their invitation link?
You will need to re-send an invitation email from your Student Dashboard. They will receive a new email with the same access link they were originally sent. (Ideally all participants will save the website address and record their log-on info so they can return to their form at any time.

Do invite links expire after they are clicked once?
No. Invitation links will no longer expire; so if one of your participants uses a link in an old email, they will still be able to access their form successfully. It is recommended that your participants bookmark the log-in site and record their log-on information for easy/repeated access throughout the Competition window.

My Mentor indicated that they filled out the Mentor Form and submitted it, but my dashboard still says it is "incomplete."
In this case, the form is probably missing information. Even though your Mentor saved the form, your dashboard status will not indicate "Complete" unless ALL the fields have been completed and the form has been submitted successfully. You will need to have your mentor log in to the website and check that all fields have been completed within the form in order for your submission to be valid.

Since I am 18 years or older, do I need to complete the parent/guardian form?
Yes, every student who participates in the Siemens Competition must have a parent/guardian complete the form.

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Judging

Will I receive feedback from the judges as to why I was not selected as a Semi or Regional Finalist?
No, unfortunately judges do not provide feedback on any projects. If you are not selected as a Finalist, you are encouraged to submit to the Competition again next year!

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Mentors

What if I don't have a mentor or advisor?
If you do not have a mentor or advisor, a teacher or high school administrator must complete the Mentor Form. If your project utilized any vertebrates, including human subjects, Section V of the Mentor Form, Human and Animal Protection Policy Certification, must be completed by the supervising scientist at the lab where the experiment was performed. You may also visit the Resources page of the Siemens Competition website to find links to external mentor matching sites, which may be able to help you find a mentor.

When am I required to obtain the signature of the lab director on my Laboratory Director-Research Information Form?
If you are doing your research at a university, or other registered laboratory facility, the authorization of the lab director is required. If you are doing your research at your high school, you are not required to obtain this signature.

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Online Registration

What is my Student Dashboard?
Once you register for the Competition, individuals and teams will have access to their Siemens Competition Project Profile. Your Project Profile is a secure, online dashboard that contains the following information:

  • Individual or Team member’s profile (all identifying information).
  • Real-time completion status of all required forms and authorizations (parent, school principal, mentor, lab director, vertebrate qualifications questions).
  • Submission portal to upload the final Research project

It is critical that all students complete their Student Profile information prior to submitting the Research Project. Students will not be allowed to submit their Research Project if all required fields are not complete.

I registered online. Then I realized that I had entered some incorrect information and misspelled words. How do I fix this?
Your online profile will allow you to make edits to your information up until you submit your Research Report.

My team structure changed during my research project. How does this impact my registration information?
If the team structure changes, either before or after registration, students are required to indicate (1) the nature of the change and (2) that all team members agree to the change in the Acknowledgements section of the Project Form. Teams are required to list all current and past team members in the Project form, regardless of whether or not they were part of the final team.

You are also required to list the contributions of all previous team members in the Acknowledgements section. Please provide (1) how the team member(s) contributed to the project, (2) how the project changed or will change without their future contributions, and (3) contact information for the previous team member(s) associated with the project including student names, email addresses, and school names.

Failure to identify others who assisted you with any aspect of your research may result in disqualification at the sole discretion of Discovery Education and the Siemens Foundation, regardless of when such failure to identify comes to their attention.

NEW THIS YEAR: Your team structure must be finalized by 11:59 PM E/T on Monday, August 14, 2017. After this date, you cannot make any changes to your team structure (adding or removing members). If for extenuating circumstances you need to do so, you must present your case in writing to the Siemens Competition Team for approval. 

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Proctor Requirements

If I am selected as a Regional Finalist, will I require a Proctor?
Yes, if you are selected as a Regional Finalist on 10/18/17, your Principal/Headmaster will have to select an educational professional to serve as your Proctor by 10/26/17. The Proctor can be an educator from your school/school district, but they cannot currently teach you. Additionally, proctors cannot be a student's principal, mentor, or anyone related to the project.

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Publications

Can I submit my Research Report if I plan to submit it for publication or if it has already been published?
Yes. You must retain the full rights to your research. Indicate where your research was submitted or published within the Project Information section of your Profile. Your mentor should also include this information on the Mentor Form.

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Research Report/Research Project Defined

What is the difference between the Research Report and the Research Project?
The Research Report is the written 18-page paper, Abstract and References describing your research. The Research Project contains your Research Report, plus all Additional Required Materials, or in other words, the entire project submission.

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Research Report Requirements

Are my graphs and charts included in the 18-page limit?
Yes. References, Abstract, Executive Summary, and Human and Animal Protection Policy Questions are the only parts of the Research Project that are not included within the 18-page limit. The remaining text, tables, data, illustrations, and appendices are counted as part of the 18-page limit.

How many graphics and illustrations are allowed?
You may use as many as you would like. However, it is important to remember that all graphics are counted as part of the 18-page limit.

When should I start on my Research Project?
Start early! There is no time limit on the period of time spent on the Research Project. The number one reason students do not enter the Competition is because they ran out of time.

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Submission Process

I am preparing to submit my final Research Report but I am not sure I uploaded the correct PDF. How can I check my submission?
You will be able to view the PDF you have uploaded before you hit the final "submit" button. Please review this PDF carefully to be sure you have uploaded the correct document.

After I submitted my Research Report I realized I need to make a correction. Can I edit my submitted PDF?
No, once submitted, you may not edit/retrieve/append or remove your final PDF.

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Vertebrates

My Research Project involves working with live vertebrates and/or human subjects. Is this allowed?
Research Projects involving live vertebrates are allowed only under the following conditions:

  • The project is not behavioral science.
  • The research must be approved by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or Institutional Review Board (IRB). A high school IRB is not permitted.
  • The research must be conducted in a registered institution or laboratory.

My Research Project involves examining tissue of a vertebrate that was initially collected for another research experiment. I was not involved in that experiment. Tissues were provided to me. Is my project allowed?
You may examine fluids, cells, tissues, or organs if the materials were supplied to you by the supervising scientist and any animal that was euthanized for a purpose other than your research. Your research must be conducted in a registered institution or laboratory where this type of experimentation is authorized. The supervising scientist is required to complete Section V of the Mentor Form. The form requires the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval or Institution Review Board (IRB) approval, when applicable. Please see the 2017 HAPP Guidelines for additional information.

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Competition Facts and Information

What is the deadline to submit the Research Project?
Tuesday, September 19, 2017, is the date by which your Research Report and all Additional Required Materials must be submitted.

How many Research Projects are received each year?
We receive approximately 1,800 projects from individuals and teams.

How many finalists are chosen?
Up to 300 outstanding projects (a maximum of 50 in each of the six geographic regions) are selected as finalists, including both regional and semifinalists.

How many regional finalists are chosen?
Up to 10 projects (five individual projects and up to five team projects in each of the six geographic regions) are selected to compete at the regional level of the Competition.

Do I need to travel to a university if I am chosen as a regional finalist?
No — you will not need to travel to present your research report if you are chosen as a regional finalist. The regional level presentations are now conducted virtually. You will be required to submit your supporting presentation slides and a digital poster board presentation prior to your assigned Regional Finals event. Regional judges will review your presentation slides and poster board presentation and then you will take part in your 12-minute oral presentation and a proctored 15-minute Q&A session with the regional judges via a secure, web-based technology. Discovery Education will assign students to a specific time slot for their oral presentation and Q&A sessions. Discovery Education utilizes the regional structure shown in the regional map, which can be found on the Siemens Competition website.

At which university do I compete at if I advance to the regional level?
University assignments will be based on a number of factors including the location of the student's school, where the student conducted his/her research, and/or whether there is any potential conflict of interest including if the parent or mentor works at or attends one of the partner universities.

I still have questions. Whom do I contact?
Discovery Education – Siemens Competition
Email: siemenscompetition@discovery.com
Phone: 800-323-9084

Past Siemens Competition winners
If you are a past Siemens Competition winner and have a general inquiry regarding your award, please contact the Siemens Foundation at foundation.us@siemens.com.

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Academic Integrity

Competitors must demonstrate academic integrity. Read our policy about plagiarism and other violations.

Video Highlights

Siemens shieldView the 2016 Siemens Competition National Winners at the national competition in Washington, D.C. Click to view the list of winners. View National Finalist "Road to Regionals"