Google today launched Google Science Fair in a bid to find the next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs that could have a positive impact on the world.
The annually-held event, now in its fifth year, aims to get teens aged 13-18 to come up with an idea and make something. Nick D'Aloisio, arguably the UK's best-known teenage tech prodigy, sold his news aggregation app, Summly, to Yahoo in 2013 for a reported $30 million (£18 million).
“Together with LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic, we’re calling on all young researchers, explorers, builders, technologists and inventors to try something ambitious," wrote Miriam Schneider, from the Google for Education team, in a blog post. "Something imaginative, or maybe even unimaginable. Something that might just change the world around us.”
Google said it wants students worldwide to submit world-changing ideas in fields such as biology, computer science and anthropology.
Google has come up with two themes this year in a bid to get more submissions. They are: "It’s your turn to change the world” and “What will you try?”.
Google also has seven new category awards this year, with prizes being given out for ideas specific to education, health and environment, and others.
Prizes include $100,000 (£65,000) in scholarships and classroom grants from Scientific American and Google, a National Geographic Expedition to the Galapagos, an opportunity to visit LEGO designers at their Denmark headquarters, and the chance to tour Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship at their Mojave Air and Spaceport.
Submissions can be made via the Google Science Fair website between now and 18 May. Finalists will be flown out to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, on 21 September for the final event.
“Previous Science Fair winners have blown us away with their ideas,” wrote Schneider. “Now it’s your turn.”
When asked what Google gets out of running the competition, a spokesman said: "Google was founded through experimentation and we hope to encourage that same behaviour among the next generation of scientists and engineers through this programme. We want to make a science competition that’s accessible to students all over the world, and that gets them truly excited about science at a young age."