March 30th, 2023

40 Ways to Win: Genes in Space Awards

The Genes in Space competition attracts students who are curious about the living world on Earth and beyond. Everyone knows that one lucky student will launch their experiment to the International Space Station (ISS) — but what about the rest? Each year, we recognize not just one, but a total of 40 student teams and their educators.

Alexander Gore photo edited.jpg 2021 Junior Scientist Awardee Anish Sundaram

All awardees receive public recognition for their great ideas, as well as prize packages containing Genes in Space goodies. Additionally, our Junior Scientist Awardees, Constellation Awardees, Finalists, and Honorable Mentions will receive a P51™ Fluorescence Biotechnology Kit for their educational institution, enabling them to share their passion for science with their entire classroom. This kit includes some of the same technology used to carry out Genes in Space experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS)!

Constellation Awards for 5 schools

The Constellation Award celebrates an educational institution’s collective enthusiasm for science and space. Five educational institutions (one in each major geographic region) responsible for the most submissions will receive this award.

5 Junior Scientist Awards

Five Junior Scientist Awards will be presented to middle school teams.  This award category recognizes outstanding proposals by students in 7th or 8th grade. In addition to this award, middle school students are eligible to win all Genes in Space awards, including Finalists and Winner.

30 Semifinalists

Our semifinalists represent our top 30 overall proposals. Semifinalists are awarded certificates of recognition and challenged to produce a one-minute video pitch explaining why their experiment should be the one to launch to space. Our Honorable Mention recipients and Finalists are selected from the pool of semifinalists.

10 Honorable Mentions

Ten Honorable Mention Awards will be presented to teams whose proposals display remarkable scientific rigor and creativity. Honorable Mention recipients will be selected from the pool of semifinalists.

5 Genes in Space Finalists

Our Finalists will be selected from the pool of semifinalists. Five Finalist teams will receive mentoring from scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With their mentors, Finalists will have a chance to strengthen their proposals, making them feasible for the microgravity environment aboard the ISS.

Finalists will also receive travel awards to attend the ISS Research and Development Conference in Seattle, Washington where they will present their proposals to a prestigious panel of scientists, educators, and technologists, and compete for a chance to launch their experiment to space.

1 Genes in Space Winner

One Finalist will be named winner, and will have their experiment performed 250 miles above the Earth aboard the ISS. Members of the winning team will be invited to attend a space biology camp to prepare their experiment for space travel. They will also receive an invitation to watch their experiment launch into orbit.