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Intel pulls science fair sponsorship

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The Society for Science & the Public (the Society) is seeking a new title sponsor for the nearly 70-year-old International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest international high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) competition.
Intel has sponsored the event since 1997, but won’t renew that from 2019. The title sponsorship is thus available for only the second time in the fair’s history.
The next sponsor will commit at least $15-million annually for a minimum sponsorship term of five years.
“We are at an inflection point. Our next sponsor has an extraordinary opportunity to inspire and impact future generations of scientific leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs,” says Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of Society for Science & the Public and publisher of Science News.
“This competition and its affiliated science fairs held across the globe reach young people like no other program can, igniting their passion for science and their desire to discover innovative solutions to some of our world’s most intractable problems.”
Each year, millions of high school students from around the globe – tomorrow’s leading scientists, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs – enter the event, striving to discover answers and develop new solutions to humanity’s greatest problems.
The International Science and Engineering Fair has been cultivating and celebrating the world’s most powerful STEM talent pipeline since its launch in 1950, and has provided more than $100-million in awards to competing students.
The competition identifies and fosters the best and brightest minds through its more than 425 affiliated fairs in more than 75 countries, regions and territories globally.
Tens of millions of students compete in science fairs every year around the globe at local, state, regional and national levels, with hundreds of thousands then rising to compete in the society’s affiliated fairs.
Top winners at these fairs – about 1 800 students representing the top talent – are selected as finalists each year and earn the right to travel to and compete at the culminating International Science and Engineering Fair held each May.
The weeklong event hosts the student finalists as they are given the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for (on average) more than $4-million in prizes, scholarships and awards.
Almost 8,000 additional people including volunteer judges, alumni, members of the global science fair community, local school children and their educators, distinguished guests and members of the media also attend the event.
“Sponsorship of the International Science and Engineering Fair spans global borders, providing an invaluable platform that ensures we can identify and develop the next generations of top young scientists, engineers and innovators,” says Craig Barrett, former CEO and chairman of Intel and current Society Trustee. “These young people make the world a better place for all of us.”
Since 1997, the International Science and Engineering Fair has grown from 27 participating countries, regions and territories to 78 in 2016.
Students from South Africa have competed at the International Science and Engineering Fair since 1999. In 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona, seven student finalists and nearly 200 students from South Africa had competed overall since the country’s first year of participation.
South Africa holds one main affiliated fair each year, the South African Expo for Young Scientists.
Among the South African participants is Danielle Taljaard, who competed in ISEF in 2010. She is currently an electronic engineer for South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs in Antarctica. Previously, she was an embedded software engineer for Paramount Advanced Technologies, a South African company focused on global defence and aerospace innovation.
Siyabulela Xuza competed in ISEF in 2007. Xuza is the founder and MD of Galactic Energy Ventures, an investment holding company focused on creating global opportunities through smart energy solutions to address the energy needs in emerging markets.
In 2013, his groundbreaking work on microfuel cells was published in the Journal of Electroceramics, and in 2010 he was awarded a fellowship to the Africa Leadership Network, a premier network consisting of individuals poised to shape Africa’s future.