• Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences

  • Technology

  • Biological and Ecological Sciences

  • Social and Behavioural Sciences

Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences

For a project to be accepted into this category, it must be based on chemistry, physics, mathematics, applied mathematics, engineering, computer programming and language, or electronics. Also eligible are projects based on earth and space sciences such as meteorology, geophysics, geology and astronomy


For a project to be accepted into the Technology category, the core of the project must be the use of technology in new or improved applications, enhanced efficiencies, new innovations, or better ways to do things.

The category could include projects related to the Internet, communications, electronic systems, robotics, control technology, applications of technology, biotechnology, innovative developments to existing problems, computing or automation.

Students are also expected to understand the basic science behind the technology so that they can get the most from the project.

Biological and Ecological Sciences

For a project to be accepted into this category, it must have a biological and/or ecological focus and investigate aspects of animal, human, microbial or plant biology.

Typically, projects deal with the following areas of study:

  • Agriculture

  • Anatomy

  • Animal Science

  • Biochemistry

  • Biotechnology

  • Disease

  • Ecology

  • Environmental Science

  • Eood Science

  • Enzymology

  • Forestry

  • Genetics

  • Horticulture

  • Medical Science

  • Metabolism

  • Microbiology

  • Molecular Biology

  • Physiology

  • Physiotherapy

  • Plant Science

  • Veterinary Science

Social and Behavioural Sciences

For a project to be accepted into this category, it must cover social and behavioural sciences:

  • Economic, geographical, psychological or sociological studies of human behaviour, attitudes and experience;

  • Social analysis of environmental factors, demography, learning and perception; or

  • The study of attitudes and behaviour in relation to health, nutrition, work, leisure and living habits.

Also eligible are projects on consumer affairs, effects on society, social anthropology and political science, provided they involve the use of scientific methods.


Have an idea that you are passionate about?

We want your ideas and projects about the things you are passionate about – whether it is in sports, social media, beauty, animals, human behaviour, astronomy, robotics!. Young Scientists Kenya holds an annual exhibition of student projects submitted in four scientific areas.

Global Experience

Students compete for prizes including the chance to win a trip to Ireland to present in the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Project Development Support

Eligible project teams will also get the change at to participate in a Business Bootcamp to help them commercialize their ideas

How to enter your project


The competition is open to secondary school students residing in Kenya. A team comprises of two students from the same school.

What to Do Now

Think of a Science-based idea that can be developed into a project, and work on it. The judges want to see your original research, not reams of words taken from some book or downloaded from the web.

By all means use whatever help you can, but put your own individual stamp on whatever you do. The first person you should talk to is your science or technology teacher. He or she will be happy to assist you in any way possible, offering guidance and advice as needed.

Remember that universities, institutes of technology, relevant organisations, non governmental organisations (NGOs), libraries and the Internet may prove useful as you research your project; but please always make contact with institutions or organizations through your teacher.

Deciding On Your Topic

Get an idea of what you want to study. Ideas might come from hobbies, or perhaps problems you see that need solutions. Due to limited time and resources, you may want to study only one or two specific subjects.

Research Your Idea

Visit your local library or use the Internet to learn everything you can on your topic. Observe related events. Gather existing information. Look for unexplained or unexpected results. Visit a university or institute of technology. Talk to professionals in the field. Consult your teacher and parents. Write or email companies for specific information. Obtain or construct needed equipment.


Organise everything you have learned about your topic. At this point you should narrow your hypothesis by focusing on a particular idea. Your library research should help you.

Make a Timetable

Choose a topic that not only interests you, but also can be done in the amount of time you have available. Leave time to fill out necessary forms to participate in Young Scientists Kenya. Certain projects require more time than others; allow plenty of time to experiment and collect data. Simple experiments do not always go as you might expect the first time, or even the second time. Also, leave time to write your report and put together an exhibit.

Planning Your Project

Now, before you go any further, there are a few simple questions you must ask yourself:

  • What am I trying to find out?

  • How am I going to do this?

  • Where can I get the help I need?

  • What do I expect to learn at the end of my research?

  • Have I access to the apparatus or equipment to carry out the work?

Once you are satisfied that you can really get to grips with your project, you will be able to enter the Planning Stage. Remember, only a few scientific discoveries are the result of chance or luck; the majority are the result of many hours of dedicated thought and experimentation.

Read Background Material And Literature

The rule here is read, read and then read some more! This will give you real insight into your topic. Background material can be obtained from books and journals and by using the Internet.

Plan Your Research Design

Decisions need to be made about the experiments you will conduct, how you will design your apparatus, and, if applicable, how you will collect your data.

Carry Out Your Research

Record each and every measurement, experiment or observation. At this stage, your project may fail completely. If so, it is still important to record and report the failure. Remember, a null result is still a scientific finding and an important guide to other scientists. Record all your observations and findings.

Analyse Your Results

After you have completed all of your research, you need to examine and organise your results. Try to focus on how your results relate to your original topic and its objectives. Good results merit good presentation.

Make Your Conclusions

You are now ready to develop a theory to explain your findings. Keep an open mind on the results you get and the conclusions you reach.

Evaluate Your Project

You are now in a position to make recommendations and perhaps contribute through them to scientific knowledge.

It is time to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I succeed in researching my topic?

  • Do my conclusions support my original hypothesis?

  • Have I added to the body of knowledge through my research?

Research Is The Answer

Research is the process by which people create new knowledge about the world in which they live, in order to answer a question or solve a problem. When choosing your topic, give careful thought to how your research might enhance the world and its inhabitants.

Questioning is probably the most important part of scientific creativity and is often followed by an “if…then…” statement. Questioning usually leads to observations or experiments.

Good scientists, both young and old, use a process to study what they see in the world. By following the six stages listed below, you should be able to produce a superior scientific project.

  • Be curious, choose a limited subject, ask a question, identify or originate/define a problem.

  • Review published materials related to your problem or question.

  • Evaluate possible solutions and make your educated guess (hypothesis).

  • Challenge and test your hypothesis through experimentation (data collection) and analysis.

  • Evaluate the results of your experiment and reach conclusions based on your data.

  • Prepare your report and exhibit.

As a scientist, you should learn to be skeptical about all research results, especially your own.

A good experiment may or may not answer the questions asked – but almost always leads to fresh questions that require new experiments or observations.

The final hypothesis is often developed after running a number of preliminary experiments, analysing a body of results, and reaching a tentative conclusion

Advice on how to do your research

Data can be collected using four broad methods:

  • Documentary sources

  • Observations

  • Surveys

  • Tests, measurements and experiments

Documentary Sources

Documents can be used as the basis for an entire study or simply to set an issue in historical context. Personal documents, used judiciously, can be useful in providing information. Try to ensure that the documents you reference are the most current available. Photographs and maps may also be used.


Observation is one of the primary methods of collecting data, but care must always be taken to ensure that data are observed in an unbiased way. The observer’s senses may not be able to record everything. Also, if the observers are watching people, animals or other organisms that may change their behaviour because they are being observed, the results may be invalid.


Questionnaires, interviews and schedules are some of the techniques used in conducting survey work. If you are conducting a survey, consider the following carefully:

  • Questionnaire design merits great attention.

  • Good interviewers do not influence the answers given during an interview. Work from prepared questions

  • Your questions should be clear and concise, and they should be designed to gather relevant information.

  • Test your questionnaire in advance on a small section of the population – this is called a pilot survey. This will identify the questions that need changing, which will lead to a more effective questionnaire.

  • If you are recording any type of behaviour by animals, plants or humans, it is advisable to use a diary or journal to record your observations.

  • It is very important to think through how you are going to analyse the results you will get.

Tests, Measurements And Experiments

Tests, measurements and experiments should be used only if they are relevant to your research and if you are capable of doing and understanding them yourself. Particular attention should be given to the design of experiments, the requirement for controls, sufficient replication and repeat experiments where appropriate.

Ensure that any testing or experimentation you undertake is not dangerous: That is, be sure it will not put you or others at risk of injury or disease.

What techniques can you use to analyse data?

There are three main procedures you might use:

  • You could summarise your data.

  • You could try to explain patterns which emerge, using comparison techniques.

  • You could carry out a significance test; for example, a t-test.

Summarising Data

“Summarising” data is just what it sounds like. It is a way of reducing the bulk of data to a more manageable size, as well as a means of seeing the emergence of certain patterns. In summarising, you can put data into groups or classes. You can also measure typical values, such as the mean, mode and median. Some data, of course, will not be accurately described by these statistics. Such situations require a summary technique to measure movement away from the average, called deviation from the mean.

Comparing Data

We can compare data in the following ways: Firstly, we could compare the similarities and differences among the data. Secondly, we could use statistical techniques to compare the data. These techniques are widely used to compare variables.

Significance Tests

When you have made your comparisons and conclusions, you need to know if they are really significant. Significance tests are used to make sure that results from comparing one data set with another are not the result of chance.

Remember to use a representative sample.

A random sample means that every member of a population has an equal chance of being chosen (e.g; pulling numbers from a hat).

A systematic sample takes every nth member from a population. Stratified sampling uses the idea of groups or classes within the population being analysed.

Any group that shares similar characteristics and has boundaries may be termed a population. (Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to refer to plant populations.)

Quota sampling means that if you want to interview, for example, 200 people about shopping, you could go to a particular part of town where you would be likely to meet shoppers. You may have pre-set guidelines, such as age group and numbers of men and women. However, this is not a statistically random sample.

When sampling a population, you may also need to use a control group. If, for example, you were testing the effects of a particular experience on a group of people, you would need a control group of the very same type of people, who have everything in common except the particular experience.

Case studies, which look at a small number of individuals and a particular context in depth, may be useful in helping to understand how a particular process works. Such case studies can help inspire a better way to formulate a hypothesis for testing with a large sample.

Elements we are looking for in your project

The judges have identified the most common weaknesses that affect projects at the initial entry stage. A project with any of these weaknesses may not qualify for inclusion in the Young Scientists Kenya exhibitions

Lack Of Original Primary Research

Some studies are little more than a description of what is already known about the topic. Researching the existing body of knowledge is only the first stage of any scientific study.

Unreliable Experimental Methods

Frequently, projects state a particular method for data collection that simply cannot collect the data required. Suppose the aim of the project was to find out which washing powder was most effective; then certain chemical experiments should be undertaken. However, all too often students say that they will distribute questionnaires to gather this information, but what in fact they are collecting are attitudes and opinions about the most effective washing powder, rather than scientifically reliable data.

Vague Or Unfocused Objectives

A study which aims to find out all about the ozone layer is not a realistic scientific study, as no one could be expected to uncover everything about the ozone layer. Scientific research requires you to be very specific about what you wish to find out, and setting measurable objectives is the only way to present scientific investigation. For example, a project that looks at the effects on wildlife in a particular area as a result of disturbance created by industrial activity would have to focus on a very specific issue, as this topic is so broad. Much thought should be given to focus and scope when developing your project.

Lack Of Originality

The specific question raised in a project must be one that has not been posed and recorded by any previous scientist. However, this is not to say that 20 projects on the topic of, for example, radon gas or water pollution could not be original, as they will all deal in different ways with various aspects of the topics.

Unsuitability Of Topic

A topic must be able to be scientifically proven or disproved by research methods available to second level students. A project on whether or not Jupiter is inhabited by living creatures, for example, is not a suitable topic.

Lack Of Scientific Content

Often proposals are submitted that are not scientific projects, but essentially literature reviews. These proposals are information collection exercises and not scientific studies.

Safety Issues

Projects which put the students themselves, animals, or others at risk of physical injury or disease will not be accepted for the exhibition.

Ethical Issues

Projects which put the students themselves, animals, or others at risk psychologically or emotionally will not be accepted for the exhibition.

Investigation Period

Sometimes students propose a project that is weak because the period over which the project is being carried out is too short. Judges need to be convinced that the student/team has enough time to complete the project for the event.

Question Yourself

  • Have you clearly defined the aims of your study?

  • Have you been able to access the necessary equipment to conduct your study?

  • Have you been successful with experiments and data collection?

  • Have you obtained meaningful results?

  • Are you confident that you can complete the project by the time of the event?

  • Has the project been entered in any other exhibition or competition? If so, be sure to mention this in your project report.

  • Has the project been published previously in part or in full? If so, give details in your project report.

  • Are you using potentially dangerous chemicals, organisms or equipment in your project? If so, please discuss with your teacher to ensure that your project adheres to the correct safety regulations.

Is External Help Allowed?

It is expected that all or the majority of the work for a project will be conducted in school, the home or an outside environment. Understandably, some projects may involve visiting distant locations. Students may seek advice or information about their project from sources beyond their school, such as on the Internet or from government organisations, universities, institutes of technology or other experts. However, it is recommended that the majority of students’ work be conducted under the supervision of their relevant teachers, with appropriate levels of involvement by parents, guardians or other responsible adults. When experimental/research work is conducted by the students themselves, or on their behalf, in a laboratory that is external to their school (e.g. in a local university, a hospital or an industry), that work should be clearly identified and acknowledged within the project report book and presentation. In addition, it is a requirement that a cover letter from the external facility is included in the project report book that describes the extent of the assistance provided and the work done by the students within that facility or undertaken on behalf of the students.

Intellectual Property Rights

If your project includes products or processes that possess or contain new functional or technical aspects, you might consider applying for a patent. Please note that it is unwise to make any public disclosure of an invention or to put it into use publicly – at an exhibition, for example – before an application for a patent has been made, as such action may prejudice the obtaining of a valid patent.

  • Project report book, Summary/Abstract (included in report book)

  • Project diary

  • Visual display

Project Report Book

The judges will collect your report book for a closer look at your project.

The report book may not be returned to you until the end of the event. However, be assured that each report book will be studied carefully by the assigned judges in the judging rooms. Also please note that not all assigned judges will sign your report book. In some cases, only the first judge to complete a review will sign your book, but this does not indicate in any way that your project is weak.

When you arrive at the conference centre, please make sure that you write your stand number on the front of your report book, as this will ensure that your book is returned to the correct stand.

Your report book should include no more than 50 pages of text (word processed where possible) including appendices and references:

Title page: This contains the name of your project, the name of your school, and the names of participating students.

Comments page: Put a page into your report book which may be signed by a judge. Again please note that not all assigned judges will necessarily sign your report book.

Contents page: This includes the sections and page numbers of the report.

Summary/Abstract: This is a very important part of your project. Ideally it should be about two pages long and include a short summary of your project. Someone reading this summary should understand what you were setting out to achieve and what your main results and conclusions are.

Introduction: This should set the scene for your report. Why did you undertake the project, and what did you hope to achieve? In this section you should also refer to experiments, surveys and questionnaires, describing the part they played in your project. Make sure you refer to previous research in your subject area.

Experimental methods: This section should describe the experiments you carried out. Keep in mind the value of diagrams and illustrations.

Results: You should include a good sample of your measurements and all of your important results in this section. You can include the bulk of your readings and measurements in appendices.

Conclusions and recommendations: You should comment on the results of your work in this unit. Be clear and concise. How does your work compare with existing theories? How accurate is the data you got from your study? What are the strong and weak points of your methods? How might your work be extended and improved? Does your project contribute to scientific knowledge and research?

Acknowledgements: At the end of your report, acknowledge any help you received during the project; for example, from teachers, companies, institutions or parents.

Appendices: Include additional information, reports and any relevant letters or correspondence.

References: List any books, articles, web pages and other reference sources that helped you in your project.

Project Diary

All entrants must keep a diary of their projects. You should not trust yourself to remember facts and details. Record everything in your diary and use it as an information store for writing your report. You can even write personal comments about how your project is going and what your progress is like. If relevant, record the prevailing atmospheric conditions (e.g., temperature, rain or sunshine, etc.). Remember to record all of the names of books you have looked up and all the people or institutions you have contacted. If you are working as a team, remember to appoint a leader. The leader should archive all relevant information and appoint a team member to keep the diary.

Visual Display

Your display should be only a summary of your project. Do not try to display your entire project. Cover just the main points and highlights. Plan your display well in advance. Use a map or plan to help you make the best use of your space. Work out the dimensions of everything you want to include. How your project is displayed on your stand will be taken into consideration by the judges when reaching their decision.

  • The back display panel, which is in A0 portrait format, measures 1,189mm high by 841mm wide.

  • The worktop is 1,000mm wide by 500mm deep.

The visual display of your project should have the following characteristics:

A good title: Your title is an extremely important attention-grabber. A good title should simply and accurately reflect your research and the aims of your project. The title should make the casual observer want to know more – however, as previously mentioned, it is best to avoid “catchy” titles as they do not tend to impress the judges.

Photographs: Many projects involve elements that may not be safely exhibited at the event, but that are nonetheless important to the research/findings. You might want to take photographs of important parts/phases of your experiment to use in your display. Photographs or other visual images of human test subjects may be used only if you have obtained informed consent.

Good organisation: Make sure your display is logically presented and easy to read. A glance should permit anyone (particularly the judges) to quickly locate the title, experiments, results and conclusions. When you arrange your display, imagine that you are seeing it for the first time.

Eye-catching design: Make your display stand out. Use neat, colourful headings, charts and graphs to present your project. Home-built equipment, construction paper and coloured markers are excellent for project displays. Pay special attention to the labeling of graphs, charts, diagrams and tables. Each item must have a descriptive title. Anyone should be able to understand the visuals without further explanation. Make sure the text is large enough to be read easily.

Components that are well-constructed and correctly presented: Be sure to adhere to the size limitations and safety considerations when preparing your display. Display all required forms for your project. Make sure your display is sturdy, as it will need to remain intact for quite a while. Do not hesitate to ask for advice from adults if you need it.

Please note: It is very important to check your spelling!

Be aware of the following rules and statements pertaining to plagiarism and ethics.

What is Plagiarism and How Can Students Avoid It?

Plagiarism is using others’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit to sources whenever you use:

  • Another person’s idea, opinion or theory.

  • Any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings – any pieces of information taken from outside sources – that are not common knowledge.

  • Quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words.

  • Paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words.

These guidelines apply irrespective of the source of the information.

Plagiarism of any kind will result in immediate disqualification from the competition, save in the absolute discretion of Young Scientists Kenya and the judges.


Scientific and technological investigations and applications must be undertaken with integrity through the use of rigorous methods.

Participating students must ensure that any involvement of people as participants in their research is always fully justified. Participants have a duty to protect the well-being, dignity and privacy of individuals. The welfare of any animals that are subject to investigation must always be respected, and likewise any experimentation carried out in the natural environment must avoid adverse impacts.

What happens if you get accepted

At The Event

  • Once you arrive at the venue and register, you will receive your exhibitor pass and student pack.

  • Your stand number will be confirmed when you register. Go to your stand and set up your project in the space provided. If you can, bring sticky tape, a stapler, scissors, Blu-tac and whatever else you need to display your project.

  • Your project will be judged three times by three different judges. The judges can spend only approximately 15 minutes at your stand, so be prepared when they arrive. They will ask you to tell them about your project and then move on to more specific questions.

  • Make sure any mobile phones are turned off during the judging times. Make sure that each person from your team does some of the talking. The team leader should introduce all members and explain what sections each team member will be talking about.

  • If you have any questions or queries, ask a member of the YSK staff available on the floor during the event. They will do whatever they can to assist you.

  • The judges have the right to re-assign your project to another category during assessment at the event.

Things To Remember

You must register first at the main entrance of the KICC, where you will receive an exhibition pass. After registration, security will allow you to bring projects into the centre. Security will not allow anyone to gain entrance without an exhibition ID pass.

Your project will be part of the exhibition until the event closes. Projects may not be removed before this time.

You must be at your stand during judging times and have at least one representative of your team/school present when the event is open to the general public.

Young Scientists Kenya cannot take responsibility for any items that may be lost, stolen or misplaced during the event.

What The Judges Look For

The judges will look for creative ability, scientific thought and approach to the work, thoroughness, skill, clarity and teamwork.

Tips from the Judges

When it comes to being successful at Young Scientists Kenya, there really is no substitute for hard work. That said, we want to give you as much help as we can along the way. The following advice and tips from our panel of judges might make your job a little easier!

  • Start to work on your project as soon as you can. Some projects can take a lot longer to complete than you envisage when you start.

  • To succeed, you have to be interested and involved in your project from the beginning.

  • Don’t leave things to chance or guesswork. Research your project well, so you’ll be able to deal comfortably with any queries that come your way, whether they be from the judges or members of the public.

  • Keep a detailed project diary for your work. We all forget things, and this may help you answer judging queries at a later date.

  • Accurate use of scientific methods counts for a lot when judging begins, so take your time and make sure that all your facts and figures are correct. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher when unsure about something.

  • The project title should accurately reflect the aims of the project. Avoid catchy titles, as they do not tend to impress the judges.

  • Be original. Make your project stand out from the crowd by giving good solid reasons for your choice of subject.

  • Make your exhibit as attractive as possible. Presentation may not be everything, but clear, concise work shown in an attractive manner can only benefit you when judging takes place.

Judges evaluate and focus on:

  • What you did in the current year

  • How well you followed scientific methodologies

  • The detail and accuracy of research as documented in your report book and notebook

  • Whether experimental procedures were used in the best possible way

Judges look for research that is well thought out. They consider how significant your project is in its field, as well as how thorough you were. Did you leave something out? Did you start with four experiments and finish only three?

Good Communication

Judges applaud students who can speak freely and confidently about their work. They are not interested in memorised speeches – they simply want to talk with you about your research to see if you have a good grasp of your project from start to finish. Besides asking the obvious questions, judges often ask questions to test your insight into your project, such as ‘What was your role?’; ‘What didn’t you do?’; and ‘What would be your next step?’ Remember: A little enthusiasm goes a long way!