Registration And Submission
What is the difference between “registering” and “submitting”?
The first step to enter The Breakthrough Junior Challenge (the “Challenge”) is to fill out the registration form (this is “registering”). The second requirement is filling in all of the questions on your application (“Application”) and uploading your video (this is “submitting”). There is also a third requirement of the Challenge, which is completing the Peer-to-Peer review. More information can be found at Peer-to-Peer. Only submissions with ALL three (3) requirements completed will be eligible for the Challenge.
Creating an Account
Why am I not receiving an email to activate my account after signing up?
The email should arrive immediately. But sometimes emails from new senders can be caught in secondary folders in your inbox or even those labeled spam or junk. Please check all these folders.
Is there a deadline to create an account?
You may sign up at any point up until the Application deadline on June 25, 2021. However, the sooner you sign up the sooner we can send you direct updates on the Challenge and any helpful information. We recommend that you sign up as soon as possible and complete as much of the Application as soon as you can in the beginning of the competition, while you are working on your video. We encourage you also to submit your complete Application if it is ready before the deadline.
What do I have to do after creating an account?
You will need to complete your Profile, upload your video and submit your Application. For guidance on how to complete your Profile, upload your video and submit your Application, see our tutorial.
What if I’m 12 now, but will turn 13 during the Challenge? Am I allowed to participate?
As long as you are 13 by April 1 at 12:01 AM (PDT), you may participate in the Challenge.
What if I’m 18 now, but will turn 19 during the Challenge? Am I allowed to participate?
You must still be 18 (not yet 19) by October 1 at 11:59 PM (PDT) to participate.
I meet the age requirement, but I am now enrolled in college or university. Am I allowed to participate?
Yes, as long as you meet the age requirements. Also, the teacher you choose as your inspiration can be from your high school, middle school or elementary school.
What if I’m from one country but go to school or university in another country?
For the purposes of the Challenge, your country is the one that is listed on your official documents uploaded to prove your age. If you have dual citizenships and official IDs from more than one country, you can choose your country. But the country chosen on the Application must match the ID you upload.
What is the exact time deadline for submitting my Application on June 25? What time zone?
June 25 at 11:59 PM (PDT).
Do I receive extra credit if I submit my Application before the deadline date?
While we encourage you to submit your Application as soon as it is ready, there is no extra credit given for early submission.
Am I finished once I submit my Application?
No. Your Application is not complete until you participate in the Peer-to-Peer Review, judging at least five (5) submissions by your peers. See here for more details.
Profile and Application Content
What if I am home schooled? Can I still participate?
Yes. In the sections of the Profile and the Application that ask for information about your school or your teacher, you can enter your home address and contact information for a parent or guardian.
What type of document is necessary for the age verification portion of the Application?
An official government-issued document such as a birth certificate, state ID, country ID, or passport document verifying your age and nationality. If your submission makes it into the Evaluation Panel review, we will verify your age during the Verification process.
How long should my video be?
Your video must be 3:00 minutes in length or shorter to qualify for the Challenge. Please check the time on the YouTube counter to make sure your video is 3:00 minutes or under.
If I entered the Challenge last year, can I resubmit my video this year?
As long as your video is 3:00 minutes or shorter and you still meet the age requirement, you may submit a revised 3:00-minute (max) version of your video. Please note that previous Winners are not eligible to participate.
Can I choose whatever science topic I want?
We realize some topics may cross over one or more categories, so please select the one that you think best represents your submission.
Does chemistry count as one of the available categories for my video?
The three fields that the Challenge encompasses are Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics. Some areas of these fields may overlap with chemistry – for example, the biochemistry of cells is part of Life Sciences. However, a lot of chemistry does not qualify. If in doubt, we would recommend that you consult with your teacher. In the event that your video submission does not fit within the one of the three categories (Physics, Life Sciences, Mathematics) as determined in the sole discretion of the Competition Sponsor, your submission may be disqualified from the Competition.
What are the “Life Sciences?”
The Life Sciences are the study of living systems. This encompasses everything from the structure of DNA to the biochemistry of cells, the functioning of organs, the workings of the brain and theories such as evolution that govern entire ecosystems.
Would computer science, quantum computing or artificial intelligence (AI) qualify as topics?
Computer science or AI could possibly be valid topics if the video discusses the direct relation to fundamental topics in Physics, Life Sciences or Mathematics. If in doubt, it makes sense to consult with your teacher. In the event that your video submission does not fit within the one of the three categories (Physics, Life Sciences, Mathematics) as determined in the sole discretion of the Competition Sponsor, your submission may be disqualified from the Competition.
Would psychology qualify as a topic for the Challenge?
Psychology could possibly be a valid topic if the video relates to Life Sciences and for example, discusses brain function and physiology as opposed to strictly behavior. If in doubt, we recommend that you consult with your teacher. In the event that your video submission does not fit within the one of the three categories (Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics) as determined in the sole discretion of the Competition Sponsor, your submission may be disqualified from the Competition.
Do I need to write and produce all of the content myself?
Yes. The video content must be original and you must be the sole author of the content.
Can I have help filming it? With the camera work, lighting, sound recording, editing?
Yes. You could get technical assistance for filming, however it should be directed and scripted by you and the content must be original.
What happens if someone else chooses the same topic as me?
That’s no problem. As long as your idea came independently of theirs, both will be viewed and judged on their own merits.
What is meant by “difficulty?”
The subject of your video should be complex enough to really challenge your explanatory powers. It should not be something that a general audience would already know, or a simple fact that could be looked up and understood in a few seconds.
Can two people from the same class both enter the Challenge?
Absolutely. As long as the submissions are independent and original, we encourage everyone in your class to take the Challenge.
Can I use music in my submission?
As long as the music doesn’t violate or potentially violate any copyrights (see Copyright Definitions and Issues), you may use music in your submission. However, if you are unsure we suggest not using it in your video as submissions with copyright violations or potential copyright violations as determined in the sole discretion of the Competition Sponsor may be disqualified.
Does the science in my video need to be an original contribution to science?
No. The Challenge is about communicating an existing theory, concept or principle in an original (as well as engaging and illuminating) way. You are not expected to have discovered anything in science yet – only to have discovered a fascination for science!
Can I use existing footage of scientists talking?
As long as the footage doesn’t violate or potentially violate any copyrights (see Copyright Definitions and Issues), you may use existing footage of scientists talking in your submission. However, if you are unsure we suggest not using it in your video as submissions with copyright violations or potential copyright violations, as determined in the sole discretion of the Competition Sponsor, may be disqualified. Also, bear in mind that the explanation of the scientific idea must be your own.
Is it okay to work in a group?
The Challenge is a competition for individuals only. You can brainstorm ideas in a group and have others review your Application. You can also use friends as actors in your video. However, you must be the sole creator of your submission.
Can I enter more than one video?
No. The Rules allow only one (1) entry per participant per year.
What if I need help?
Your submission must be your own work. Advice from friends, teachers, and family members may be helpful but the submission must be entirely your own independent work product.
Will selecting the Space Exploration topic increase my chances of winning the Breakthrough Junior Challenge?
No, all videos submitted are judged the same. Your video submission will be scored on the four key criteria (Engagement, Illumination, Creativity and Difficulty) as outlined on the Judging page of the website.
Can I enter two videos?
No – only one video per person is allowed.
Copyright Definitions and Issues
What is copyright?
When you write an essay or take a photograph, you own the copyright to it. Copyright law protects original works that are fixed in a tangible form. That means that the works cannot be ideas; they are things like literary works you can read, musical works you can listen to, movies that you can watch or art that you can look at and touch.
Only the copyright owner has the right to reproduce, modify, distribute copies of and display the work unless the copyright owner has given other people permission to do the same.
It is illegal to use copyrighted work without permission from the copyright owner, and it may be considered copyright infringement. In addition, any submissions with copyright or potential copyright violations, as determined in the sole discretion of the Competition Sponsor may be disqualified.
I think someone is using my copyrighted work without my permission. How do I report this person?
Under our Terms and Conditions, users of our website cannot upload anything unless they own it or are permitted to upload it. If someone has posted your original work without your permission, you may want to seek legal guidance to find out if your rights have been infringed.
If you think that your work has been copied without your permission, you should notify us using the procedures set out in our Terms and Conditions, under section 13.
Am I infringing someone else’s copyright?
We cannot provide you with any legal advice. If you are not sure whether something you use or post to our website infringes someone’s copyright, then you should not use or post it. If you have already posted it, then you should remove it from our website. Any submissions with copyright or potential copyright violations, as determined in the sole discretion of the Competition Sponsor may be disqualified.
What are the different stages of the judging process?
Please refer to the Judging section of the website. It outlines the different phases of the judging process and includes bios of the Evaluation Panel and Selection Committee judges.
Who are the judges?
All of the judges are educators, academics and leaders in either mathematics or science. Please find more information about them at the Judging page.
Who’s on the Selection Committee?
The selection committee includes leaders and academics from science and mathematics, including prior Breakthrough Prize winners. All of their bios are on the Selection Committee page.
What’s the difference between the Evaluation Panel and the Selection Committee? Are they the same people?
The judging criteria for both is the same.
The Evaluation Panel is comprised of academics, educators and representatives from the fields of Mathematics, Physics and Life Sciences as well as science communicators. This Evaluation Panel will review and score the top seventy-five (75) videos. Each of the top seventy-five (75) will receive a minimum of 5 reviews from members of the Evaluation Panel.
The Selection Committee is made up of leaders in the fields of Mathematics, Physics and Life Sciences, and includes prior Breakthrough Prize winners in each of these categories. They will review and score the top group of Finalists as determined by the Evaluation Panel. The Selection Committee decides which Finalists will advance to the final phase of the challenge. The winner of the Popular Vote will be added to this Finalist group for the final review and selection of the Challenge winner.
What is the difference between the Administrative Review and the Verification process?
The Administrative Review process verifies that the submission meets the criteria, rules and guidelines of the Challenge. The Verification process verifies the information on your Application, registration and video submission. If information cannot be verified, your submission may be disqualified from the Challenge.
To find out about the Peer-to-Peer Review process, see here.
What is the Peer-to-Peer Review?
As part of your Application to the Challenge, you will be required to take part in the Peer-to-Peer Review. The Peer-to-Peer Review is the first phase of judging the Challenge Applications, in which the participants review and judge each other’s Applications, using specialized judging criteria described below. The same criteria will be used for all judging phases of the Challenge.
Applications will be scored using the Trait Scoring Rubric, available here, which outlines the four criteria you should consider as you review: illumination, engagement, difficulty and creativity. Each of the four criteria will be graded on a 5-point scale. All scores will then be calculated using a special mathematical formula that ensures a fair and level playing field for all entrants.
During the Peer-to-Peer Review, each Application will be reviewed by five (5) other participants. Participants will review and score the video based on the four criteria. It’s important that each participant reviews the Applications carefully and fairly.
To complete your Application and qualify for the prize, you will need to review and score at least five other Applications by July 10, 2021 at 11:59 pm PDT. You may be asked to review and score additional Applications as well. If you would like to review and score more videos; you may score a maximum of 100 peer submissions with a limit of 20 videos per day.
Will I be notified when I have to start the Peer-to Peer Review?
Yes. An email from us will alert you to begin your peer evaluations, and provide more instructions.
What’s the relative weight of the Peer-to-Peer review?
For the first round of judging it is 100 percent.
What is the relative weight of each score?
It will depend on the total number of registered users participating in the review and the total number of Applications they will review.
Is there a system in place to protect against contestants who “game the system?”
Yes. The Challenge uses a password-protected secure website. The Peer-to-Peer Review is available only for registered users who have completed the entire Application process successfully. Peer-to-Peer Reviews are distributed randomly and all the results go through a mathematical normalization process to make sure that it is not possible to “game the system.”
What is the Popular Vote?
The Challenge invites the world to participate in its judging process, via the Popular Vote on our Breakthrough Facebook page. The winners of the Popular Vote will skip the Selection Committee phase of judging and go straight to the final round – where the winner of the competition is selected! To learn more, visit the Popular Vote page.
Can I “like” my favorite videos more than once?
All Facebook users can only like or make a positive reaction on each video once. You can like more than one video, but you cannot like the same video more than once.
What is the prize for the Popular Vote?
As well as taking a shortcut to the final round of voting, the contestant with the highest combined total of Likes and positive reactions (Love, Haha, Wow) on the original post of their video on the Breakthrough Facebook page will be named the 2021 Popular Vote Top Scorer. The Popular Vote Top Scorer and will automatically bypass the next round of judging (Selection Committee) and be placed in the final round of judging.
What is the Regional Vote?
How do I know which region I qualify for?
The competition is broken up into the following 7 Geographic Regions.
- North America (US / Canada)
- South America & Central America / Mexico / Caribbean
- Asia (including China)
- Middle East / Africa
- Australia / New Zealand
Once you check off your country on your Application you will automatically be placed in the corresponding region.
Where and when will the results be posted?
On September 21, 2021, the following results will be posted on the Breakthrough Junior Challenge webpage:
- Finalists – 15 top-scoring videos from the Evaluation Panel will become Finalists.
- Popular Vote Top Scorer – the video with the highest combined total of Likes and positive reactions (Love, Haha, Wow) on the original posts on our Breakthrough Facebook page during the Popular Vote.
- Regional Champions – the 7 Geographical Regions will each have a top-scoring video with highest combined total of Likes and positive reactions (Love, Haha, Wow) on the video’s original post on the Breakthrough Facebook Page during the Popular Vote.
Will I be notified about how my video did in the judging process?
While we greatly appreciate all of the Applications we receive, we will only be able to individually notify those who make it into the Popular Vote and the Finalists.
When will the winner be announced?
The winner will be announced in November 2021 (tentatively).
Is the $250,000 prize a cash award?
The $250,000 is for a post-secondary scholarship and can be used for tuition and fees at colleges and universities worldwide. For more details about the scholarship please visit the Rules page.
Can I use the prize money for any purpose?
No. It is only used for a post-secondary educational scholarship and direct costs associated with it. For more details about the scholarship, please visit the Rules page.
Is the $50,000 prize for my teacher a cash reward?
Yes. The Teacher Inspiration Prize is a cash gift to the teacher that inspired you in the field of physics, mathematics and life sciences. They may use the funds as they wish.
I am having trouble at the website or with completing the Application, and uploading my link to YouTube.
Please view this tutorial which will walk you through the Application process.
I wasn’t able to upload my video.
All you need to do is send us the YouTube link for your video in your Application, and we will upload it on our end.
I wasn’t able to upload my video. Can I get an extension for my submission?
The deadline for the Challenge is June 25 at 11:59 PM PDT. We recommend uploading your video as soon as it’s complete so you don’t risk missing this deadline.
If I suspect suspicious activity or a dishonest submission, can I report it and to whom?
Please report any suspicious activity to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I created an account but will not be submitting a video. Do I need to cancel?
Whom do I contact for other questions I have?
You can email us at email@example.com.