Intel ending support of Science Talent Search

Intel is dropping its support of the storied annual Intel Science Talent Search that brings 40 finalists in science and math from American high schools to Washington D.C. every year to meet the country’s leaders, and which numbers Nobel prize winners among its past contestants.

The Society for Science and the Public Interest, which runs the contest, said Wednesday that it is looking for a new sponsor for the contest that begins in April 2017.

Applicants should be ready to spend at least $6 million a year for a sponsorship term of five years, the society said.

Intel will continue to sponsor an international contest – the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair – at least through 2019. That contest is held yearly at science fairs in 70 countries, with finalists brought to the U.S. to compete.

Intel spokeswoman Gail Dundas said Intel will have sponsored the Science Talent Search for 20 years. “Twenty years is quite a lengthy time for a corporate sponsorship,” she said.”It’s been a great opportunity for us. We think we have been able to create a real legacy.”

The program’s alumni include winners of numerous math and science honors, including MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, two Fields Medals, eight Nobel prizes, five National Medals of Science.

Intel took over the contest from Westinghouse in 1998. The company’s website contains no hint that it was dropping its support of the contest, which it described as “the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition.”

The contest gives awards to high school seniors for scientific research projects and their potential for leadership in the scientific community.

Around 1,800 students attending American high schools enter the competition each year.

An applicant pool is narrowed to 300 semifinalists who receive cash prices. The top 40 are invited to Washington D.C. for a week-long celebration and to compete for top honors, with a top award of $150,000. A total of $1.5 million prizes will be awarded this year.

The $6 million annual cost of the contest is a relatively small amount of money for Intel, which reported $13.2 billion in revenue in the second quarter of this year.

A champion of the contest and a promoter of so-called “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education was Craig Barrett, who was Intel’s CEO from 1998 -the year Intel took over the contest – to 2005. Intel’s current CEO is Brian Krzanich, who has moved the company in new directions such as the Internet of Things while trying to stem a decline in sales of chips to the PC industry and maintain a lead in sales to server manufacturers

Barrett said in the Society’s announcement that it is searching for a new sponsor that when the sponsorship became available in 1997, “it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”

He added, “There is no doubt in my mind that it has been instrumental in encouraging then next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators.”

Photo: Intel headquarters (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)


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  • Geo

    I hope this isn’t a cost savings idea that someone in a cubical came up with. Very sad to see this go.

  • pgm554

    Very few ,if any public school finalists.
    Wonder how many from Douglass High in Baltimore?

  • hoapres

    Intel is H1B infested and no longer hires Americans.

  • Veeren Yanda

    Intel’s decision to give up its title sponsorship of the Intel Science Talent Search is as dumb as the decision to pass up opportunity to make chips for Apple’s original iPhone.

  • Tom Jefferson

    Dominated by Charter Schools and other private organizations
    – because public school kids cannot compete

    • marcus

      public schools dominate the list.. the top ten feeder schools that won the prize are all public.