Science students take part in the science and engineering challenge as part of the International Science School

International Science School

ISS2025 - coming July 2025

Meet world-renowned scientists. Explore cutting-edge research facilities. Build your skills through hands-on workshops and activities. And forge new friendships across the world with a packed social program.

If you’re mad about science and in year 11 or 12 in 2025, you really should apply! Applications will open early 2025 - sign up to our mailing list for reminders and the latest news about the ISS.

Thank you immensely for making this happen - the friendships and memories will last a lifetime.
ISS2023 scholar

From 6-19 July 2025, 130 year 11-12 science students from across Australia and around the world will gather at the University of Sydney for the Prof Harry Messel International Science School. 

It's inspiring - Each day at the ISS is packed with amazing, inspiring science — hear leading researchers discuss their science, tour through research labs and facilities to look behind the scenes, chat about degrees and future careers with university students and faculty, and get hands-on with real experiments and loads of STEM activities. 

It’s entertaining — Beyond the science, ISS social events let you explore the university and the beautiful city of Sydney with new friends from all over the world. You’ll stay in boarding accommodation, looked after and mentored by our team of amazing, dedicated staff.

Best of all, it's free - the ISS program of events, all accommodation and travel to the ISS2025 is entirely funded by the Physics Foundation at the University of Sydney through support from the NSW DET, the Australian Federal Government, Mulpha Australia, and many generous government, private and industry supporters and donors around the world.

The ISS is open to all students across Australia who will be in year 11 or 12 in 2025. So don't miss out - sign up to  our newsletter for the latest info about ISS2025 and reminders to get your application ready in early 2025. 

Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity! The ISS is a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life and is a key milestone in my studies and career.
Student review ISS Online 2021

Australian Students:

  • If you're in Year 11 or 12 in 2025 at an Australian school, and you’re a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, you can apply to be an ISS scholar. Unfortunately we do not accept applications from Australian students attending schools overseas.
  • ISS Scholars are selected on academic merit and aptitude and potential. We’re looking for talented students with a passion for science, wherever you are. City or country, public school, private school or independent school... it doesn’t matter where you come from, if you're into science you should apply.
  • Attendance is free! ISS scholarships cover all expenses so students attend at no cost to themselves or their families. Scholarships are valued at around $3,500 and cover travel within Australia, all food, accommodation, events and activities.
  • The ISS is fully residential. All participants — even those from Sydney — will stay in student accommodation for the entire two weeks of program, to give everyone a chance to get to know a whole group of amazing people from across the country and all over the world.

International Students:

  • The ISS is truly International. Of the 130 ISS scholars, around two-thirds come from the states and territories of Australia. The final third attend from our partner countries around the world: China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the USA.
  • Overseas students are selected by their home country. We have selection panels in the countries listed above, and they each have their own system for selecting students to attend the ISS. We do not accept applications directly from students outside Australia.
  • The ISS is still free! All overseas scholars receive scholarships for the ISS program, and our overseas partners and supporters fund airfares to Sydney.

The next ISS will run in July 2025, and applications will open early in 2025. Sign up to our newsletter for information and reminders so you don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity.

For information about the selection criteria, see the sections below.


Up to 100 students from across Australia will be selected to take part in ISS2025, with final numbers from each state and territory being decided later in 2025.

Selection panels in each state and territory will assist in the selection of students, based on the following criteria:

  • Only Australian citizens or permanent residents currently attending school in Australia may use the Australian application form. We do not accept applications from Australian students studying overseas.

  • Applicants must be in their final two years of secondary school in 2025 (typically year 11 or 12)

  • We seek talented students with a passion for science. Applicants should achieve the highest grades in the top-level syllabi of English, Science and Mathematics in their most recent formal assessments (e.g. ‘A’ grade, or > 80%, or equivalent). Our selection panels will use their judgement to select from across the range of school systems and grading schemes.

  • As the ISS covers many different science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, applicants should be studying at least 50% STEM subjects in their final two years of secondary school. We understand that different school systems have different requirements for students’ subject choices, and our selection panels will broadly consider applicants studying at least a range of STEM subjects.

  • Applicants require a recommendation from their school in the form of a letter of support from the Principal and/or head science teacher — typically an applicant should be assessed as one of the highest-achieving science students in the school. Preference may be given to students whose vocational interest is a career in the sciences.

  • Applicants will include a personal statement, comprising a short essay about why they wish to attend the ISS. Selection panels will be looking for clear communicators with drive and passion for science, able to represent their community, school, state and country at the International Science School.

Our selection panels will make decisions based on the above criteria, as well as aiming for a balance of participants based on gender, location, school system and relative opportunity. 

All selections are final and at the discretion of the University of Sydney and organisers of the ISS program. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are under-represented in science and engineering in Australia —which is why the ISS aims to gather talented, enthusiastic Indigenous Australian students to the ISS, to develop their STEM interests, discover future careers, and meet like-minded scholars from across Australia and around the globe.

The ISS Indigenous Australian Scholars Program reserves five scholarships to attend ISS2025 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. 

The selection process for these scholarships is simple:

  • Applicants are selected against the same criteria listed above and their applications are included in the general selection process. As with all applicants, if selected they are offered a place at ISS2025.

  • If the applicant is unsuccessful in that round, their application is then considered by a separate selection panel for one of the five reserved Indigenous Scholar places.

To apply as an Indigenous Scholar you will need to upload some evidence of your Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background when you apply. This can be any one of the following:

  • your birth records or documentation of genealogy verified by a suitable authority; or

  • a letter with 'Common Seal' signed by the Chairperson of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander incorporated organisation in which the applicant lives or has previously lived (where records are not available); or

  • you can self-identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander with a statutory declaration that you are an Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

More details of the Indigenous Scholars Program will be available when the applications open in January 2025. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest info on the ISS and reminders when it’s time to get working on your application!

Details for the ISS2025 program are under development, but here’s a taste of what’s in store.

The ISS Lecture Series: the backbone of the program, our lecture series features world-leading researchers from across STEM disciplines around Australia and across the globe. Over 60+ years of the ISS we have welcomed top theorists and experimentalists, entrepreneurs and Nobel prize winners, up-and-coming researchers and great scientific leaders — all with an inspiring story to tell. You can watch many past lectures on the ISS YouTube channel.

Activities & Tours: hands-on experiments, lab tours, seminars and workshops designed to develop your skills, give your brain a workout, and get you collaborating, sometimes competing, and often laughing with the other students. The program features activities from across the breadth of STEM, and past ISSs have included:

  • Tours of amazing, cutting-edge science research labs at the University of Sydney, in physics, chemistry, biosciences, engineering, IT, geoscience, and much more
  • Surprising hands-on experiments that take you beyond the secondary school curriculum to give your brain a workout and sharpen your skills
  • A speed-meet-and-greet with our finest up-and-coming young researchers, to learn about their research and talk about STEM degrees and careers
  • Wrap your mind around tricky scientific moral and ethical challenges in our Ethics & Leadership Workshops
  • A behind-the-scenes look at the University's museum collections to learn about preserving, presenting and communicating science in public settings
  • Compete for glory in the Science & Engineering Challenge, developed by the University of Newcastle

Also included is a packed social calendar: after the science is done for the day, a swag of social events are on offer to help you all get to know each other. Past ISS events include:

  • A dinner cruise of beautiful Sydney Harbour. See the city from its best angle, on the waters of Sydney harbour. And when you've taken photos of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge from every possible angle, get on the dance floor as the on-board DJ cranks up the volume
  • Nightly social events including a trivia competition, movie and games nights ... and grab your boots and best flanno shirt for the traditional ISS Bush Dance (trust us, it's great fun)
  • The ISS Gala Reception, a chance to meet our past alumni, donors and sponsors of the program, and soak up the Hogwarts-esque grandeur of the University of Sydney's Great Hall.
  • The infamous ISS Talent Night. Do you sing? Dance? Do magic? Play an instrument? The ISS Talent Night needs you. (We need all the talent we can get, TBH.)

Bringing together 130 scholars from across the globe, getting them to Sydney and settled into the accommodation, and making sure everyone is healthy, safe and having a good time… it’s a huge job, and something we take very seriously. Which is why we bring together an amazing team of staff to make it all happen.

The ISS Staffies: a crack team of enthusiastic, talented and highly skilled young people, our Staffies are there to look after you. They stay in accommodation for the two weeks, and are with you throughout the ISS to make sure you’re happy, healthy and safe. They’re also all past ISS scholars and, in most cases, pursuing STEM degrees at university — so they’re fantastic resource ready to answer your questions about uni studies and careers!

The Staffie Leaders: looking after our staffie team and keeping an eye on the scholar group 24/7 is our team of three Staffie Leaders. Super-capable and with lots of experience with the ISS and similar programs, they’re here to make sure all the scholars are looked after, and that the Staffie team is supported and cared for too.

The ISS Leadership Team: the program is created and run by our Director, Chris, and the University of Sydney’s ISS Project Officer Claudia. They work with a team of amazing people at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science who throw huge effort at making the ISS an amazing, inspiring fortnight.

All expenses for accommodation and transport related to the ISS program is provided by the ISS and our overseas partners, so that no student misses out on the opportunity to attend due to financial constraints.


For the entire two weeks of the International Science School all our scholars and our dedicated staff will stay in boarding facilities close to the University of Sydney — this includes all scholars who live in Sydney.

  • Rooms:  Students will share single-sex dorm rooms with up to 3 other students, giving them the chance to make new friends from across Australia and around the world.

  • Meals: three full meals a day (and a few snacks to keep you going), catering to different tastes, needs, medical conditions, allergies and diets. Don’t worry — if you have particular dietary requirements, we can handle it!


How you get to us will depend on where you're coming from — but rest assured, unless you're walking, your travel will be covered!

  • Australian students: the ISS will cover your transport to the International Science School, by plane if you live more than a few hours away from Sydney, or by ground transport if you live closer to us.

  • International students: all scholars selected by organisations in their home country will have their airfares to Sydney paid for by those organisations. The ISS will meet overseas groups of students at Sydney International Airport and take them to the accommodation.