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

International Science School

The ISS is Online from 2 - 10 July 2022

Inspiring talks from world-renowned scientists. Tours of cutting-edge research facilities. Mind-expanding hands-on workshops and activities.

The best thing was collaborating with other people my age who love science as much as I do, in an environment that encourages critical thinking and looking deeper into things.
Student review ISS Online 2021

From 2-10 July this year, 150 top year 11-12 science students from across Australia and around the world will gather online for the Prof Harry Messel International Science School. 

This isn’t just some online talk-fest. Every day the ISS scholars are inspired by leading researchers across many fields of STEM — and then get to know each other and our fabulous staff through the ISS Discord server, with conversations, competitions, challenges and more. They get to ask questions of our guest speakers, all the while discussing their research in the chat.

After the lectures, they break out into teams to do experiments, work through issues, and solve problems. They go on virtual lab tours through some of the University’s amazing research facilities, and take part in thought-provoking seminars and workshops. At the end of the day, the ISS goes social,  and the scholars compete in trivia contests, games tournaments and meme challenges, or just nerd out over shared interests.

Best of all, ISS Online 2022 is entirely free, 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 private and industry donors.

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
  • Is this just a bunch of Zoom lectures? We’ve been online so much lately … We get it — but this isn’t just another online lecture. Around the Zoom-based talks, you’ll ask questions live, discuss the science on the Discord server, break into groups for activities and experiments, and really get to know everyone through team events, social activities and more. It’s an amazing experience that we think you’re going to love.
  • The ISS Online 2022 program will feature up to three hours of talks and activities each day, from 2 -10 July. The program will be finalised in the coming months, however a likely daily schedule will start at around 11am Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), and finish around 5pm, with several breaks along the way.
  • If you're in Year 11 or 12 in 2022, a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, and attending a school in Australia, you can apply to take part in ISS Online. Our overseas scholars will be selected by organisations in their home country.
  • ISS Scholars are selected on academic merit and aptitude. Participants are not selected based on city or country, public school, private school or independent school. It does not matter where you come from, if you're into science you should apply.
  • Attendance is free and funded by the University of Sydney’s Physics Foundation.

The ISS Online program is fully web-based, so you will need:

  • A computer: modern enough to run web-conferencing software, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Discord.
  • A suitable internet connection: you’ll need access to broadband speeds that allow you to join the sessions, download the video streams and upload your own video and audio streams during the different activities.
  • A webcam and microphone: required so that you can take part in the interactive aspects of the program such as  asking questions of our researchers, meeting the other participants, and working in groups to solve scientific problems.

We want everyone who earns a place at ISS Online 2022 to take part so if you encounter difficulties with any of the computing and IT requirements, please let us know and also discuss with both your school and others in your local community. 

By working together, we can try to find a solution.

Applications are now closed for ISS 2022.

The next ISS program will run in July 2023, and details of the application process will be made available later in 2022.


Up to 120 students from across Australia, and up to 10 students from New Zealand, will be invited to take part in ISS Online 2022. 

We have selection panels in each state and territory to assist in the selection of students, based on the following criteria:

  • AUSTRALIAN STUDENTS: 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.
  • NEW ZEALAND STUDENTS: Only New Zealand citizens or permanent residents currently attending school in New Zealand may use the NZ application form. We do not accept applications from New Zealand students studying overseas.
    • Applicants must be in their final two years of secondary school in 2022 (ie. year 11-12 in Australia; year 12-13 in NZ)
    • 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).
    • Applicants should be assessed by their school’s Principal as one of the top science students in their year group at school, and must supply supporting comments from their Head of Science Department and/or School Principal. Preference may be given to students whose vocational interest is a career in the sciences.
    • Applicants should be studying at least 50% Science and Mathematics subjects in their final two years of secondary school.
    • Applicants must be clear communicators and be able to represent their school and state/country at the International Science School. 

Our selection panels will make selections 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 Online program.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are under-represented in science and engineering in Australia which is why the ISS aims to bring talented, enthusiastic Indigenous Australian students together with like-minded scholars from across Australia and around the globe.

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

Applicants are selected against the same criteria of interest in science and academic achievement, and their applications are included in the general selection process. 

If unsuccessful in that round, they may be eligible for one of the five reserved Indigenous Scholar places.

If you wish to apply for one of these scholarships, 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.

ISS Online will run from 2-10 July 2022. Details for the ISS Online program are still being developed, but it will include:

  • The ISS Lecture Series: It is the backbone of the program and features talks by world-leading researchers from across the sciences and engineering. In the past we have had Nobel prize winners alongside up-and-coming researchers — all with an inspiring story to tell!
  • Activities and tours: Although we can’t get welcome you physically inside our amazing research labs and classrooms, we can still get hands-on with experiments, tours, and workshops to extend your skills, get your brains working, and help you get to know each other. You’ll participate in virtual tours, get to meet our brilliant scientists as they show you around their labs, and work in groups to solve problems with our engaging science outreach team.
  • Social program: Just because we’re not all together doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves, right? Our amazing ISS team will host a series of online social events, potentially including trivia, games tournaments, streamed movie nights and themed virtual discos.