Addiction Science Award

The Science Fair Award for Addiction Science

1st Place Winner with Judges(L-R): Judge Dr. Mary Torregrossa, First place winners Mia Yu and Daphne Liu, Judges Drs. Cynthia Conklin and Kenneth Perkins

The Addiction Science Award is coordinated by the Friends of NIDA, a coalition that supports NIDA's mission. With scientific expertise from NIDA, the awards are given to three exemplary projects on the topic of addiction science. It is part of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world's largest science competition for high school students.

For Teachers: See the Addiction Science Award Teaching Guide

What is the Addiction Science Fair Award?

Every May, close to 1,800 students from more than 75 countries compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world's largest science competition for high school students. Since 2008, judges with expertise in addiction research have selected three projects for the Addiction Science Awards at the fair, showcasing exemplary work in research projects related to substance use disorders, including their prevention and treatment. NIDA provides judges with scientific expertise, and small cash awards are provided by Friends of NIDA, a private coalition that supports NIDA's mission. The first place winner receives $2500, the second place winner receives $1500 and third place winner receives $1000. The Addiction Science winners are announced at the Special Awards ceremony at the Fair, and NIDA invites them to visit our headquarters at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland to present their projects.

Friends of NIDA logo
SSP logo

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), is the world's largest international pre-college science competition, and annually provides a forum for more than 1,500 high school students to showcase their independent research. The ISEF is the premiere science competition in the world exclusively for students in grades 9-12. Each year, the winners of local and school-sponsored science fairs compete in regional and state fairs and the winners attend the Intel ISEF. The non profit organization Society for Science & the Public partners with Intel - along with dozens of other corporate, academic, government and science-focused sponsors - who provide support and awards for the Intel ISEF each year. While there are medical and behavioral science awards given by various public and private agencies, this is the first series of awards given exclusively for projects that advance addiction science.

3rd Place Winner with Judges(L to R): Judges Drs. Mary Torregrossa and Kenneth Perkins, Third place winner Saadh Ahmed, Judge Dr. Cynthia Conklin
2nd Place Winner with Judges(L to R): Judges Drs. Mary Torregrossa and Michelle Jobes, Second place winners Rohan Arora, Venkat Krishnan and Anil Tolwani, Judges Drs. Cynthia Conklin and Kenneth Perkins

What is Addiction Science?

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that affects brain function and behavior. It is also a treatable disease. The science of addiction is diverse, and includes any research that contributes to our understanding of addiction and its health consequences, such as:

  • who abuses drugs and why
  • basic biology (including genetics)
  • brain structure and function (how the brain works)
  • behavior (that can lead to drug abuse or addiction)
  • prevention and treatment (behavioral therapy and medications)
  • health services research (how to get the best treatments to those who need it).

Since prevention of drug abuse and treatment of drug addiction are NIDA's primary goals, any research that can help us achieve them is of interest. Projects that focus on these scientific questions are considered for the Addiction Science Award.

Where Can I Learn More?

Learn more about drug addiction, how drugs affect the brain, and the role of treatment in drug addiction: