Choosing an Addiction Science Project

What are Addiction Science Projects?

NIDA supports most of the world's research on addiction, working with some of the world's foremost researchers in neuroscience, behavior, pharmacology, physiology, genetics, epidemiology and medicine. International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) categories that are likely to include Addiction Science projects are listed below. Any science fair project that contributes to our knowledge of addiction and its health consequences will be considered for the Addiction Science Fair Award. Also see Resources for Project Ideas.

All projects eligible for a Addiction Science Fair award must be conducted under the supervision of a science teacher or science mentor deemed qualified by a science teacher. All ISEF rules for experiments apply (see the ISEF Rules).

What ISEF Categories Fit Well With Addiction Science?

crowd(L-R): Crowds gathered at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh to see honorees recognized for their ISEF Addiction Science Awards. About 1,800 students from more than 75 countries submitted projects in 2018.

Animal Sciences (Code: ANIM)

All aspects of animals and animal life, animal life cycles, and animal interactions with one another or with their environment. Examples include the study of the structure, physiology, development, and classification of animals, animal ecology, animal husbandry, entomology, ichthyology, ornithology, and herpetology, as well as the study of animals at the cellular and molecular level.


  • Animal Behavior
  • Cellular Studies
  • Development
  • Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Nutrition and Growth
  • Physiology
  • Systematics and Evolution

Behavioral and Social Sciences (Code: BEHA)

The science or study of the thought processes and behavior of humans and other animals in their interactions with the environment studied through observational and experimental methods.


  • Clinical & Developmental Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Sociology and Social Psychology

Biochemistry (Code: BCHM)

The study of the chemical basis of processes occurring in living organisms, including the processes by which these substances enter into, or are formed in, the organisms and react with each other and the environment.


  • Analytical Biochemistry
  • General Biochemistry
  • Medicinal Biochemistry
  • Structural Biochemistry

Biomedical and Health Sciences (Code: BMED)

Studies designed to address issues of human health and disease. It includes studies on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention or epidemiology of disease and other damage to the human body or mental systems. Includes studies of normal functioning and may investigate internal as well as external factors such as feedback mechanisms, stress or environmental impact on human health and disease.


  • Cell, Organ, and Systems Physiology
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology of Disease
  • Immunology
  • Nutrition and Natural Products
  • Pathophysiology

Biomedical Engineering (Code: ENBM)

Projects that involve the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology for healthcare purposes including diagnosis, monitoring and therapy.  Prominent biomedical engineering applications include the development of biocompatible prostheses, various diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices ranging from clinical equipment to micro-implants, common imaging equipment such as MRIs and EEGs, regenerative tissue growth, pharmaceutical drugs and therapeutic biologicals.


  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine
  • Biomechanics
  • Biomedical Devices
  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Cell and Tissue Engineering
  • Synthetic Biology

Cellular and Molecular Biology (Code: CELL)

This is an interdisciplinary field that studies the structure, function, intracellular pathways, and formation of cells. Studies involve understanding life and cellular processes specifically at the molecular level.


  • Cellular Physiology
  • Cellular Immunology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurobiology

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (Code: CBIO)

Studies that focus on the discipline and techniques of computer science and mathematics as they relate to biological systems. This includes the development and application of data-analytical and theoretical methods, mathematical modeling and computational simulation techniques to the study of biological, behavior, and social systems.


  • Computational Biomodeling
  • Computational Epidemiology
  • Computational Evolutionary Biology
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Computational Pharmacology
  • Genomics

Microbiology (Code: MCRO)

The study of micro-organisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, prokaryotes, and simple eukaryotes as well as antimicrobial and antibiotic substances.


  • Antimicrobial and Antibiotics
  • Applied Microbiology
  • Bacteriology
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Microbial Genetics
  • Virology
  • Other

Robotics and Intelligent Machines (Code: ROBO)

Studies in which the use of machine intelligence is paramount to reducing the reliance on human intervention.


  • Biomechanics
  • Cognitive Systems
  • Control Theory
  • Machine Learning
  • Robot Kinematics

Translational Medical Science (Code: TMED)

Projects that aim to improve human health and longevity by translating novel discoveries in the biomedical sciences into effective activities and tools for clinical and public health use. Bi-directional in concept, projects can be those developed through basic research moving toward clinical testing (bench-to-bedside) or projects that provide feedback about the applications of new treatments and how they can be improved (beside-to-bench).


  • Disease Detection and Diagnosis
  • Disease Prevention
  • Disease Treatment and Therapies
  • Drug Identification and Testing
  • Pre-Clinical Studies