Now that Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Junior Challenge has revealed its 15 finalists for 2023, the competition will soon select a winner. The winning student will receive a $250,000 college scholarship, $50,000 for a teacher who inspired them, and a science lab worth $100,000 for their school.
In addition, Breakthrough Junior Challenge winners receive an invitation to attend the Breakthrough Prize ceremony. Established in 2012, the Breakthrough Prize is the world’s largest set of scientific awards. Yuri Milner helped found the Breakthrough Prize. He also founded the Breakthrough Initiatives and Tech For Refugees.
How The Breakthrough Junior Challenge Works
Thousands of students aged 13-18 from around the world enter the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. Applicants submit creative, clever videos about big ideas in one of three fields:
- The life sciences.
These videos must be no more than two minutes long and explain a complex subject simply and inventively. The Breakthrough Junior Challenge judges videos on four criteria:
- Did the video capture the interest of the viewer and encourage the viewer to keep watching until the end?
- Did the video clearly explain and dive deep into the subject?
- Did the entrant try to approach the subject in a new or creative way?
- How challenging is the subject of the video?
There are four stages to the competition’s judging process:
- The Peer-to-Peer Review, where entrants must review and score other contestants’ videos.
- The Evaluation Panel Review, where a panel of science teachers and professors review the 75 top-scoring videos from the Peer-to-Peer Review stage.
- The Popular Vote, where the public votes for their favorite videos by “liking” the videos on social media. The top scorer in the Popular Vote stage gains automatic entry into the final round of judging.
- The Selection Committee Review, where top science experts review the finalists and select up to five entries for final consideration.
Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics laureates Ian Agol and Terence Tao will help decide these five entries as part of the competition’s Selection Committee. The Selection Committee also includes NASA astronaut Nicole Stott and Breakthrough Starshot Executive Director Pete Worden. Breakthrough Starshot is one of Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Initiatives.
The 2023 Breakthrough Junior Challenge Finalists
The 2023 Breakthrough Junior Challenge finalists range from the ages of 15-18 and hail from Mexico, the U.S., Taiwan, Canada, and Hong Kong.
This year’s Popular Vote round has also determined seven regional champions from countries around the world, including the Czech Republic, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia.
Soon, one of the finalists will become the 2023 Breakthrough Junior Challenge winner. The successful individual will be 1 of 10 winners crowned since the competition started in 2015.
Past winners of the Challenge include:
- Samay Godika, from India, whose video taught viewers about circadian rhythms.
- Deanna See, from Singapore, whose video explained superbugs and the race against antibiotic resistance.
- Hillary Diane Andales, from the Philippines, whose video explored relativity and the equivalence of reference frames.
About Yuri Milner
Yuri Milner is an investor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the mind behind the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. His Giving Pledge promise led him to establish the Breakthrough Foundation, which organizes and funds the Breakthrough Junior Challenge each year.
The Breakthrough Foundation also supports the Breakthrough Initiatives. A suite of space science programs, the Breakthrough Initiatives investigate the big questions of life in the Universe.
Yuri Milner published his first book, Eureka Manifesto, in 2021. Eureka Manifesto argues for a shared mission for humanity to explore and understand our Universe.