Founding Principles

Founding Principles and Beliefs

The International Students Science Fair (ISSF) was officially launched in 2005 to facilitate international interaction and collaboration in science education. The ISSF brings together students, teachers and school leaders to share and develop their ideas about science in a modern world. The ISSF is the major event of its type in the world with a focus on the combined sharing and development of teaching and learning in science education. Each year’s event creates a learning environment for participants that provides a range of forums promoting the development of teaching and learning of science education and research and science within a non-competitive structure/framework. The ISSF highlights:

  • The value of bringing people together to share their common interests in science in personal and educational ways.
  • The challenge of developing the scientists of the future who will work to solve the great problems that our world faces.

The ISSF model has continued to evolve over the past few years and has broadened its capacity to engage the university community, local government, NGOs and research institutions in a network that provides the ISSF participants with world class venues for authentic experiences. These partnerships have a long term impact on the local host communities with the learning network providing on-going collaboration.

Historical Perspective

The ISSF was conceived in 2004 at the Australian Science and Mathematics School in Adelaide, South Australia At that time educators from countries including Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Korea and Japan came together and shared their reflections and understandings regarding student and teacher engagement within the fields of science and mathematics. The ISSF was officially launched in 2005 with the inaugural ISSF hosted by Mahidol Wittayanusorn School in Bangkok, Thailand. The ISSF continues to act as a forum for budding scientists to display their inquiry skills and defend their findings in a non-competitive environment. The event provides students from around the world valuable opportunities to work in collaborative settings to exchange ideas, hone their research techniques and engage their inquisitive minds in the fields of Mathematics and Sciences with like-minded peers. Opportunities are provided that extend student thinking, allowing them to use their knowledge in interesting ways and encourage all participants to explore their ethics and assumptions in the application of mathematics, science and technology. In particular, the team-work in problem solving and sharing sessions gives students and educators the opportunity to work with peers from different nations, thus promoting the intercultural understandings needed in the 21st Century. A significant component of ISSF is the cultural and social interactions which help develop friendships and collaborative opportunities amongst our students and educational leaders which may be the basis for future cooperation and study.

ISSF Goals

The goals of the ISSF are to provide students with opportunities to:

  • effectively communicate scientific knowledge and concepts to an international audience.
  • think critically about how effective leadership in science can provide solutions to complex societal issues.


  • make cross-cultural connections with gifted science students, teachers and school leaders.

ISSF Structure

The structure of the ISSF is to provide participants with a four to five day program that includes:

  • Keynote speakers and presentations reflecting the theme of the fair as decided by the host country/school
  • Cultural presentations by the home and visiting students
  • Student research project presentations with moderators (non-competitive)
  • Student poster sharing (non-competitive)
  • Collaborative student workshops based on themes of the fair
  • Industrial and cultural tours
  • Teacher workshops
  • Principal meetings and workshops
  • Social activities


When possible it is beneficial to offer the student research presentations in a formal theatre-style setting that allows for a broad audience including the use of moderators to provide a final overview of the presentation and questions for the presenter(s). The moderators can be drawn from participating schools’ teachers, administrators and/or the local research community.

ISSF Operation

It is the prerogative of the host school to determine the exact nature of the event at their site and the schools that will be invited to attend.


The host country has been responsible for all accommodation, meals and ground transportation during the event. Participating schools have the obligation to cover their own transportation costs to the host schools nearest airport or an airport as arranged by the host school. Local schools are responsible for transportation costs to the host venue unless other arrangements are made by the hosts.