The Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards are designed to encourage and develop young leaders within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subject areas. A key part of the Eureka! Awards is showing how your STEM idea can benefit New Zealand’s economic, environmental and social wealth and well-being.

A successful Eureka! presentation has three key components:

  1. Explanation of a STEM idea
  2. Explanation of a New Zealand problem (that your STEM idea solves)
  3. Explanation of how your idea solves the problem and in doing so increases New Zealand’s economic, environmental and social wealth and well-being.

Contestants first present a six minute summary speech at one of the Eureka! regional competitions, held in key centers, or by submitting a video of their presentation through the virtual region.

From the regional competitions twelve students are selected to compete in the Eureka! National Finals. The twelve compete for Highly Commended Awards and the Sir Paul Callaghan Premier Award. At the National Finals presentations are twelve minutes in length followed by up to five minutes of questions from the judges.

The Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards also feature a number of Scholarships awarded for the best presentations across a range of specified subjects.

Latest Eureka! Awards News

Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka Awards Stories

Entry Requirements

Entry is open to secondary school and undergraduate tertiary students.

Unless otherwise agreed by the National Committee you must be younger than 25 years old on the date of entry. School students who are concurrently completing university courses will deemed to be school students. An “undergraduate tertiary student” includes students undertaking “honours” courses who have completed the requirements of a three year bachelor’s degree.

By the closing date you must provide:

  • Completed entry form with selected region and scholarship, the title of your presentation and a list of your sources
  • Proof you are a registered student undertaking a course of study in a New Zealand secondary school or tertiary education institution.
  • Independent certification from a member of the staff of your education provider that the work submitted for the competition is solely yours. This stipulation does not require that you present only your own primary research –you are permitted to source other researchers’ material provided the sources are properly attributed in the presentation or the accompanying papers.

Virtual Region

Entry to the Virtual Region shall only be valid for a student who:

  • Is usually domiciled more than 75 kilometers from the venue where a Geographic Region Competition will be held.
  • Is unable to attend the regional event on the specified date and time by reason of an unavoidable conflicting commitment accepted as being valid by the National Convenor at least 14 days before the first Geographic Region event is scheduled to be held

A teacher or parent shall certify in writing that a student is eligible for participation in the Virtual Region by virtue of location, or unavoidable conflicting commitment. The video presentation submitted for entry into the Virtual Region shall be recorded in accordance with the Video Standards for Virtual Region 

Judging Criteria

Throughout the competition, at both regional and national levels, contestants will be judged on their ability to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of an area of science, technology, engineering or mathematics
  • How their area of knowledge and interest can be (or is being) applied to enable tangible benefit to New Zealand’s economic, environmental and social wealth and wellbeing, so helping deliver on Sir Paul’s ambition for New Zealand
  • The presence and capability to communicate clearly, succinctly and persuasively to a general audience comprising people from business and the political arenas as well as the wider public

In addition, at the national level, contestants will be judged on their ability to demonstrate:

  • Agility and thoughtfulness when responding to questions on their presentation

Check out the Judges Scoring Sheet

Developed by The Otago Advanced School Sciences Academy (OUASSA) &  Centre for Science Communication the Online Workshop is designed to prepare students to compete in the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka Awards. Students can either work through the workshop in full or just jump through the sections that are relevant to them.


Each contestant that makes it to the National Final will receive a merit award, worth $1500. In addition to this three contestants receive Highly Commended Awards, bringing their winnings to $5000. Each year one contestant is awarded the Sir Paul Callaghan Premier Award, and a total of $10000.


As well as the awards a number of scholarships are also available to contestants. Silver scholarships are worth $2500 and gold scholarships are worth $5000. See the full list of scholarships at the link below.


NCEA Achievement Standards

To get a Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards entry assessed for NCEA Achievement Credits students will need to approach their teacher and discuss the possibility of their entry being assessed for credits. This should be done when the student decides to enter the competition. Teachers can also advise students that credits are available. One entry could be assessed for multiple standards: for example, an entry may meet the assessment criteria for both a science and an English standard. Credits can be awarded for both standards. Examples of standards that could be assessed are listed, but there could be other suitable standards. Students will need to discuss with their teacher what they will need to do to meet the achievement criteria of each standard, as they  may need to adapt their Eureka! presentation somewhat.

Teachers can access the Eureka! judging criteria here for information purposes. However, teachers’ assessments will be independent of the Eureka judges’ assessments.