Intel Bails On High School ‘Science Talent Search’ It Has Sponsored Since 1998

Intel has chosen to end support for the Science Talent Search, an annual science and mathematics competition for American high school students. As part of the contest, each year 40 finalists are brought to Washington for meetings with government leaders and industry professionals.

The competition began as an essay contest in 1942 with the topic "How science can help win the war." The male winner, known as "Top Boy," later developed an artificial kidney, while the "Top Girl" would go on to become an ophthalmologist. Since its inception, competitors have included eight Nobel Prize winners. Also among the contest's ranks through the years are university professors, accomplished scientists, and other prominent individuals.


Intel has been sponsoring the competition since 1998. The New York Times called Intel's decision to drop support a "puzzling" one considering it costs $6 million a year, a drop in the buck compared to Intel's annual revenue, which was reported at $55.6 billion in 2014.

A former chief executive of Intel said he was "surprised and a little disappointed" at the turn of events. He also indicated that Intel seems "more interested in applied things," such as the Maker Faire.

The contest continues to be popular with around 1,800 applications a year. Back in March of this year, President Obama met with finalists at the White House. Going forward, it's expected that another corporation will step in to support the program once Intel's commitment ends in 2017, with Google named as a potential candidate.