The Science Without Borders® Challenge is an international contest that engages students and teachers in ocean conservation through art. This annual competition inspires students to be creative while promoting public awareness of the need to preserve, protect, and restore the world’s oceans and aquatic resources, contributing to the overarching goals of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. The Challenge is open to primary and secondary school students 11-19 years old, with scholarships of up to $500 awarded to the winning entries.

The 2024 Science Without Borders® Challenge
The theme for the 2024 Science without Borders® Challenge is “Hidden Wonders of the Deep.” To apply for this year’s contest, students should submit artwork depicting mysterious and unique deep-sea creatures or ecosystems, highlighting the beauty and diversity that often goes unseen. Learn about the theme.

Winners of the Science Without Borders® Challenge will be awarded with the following scholarships:

  • 1st Place: $500
  • 2nd Place: $350
  • 3rd Place: $200

We also offer a “People’s Choice” award, where the winners in each age group will receive a $50 scholarship.

This international art competition is open to all students 11-19 years old. Students must be enrolled in primary or secondary school, or the home school equivalent. College and university students are not eligible for this contest.

Work will be judged in two categories based on age, with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes awarded for each:

  • Students 11-14 years old
  • Students 15-19 years old

Entries must be received by Monday, March 4, 2024, to be eligible to win.


How to Apply
To apply to the 2024 Science Without Borders Challenge, fill out the online entry form, upload a picture of your artwork, and make sure everything is submitted before the deadline! If you are under the age of 13, your parents will be asked to provide consent, so make sure not to wait until the last minute. Before applying, check out our Tips for Success for suggestions on how to make the most of your application, such as how to write a compelling artist’s statement that describes how your artwork relates to this year’s theme.

A panel of artists, educators, and scientists judge the Science Without Borders® Challenge. Artwork will be evaluated on the quality of the artwork, originality, and adherence to the theme. The judges will use a Grading Rubric to evaluate the artwork.

When creating your artwork, you should think about these questions:

  • Does your artwork reflect that you understand the theme of the contest?
  • Does your artist’s statement also show that you understand the contest theme?
  • Does your piece show that you have a good understanding of art and that you use these art elements, such as line, shape, form, value, composition, and color, to effectively portray the theme?
  • Is your artwork original, inventive, and shows off your individual style?
  • Is your artwork neat? Are there tears, smudges, and/or smear marks?
  • Does your artwork invoke emotion for your viewers? Is it striking and memorable?

For tips on creating winning artwork, see Tips for Success.

Contest Rules
Before beginning your artwork, make sure to review the Contest Rules for more information on the types of art we are looking for. For example, the Science Without Borders® Challenge only accepts original 2-dimensional pieces of artwork students have created by hand, such as a painting or a drawing.

See the Guidelines for Submitting Artwork for tips on how to upload your artwork. Although the application process is online, semi-finalists will be required to mail in the original artwork in order to be eligible to win.

For Teachers
To help teachers encourage their students to participate in the Science Without Borders® Challenge, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has compiled a number of resources to help them do so. This includes providing information and links to lesson plans to help students learn about the theme, a grading rubric, and a handout they can use in their classrooms.