Experiment Challenges

Challenge Ended

Hot Science Summer


Supported By

The SeRCH Foundation, Inc. hosted by VanguardSTEM is giving away $50,000 to seed research projects launched by our #VSVillage: Black, Indigenous, women of color, non-binary people of color, and marginalized communities of all gender identities who are interested in STEM. Do YOUR science during Hot Science Summer!

The Projects

Browse the participating projects

Can skin care formulations address dark skin?

Those with chronic skin conditions are 2-6 times more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and physical...

How can complex systems research protect child farmworkers?

In the United States, 1 child dies of injuries sustained during farm work every 3 days. Protective social...

Can a method be developed to study sea turtle nest sex ratios on a large-scale?

When a sea turtle hatches, it is impossible to identify their sex because they don’t have any sex-specific...

Home is where evolved stars live

Stars end their lives forming beautiful nebulae. On the way towards illuminating nebulae, many of them enter...

Will politically driven STEM education strengthen migrant youth’s relation to science?

Just Science For [You]th is a political education program for refugee teenagers in Cleveland, Ohio about...

What can cephalopods teach us about spatial memory and learning?

Cephalopods and vertebrates have gone through similar circumstances that required adaptations such as learning...

Can lead and limestone contamination of soil and water in mine sites affect agronomic productivity and inhabitants?

The research studies the soil and water metrics of solid minerals in two major mining sites( lead mine at...

More About This Challenge

The sciency details

Challenge Amount:
Submission Deadline:
Jun 28, 2021
Campaign Launch:
Jun 14, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

How do challenge grants work?

This grant is for projects that launch crowdfunding campaigns by Jun 25, 2021. Eligible projects must be approved before the launch deadline.

When will the grant be awarded?

On June 28th at 5PM PT, the prizes will be awarded according to the posted schedule.

Can I still submit a project?

We are no longer accepting projects for this grant, however we will be launching many more challenge grant opportunities. Sign up for our mailing list for up-to-date community news.

Please Note:

If we see suspicious acitivity of researchers or backers potentially cheating during the challenge, the project will be completely disqualified from winning the grant.

Challenge Aims

The Hot Science Summer initiative is specially designed to catalyze your ability to do YOUR science. Just as you are. With your community. Right now.

You can pitch a project in any area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and/or science and technology studies, STEM cultural studies, or the like. Projects at any level will be considered. No STEM degree is required for participation in Hot Science Summer — just be creative and clear with your hypothesis. 

Any project launched during Hot Science Summer is considered part of our Hot Science Set! In addition, for those of you who are selected for a Hot Science Summer Boost, the SeRCH Foundation will become a backer of your project, to help you reach your goal. Any project that meets its funding goal will receive their funds and be able to complete their project, whether they are backed by the SeRCH Foundation, or not. Any project can be supported by any backer, at any time during the project’s active phase. So definitely enlist your community, on and offline, to support your science.

How do I know I’m ready to launch a project?

If you have questions about the way the world works, you are ready to launch a project. You don’t need to have the answer worked out before you start (because then why start?)! We just want to encourage you to do YOUR science, so if you think of a project, just launch it. We’ll do our best to be there all along the way to help you get fully funded. And we may even become a backer! You won’t know unless you try!

Since this is a pilot project, we will not be able to financially boost every project submitted as part of Hot Science Summer, but we will signal boost all of the launched projects across our social media platforms to help you increase your ability to get backers, and we hope you hype your project too. 

We here at the SeRCH Foundation and VanguardSTEM live and breathe STEM identity and the ability to fully express yourself as a scientist, on your own terms. As such, you will be asked to explicitly describe how your project uses the intersectional scientific methodology, (more details about this below). 

How to participate in Hot Science Summer (and be eligible for the SeRCH Foundation financial boost)

  • Start a project through this portal (below) between June 14–25. All projects will undergo internal review before being listed on the site. (Projects that include human subjects will require IRB approval.)

  • Address explicitly how your project fits into the intersectional scientific methodology (ISM) and the VanguardSTEM hyperspace, by answering this question in the “additional information” portion of the project description: How does your project use the scientific method to address embodied observation, embedded context, and/or collective impact?  

Intersectional Scientific Methodology

  • Set your research project to last through July 31, 2021 to qualify for a #HotScienceSummer boost.

  • Post at least 1 lab note and 1 project update to your experiment.com project, between June 14–25.

  • Post at least 3 times to your social media accounts about your project, using #HotScienceSummer, between June 14-–25. 

  • Present at the Hot Science Symposium at the end of the summer and “publish” your results. (We broadly interpret what publish means; basically we want you to share your findings publicly, just like the rest of your project!)

Hot Science Summer Timeline

Hot Science Summer will run from June 14— July 31, with a virtual symposium at the end of the summer.

June 14— 25: Launch your project for Hot Science Summer to become part of our 2021 Hot Science Set. 

June 25— 27: The SeRCH Foundation, and some esteemed members of the #VSVillage, will pick a subset of those projects to give a Hot Science Summer Boost to help them get their projects fully funded. 

June 28: Hot Science Summer Boost recipients are announced.

June 28— 30: Hot Science Summer Boost funds from the SeRCH Foundation are disbursed! 

June 14 — July 31: Hot Science Summer project activity window. Keep hyping your project and getting backers, and if you’re fully funded, do YOUR science.

September 15-ish: Hot Science Symposium. More details to follow, but we’re going to have a blast!

About The SeRCH Foundation, Inc and VanguardSTEM

SeRCH is a non-profit that uses STEM as a tool for social justice and is the parent non-profit for VanguardSTEM. VanguardSTEM is our signature program and is hosting Hot Science Summer for our #VSVillage and all who want to be a part of our Hot Science Set!  You know we STAY looking for ways to create yummy goodness, direct from the hyperspace.

Project Eligilibity

All members of the #VSVillage, which includes Black, Indigenous, women of color and non-binary people of color in STEM, and marginalized communities of all gender identities who are interested in STEM. Advocates of the #VSVillage are also encouraged to apply. Hot Science Summer is open to all interested researchers, subject to the above eligibility criterion. You must be 18 years of age or older to create a project. Those under 18 can still participate if they have parent(s), legal guardian(s) and/or meaningful other(s) above 18 to manage the project and sign the grant paperwork, if funding is awarded. If this applies to you, please make this clear in your project description. Read carefully: Please note that you must address the ISM question in the additional information section (along with the other criterion listed above) in order to qualify for a financial boost from the SeRCH Foundation.

Share The Science

Spread the word about the science waiting to happen.