Genesis Energy
Royal Society of New Zealand


Who can be a nominator?

Nominators can include teachers; chief judges of regional science and technology fairs, CREST Assessors, Bright Sparks Judges or any other national competition with a focus on science and technology specifically for secondary school students. Up to five nominations can be made by teachers, programmes or competitions.


Nomination Form | DVD Guidelines | Selection Panel | Judging Process | Ethics Approval | Plagiarism | Conflicts of Interest | Disagreements, Enquiries and Protests

Realise the Dream Nomination Form

Click on the link below to download a PDF of the nomination form. The form will open in a new window.

Realise the Dream Nomination Form

Click on the links below to download guidelines for writing a report for:

an electronics software projects

a technology project

a science project

Nominated Student Form

Your nomination needs to include. (Please send all of this in electronic form if possible)

  1. A url link on youtube to the 5 minute film of the student talking about their research. This can also be in the format of an interview between the Chief Judge and the student. (the student needs to upload this to youtube and make it private so that only with those with the url address are able to view it)
  2. Up to 10 pages (maximum) of relevant research material (see guidelines for students writing reports.) Photos and graphs, raw data, log book material, programming code; chip specifications) can be attached to the report separately as appendices.
  3. 500 word Executive Summary of project (this is separate to the 10 page report.)
  4. 1 copy of student information form. (download link above)


If you wish to send in your material online then you are welcome to do so. Please send all material to

Closing Date:

All nominations must be received by Debbie Woodhall, Royal Society of New Zealand, PO Box 598, 4 Halswell Street, Wellington or by 6 October 2014.

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Exemplars of how to complete the nomination form:

We have included a couple of examples that the Realise the Dream judging panel feel have been completed to a good standard by the nominator and may help you in completing your nomination form. The nominators comments are in red.

Exemplar Nomination Form 1

Exemplar Nomination Form 2

Exemplar Nomination Interviews

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Stanley Roache

DVD Guidelines

The DVD that is sent to the Realise the Dream selection panel needs to be of good quality. Arrange to film in quiet and well lit surroundings. There should be no background noise.

It is compulsory for the students to be involved in the DVD either by way of the nominator interviewing the student or the student presenting the whole of the DVD themselves.

It is important to provide information about why this project is regarded as being of an excellent standard. For example explain the methodology clearly including replicates, controls, data collected, interpretation, statistical methods and the significance of the results. If focusing on technological development, please explain clearly the basis of the work, the process the student went through, trialling, modifications and the significance of the resultant product or system. The student should also include what they have learnt from carrying out this research and what they could have possibly done better.

Be succinct in your description or interview; the DVD is to be no longer than 5 minutes.

Clearly show the strengths of the research and weaknesses if any

Include one copy of the DVD together with the paperwork required as part of the nomination process.

Some ideas of what could be included in the DVD.

Realise the Dream Selection Panel

There is a Realise the Dream Selection Panel which consists of a Chief Judge and several other experienced selection panel members who read and discuss all nominations thoroughly. All judges have a broad range of knowledge, experience and qualifications, as the task requires relative evaluations across a very wide range of topic areas. Every judge is able to contribute comment on most aspects of every project. However, each judge has fields of special expertise and these are given appropriate weight.
Every judge is very familiar with the Realise the Dream criteria outlined below, as well as the principles of scientific method, technology development, research practice, and ethical considerations. The judging panel includes representatives well experienced in the relevant aspects of the NCEA Framework as they affect the production of projects.
Most judges have significant direct judging experience in other national or regional science and technology fairs. Occasionally judges may be selected for other forms of expertise.
The Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) provides an organising official for Realise the Dream, who will attend the panel, to support its work. Furthermore, the relevant RSNZ Manager may attend at any time, and is available for consultation by the panel.
The panel is not open to the public or contributing organisations, except by invitation of RSNZ.

Projects selected for Realise the Dream represent excellence across many categories including:

It is expected that all nominators will apply to the robust selection criteria outlined on the nomination form and submit those projects they consider most worthy from class or event. The Realise the Dream judging panel has no control over the range of projects nominated in a given year. As a result, most categories will be represented most years, but it will be unusual to have all the categories (above) represented in any one year.


Below we list the criteria that will be used by the Realise the Dream selection panel. That panel will be able to apply the criteria only to the written material and DVDs presented by the students and their nominators. Exceptionally the selection panel may contact the nominator OR the student to help answer questions raised in the evaluation process. We strongly recommend that nominators and nominees take note of these criteria when preparing nominations.

The criteria are organised under five main headings.


In addition there is a set of criteria used that are common to all of the above five headings. Projects need to:



There are three broad approaches to research work. Each of these approaches generally comprise of a number of steps as in the table below.

The selection panel will expect to see clear and appropriate use of the following steps within the project design.

Experimental Research Technology Development/Research Research to increase knowledge for environmental or social systems (where controlled experiments are not possible)
  • Hypothesis
  • Prediction
  • Controlled experiments
  • Experiments/observations that involve controlled treatments and/or an attempt to falsify hypothesis by obtaining further experimental measurements
  • Theory to explain phenomena
  • Define the problem
  • Generate ideas
  • Gather information
  • Develop an approach
  • Design various prototypes
  • Produce the preferred solution
  • Evaluate responses to identify the best solution
  • May continue to prepare improved prototypes
  • A proposal or idea can be tested by evaluating options by gathering and analyzing data instead of controlled experiments (e.g. surveys)

The research may include:

  • Hypothesis
  • Prediction
  • Observations that do not involve controlled treatments
  • Adjunct experiments that do involve controlled treatments
  • Theory to explain phenomena

NB The selection panel and judges will need to be aware that some projects may use more than one of the approaches.


4 SOUNDNESS OF INTERPRETATION (of results/outputs/proposals)


Ethics Approval for Realise the Dream Students

Information about Ethics may be found at

Animal Ethics:

Information on the animal ethics, the definition of an animal within the Animal Welfare Act, guidelines, examples and application forms can be found at

Human Ethics:

For guidelines for the use of Humans in experiments and research, please refer to the NZASE website

These ethical practice guidelines are for students and teachers engaged in school research and other projects that involve people (other students, family, members of the community).

Human Ethics and Your Realise the Dream Project

Does your investigation involve yourself or other people in:

If it does then you must think about the safety of yourself and the participants involved.

What information do I need to give my research participants?

When you have asked people to participate in your research, you will have needed to tell them, in a language they can easily understand:

It is best to give this information to people in a written form and to give them a chance to think about it and to ask any questions, before they make any decisions.

What level of risk to research participants is reasonable?

Any research that involves bodily fluids or the ingesting of material (eg such as taking any kind of medication, ingesting substances, testing body tissue, saliva, skin scrapes, use of pain or deprivation of basic food or drink) should only be done under the guidance of a medical person.

Any project should only involve minimal risk ie any adverse effect should be very small, and the probability of that effect occurring should be low. For instance, if one is asking people for information, it should only be the sort of information it would be safe, easily volunteered and appropriate to ask in an ordinary conversation, or if you are asking people to exert themselves, physically it should only be to a level that that person might do in everyday life.

Who needs to give permission (or consent) for someone to participate in research?

A parent or guardian needs to give their permission for anybody under 16, as well as the young person agreeing. The parent or guardian needs to have all the information that you would give a research participant. You should have records of who has given consent and how it has been given whenever the research involves more than observation of individuals in their normal activities.

Realise the Dream is about encouraging good practice so you might like to consider these general ethical principles when planning your project

Respect for your participants

  1. People do not have to help you with your research and they do not have to give you a reason. If you are conducting a class survey it can’t be compulsory to participate.
  2. You need to understand the cultural and religious beliefs of your participants and make sure your research is not disrespectful or offensive
  3. All the data belongs to the respondents so it is nice to give them a summary of your final research finding at the end so they share in what you found out.

Minimise harm to the participants

  1. Harm can be things like pain, stress, fatigue, emotional distress, and embarrassment. Think about what you want to do in terms of the harm it could cause.
  2. You may need to alter your design to minimise the harm. For example if you are doing a fitness test and collecting weight data would you do this in public or test each person on their own?

Informed and Voluntary Consent

  1. Participants should give signed informed consent. You should keep these safely until the end of your project
  2. You must give them enough information about your project and testing you want to do for them to make a good decision.
  3. They must not feel pressured to participate in the project.
  4. It is best if the information given to them in advance of the research, in written form, so they have time to think about it.
  5. Participants can withdraw at any time without giving you a reason and you should return any data already collected unless they say you can keep it.


Plagiarism is broadly defined as presenting someone else's work in a way that would lead those you present to, to assume it is your own. There are many forms of plagiarism. This usually refers to the content of written reports but can include other intellectual property such as adoption of other peopleís plans or concepts. In the context of Realise the Dream there are two key “don'ts”: (i) Donít include in your written report, any text you have found on the internet or anywhere else, even a single sentence, unless you rephrase the idea in your own words and reference it as a citation, or place the material in quotation marks to indicate it is not your own writing, if it is reported word for word. (ii) Donít repeat other people's experiments or technology projects to obtain new data and present those as your own where you are not the person responsible for the thinking process that underpins and creates the project in its present form. Where plagiarism is detected by the judges, the project involved will be disqualified by the Realise the Dream judging panel for selection to the event.

Conflicts of Interest

All judges are expected to act impartially at all times.

To avoid conflict of interest in such a situation, the judge involved is required to state their conflict of interest and take a purely observational role: answering direct questions about the project, but not offering opinion or influencing the decision or consensus, which is made by the other panel members.

Disagreements, Enquiries and Protests

If an interested party disagrees with a decision of one of the judging panels (re. selection to Realise the Dream or allocation of an award), and wishes to follow up the matter, then