The competition is open to all individuals or teams in the following four competition categories:
- Middle School Students and Younger (grades K-8)
- High School Students (grades 9-12)
- Tertiary Education Students (2-year college through graduate school, part- or full-time)
- The General Public
Employees of the National Academies or ExxonMobil and their immediate families or those living in the same household as a National Academies or ExxonMobil employee are not eligible to enter this competition.
Entrants may participate in one Submission in one of the four competition categories. Entrants must select one competition category at the time of their entry. Each individual contest participant is restricted to one Submission only, whether an individual or as part of a team. If the ages of team members pertain to more than one category, the team should select the category that reflects the age of the oldest member of the team.