ST Yau High School Science Award (ASIA)

FAQs & Enquiries

Frequently Asked Questions


About Professor Shing-Tung Yau

Professor Shing-Tung Yau is Professor of Harvard University and Director of Yau Mathematical Sciences Center, Tsinghua University. He initiated the S.T. Yau High School Science Award in 2008.

Professor Yau was awarded the Fields Medal, the highest award in mathematics, in 1982, and in 1994 he shared with Professor Simon Donaldson of Oxford University the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Society, in recognition of his “development of nonlinear techniques in differential geometry leading to the solution of several outstanding problems.”

Professor Yau has made fundamental contributions to differential geometry which have influenced a wide range of scientific disciplines, including astronomy and theoretical physics. With Professor Richard Schoen, Professor Yau solved a longstanding question in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity by proving that the sum of the energy in the universe is positive; their proof has provided an important tool for understanding how black holes form.

To learn more about Professor Yau, you may want to visit


Q1. Is YHSA(Asia) the same as YHSA(Mainland China)?

The S.T. Yau High School Science Award is initiated by Professor Shing-Tung Yau to promote innovation, originality and creativity in scholarly activities among high school students. All regions of S.T. Yau High School Science Award share similar vision and academic scope. However, considering the various scientific backgrounds of different regions, the Award is divided into regions in order to focus outreach effort and promote participations. Therefore, except for the overall scientific oversight and coordination, YHSA(Asia) will run its competition programme independently, with its own regulations, management, assessment criteria and procedures, awards, etc.

Q2. What is so special about YHSA(Asia)?

YHSA(Asia) is more than a competition for awards. It covers the whole Asian region outside Mainland China and thus can reach out for students with diverse nationalities, ethnicities, cultural and educational background. It nurtures students’ passion for scientific discovery, patience in investigation, and rigour in deliberation. It provides the brightest students with an opportunity to emerge early and fast. It also provides a platform for academics from universities to reach secondary school students as early as possible. And the awards are in fact very prestigious.

Q3. Why is Mainland China excluded from the Asia Award?

NO, Mainland China is not excluded from the Asia Award. As a matter of fact, Professor Yau first initiated the Award in Mainland China in 2008. YHSA(Mainland China) has been running successfully for a decade in Mainland China and it is best to keep YHSA(Mainland China) focuses on Mainland students in order to continue to nurture them to success with dedicated resources and attention.

Q4. Is YHSA(Asia) entirely managed by  The Hong Kong Academy of Sciences  (ASHK)?

NO. YHSA(Asia) is co-organised by The Hong Kong Academy of Sciences (ASHK) and Yau Mathematical Science Center (YMSC) of Tsinghua University. Nonetheless, YHSA(Asia) has its own governance structure for scientific oversight and management by its Scientific Advisory Board, Executive Committee, Regional Advisory Committee and Assessment Panels.

The Competition

Q5. I am not from the areas YHSA(Asia) primarily focuses on this year. Can I still join the completion?

YES, all enrolled secondary school students in Hong Kong and the Asian region outside Mainland China are welcomed to compete for YHSA(Asia). We just want to let you know that this year YHSA(Asia) will first focus its publicity effort on certain areas. We will gradually expand our effort to other Asian areas in the long run.

Q6. I am a non-local student studying in Hong Kong. Can I compete for YHSA(Asia)?

YES, all enrolled secondary school students in Hong Kong and the Asian region outside Mainland China are welcomed to compete for YHSA(Asia), regardless of nationality and ethnicity. For example, you could form a team of British, Japanese and Australian, so long as all team members are studying secondary schools in the Asian region outside Mainland China.

Q7. Can I join the competition all by myself?

YES, you can. Each team shall consist of 1 to 3 student members from the same or different secondary school(s). However we reckon it may be more fun and rewarding to form a team to compete.

Q8. Can I join more than one team to increase my chances?

YES, it is possible. Although a student can only be listed in one team in any subject category, it is possible for he/she to join more than one team of multiple subject categories. For example, a student can join two teams, one in Mathematics and one in Biology. However he/she cannot join two teams of the same subject category. 

Q9. Our team members are from different schools. Do we need to arrange for one supervising teacher from each school?

NO. Each team shall only have ONE supervising teacher.

Q10. Is it compulsory to have an academic advisor in the team?

NO, it is not compulsory. But we do encourage our competitive teams to seek advice from university academics.

Q11. How do we register?

You should

(a) fill out the registration form online;

(b) print out the registration email containing complete registration details;

(c) bring the registration email to your school(s) for stamp endorsement; and

(d) email the stamped registration email to

If your team has more than one participating school, remember to seek stamp endorsement from all schools.

Q12. What information do I need to prepare for the registration?

You could refer to the registration email sample. You should submit the form online in order to receive a registration email.

Q13. How do we know if we have successfully registered?

YHSA(Asia) will email a Registration Number to your team, supervising teacher and academic advisor (if any) if your registration has been accepted. So it is important that you provide the correct email address(es) to us.

Q14. Can we change our team members after registration?

NO, change of team members is normally NOT allowed after successful registration. We hope to nurture students’ persistence in research activities and patience in investigation, and we hope all team members, once committed, could start and complete the research project together. However if you encounter unforeseeable and difficult circumstances, you should first consult your supervising teacher. After seeking endorsement from your school(s), you could write to us and our Regional Director will consider your case on an exceptional basis.

Q15. Is the competition mainly about my language ability to write a long paper?

Not exactly. YHSA(Asia) is a research-based competition. It emphasises on innovation, originality, creativity and persistence in research activities. It encourages students and teachers to formulate issues with quantitative precision and scientific rationales. Scholarship and clarity of written report is ONLY one of the selection criteria.

Q16. Does winning an award guarantee university admission?

NO, YHSA(Asia) does not guarantee university admission. However, one of our goals is to establish YHSA(Asia) as a reference for university admission. From the experience of YHSA(Mainland China), over the years more than half of the awardees have got admission into Tsinghua University, Peking University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Princeton University, etc.

Q17. Can we choose a research topic outside your six subject categories?

NO. You have to choose ONE of the following subject categories for your research:

§ Mathematics (including mathematics and statistics)

§ Physics (including physics and engineering)

§ Biology (including biology and mathematical modeling of biological systems)

§ Chemistry (including chemistry and pharmaceutical science)

§ Computer Science

§ Economic and Financial Modeling

Q18. Is there any kind of financial subsidy for participants?

NO. Any expenses, e.g., expenses on experiment, travelling, accommodation, etc., incurred from the participation of YHSA(Asia) shall normally be borne by the participant. However, YHSA(Asia) may provide up to 2 nights’ accommodation to students who reside in the Asian region outside Hong Kong, and have entered the third stage of assessment.

Q19. If I am from outside Hong Kong and I have entered the oral defense, but I do not like 

the accommodation arrangement of YHSA(Asia), will YHSA(Asia) change the arrangement for me?

NO. Overseas students who decline the accommodation arrangement of YHSA(Asia) will have to arrange for their own accommodation at their own expenses for the third stage of assessment.

Q20. Does your “two pages” limit for research outline include graphic, table, etc.?

YES. The research outline shall be limited to two A4 pages, regardless of the types of content.

Q21. Do we need to follow your format requirements when we submit our research outline/research report?

YES, you must do so. We may not process your submission if you fail to follow our format requirements. You could refer to our templates and samples when writing your research outline/report.

Q22. Can we choose to write our research paper according to some common standardised reference formats like MLA or APA?

You must first observe our format requirements. Then you could reference to the standardised reference formats when writing your research paper. Please consult your supervising teacher/academic advisor.

Q23. Can we write our research report in our own native language, which is neither English or Chinese?

NO. Each team shall write their research report either in English or Chinese. If you write your report in Chinese, you must provide an English abstract as well.

Q24. If we write our research report in Chinese, do we have a chance to review and edit the translated version provided by YHSA(Asia)?

NO. The English translation arranged by YHSA(Asia) shall be the final version to be submitted to the panel for assessment, and will NOT be subject to any review of the competition team. And we do encourage our competition teams to write their research reports in English. Afterall, the oral defense will be conducted in English.

Q25. Do we need to run plagiarism check on our work?

NO. All research reports which have entered the third stage of assessment will be sent for plagiarism check by YHSA(Asia). And all submitted outlines/reports may be subjected to plagiarism check by YHSA(Asia) if deemed necessary by the Assessment Panels.

Q26. Can we also submit our research report to other competitions as well?

Research reports that have been submitted in the past or concurrently with other competitions, if declared as such in the research report, will be accepted by YHSA(Asia). Otherwise, the submission may be subject to disqualification.

Q27. Will YHSA(Asia) provide interpretation service at the oral defense?

NO. All teams shall present their research and answer questions from the Assessment Panels by themselves in English.  However, the Assessment Panel might offer limited help to the team during the oral defense if deemed necessary and possible by the Panel Chair.

Q28. Can we demonstrate the research process/procedure on-site to the Assessment Panel at the oral defense?

NO, you cannot. However you are welcomed to show your research output(s)/deliverable(s) to the Assessment Panel at the oral defense.

Q29. Do the selection criteria apply to all subject categories?

YES, all selection criteria apply to all six subject categories.

Q30. How do we know if we have passed any stage of assessment?

YHSA(Asia) will announce the assessment results on its website and notify the teams of their results by email. Therefore, it is important that you provide the correct email address(es) to us when you register for the competition.

Q31. What if I do not like the results of the competition?

The recommended list of awardees will be submitted by the Assessment Panels to the Regional Advisory Committee for final approval. And such approval shall be final. Participants must abide by the decisions of the Regional Advisory Committee.

Q32. Is the cash prize for the whole team or each of the individual team members?

The award, including the cash prize, is for the whole team.

Q33. What do you mean by common standard of academic integrity?

The fundamental principle is academic honesty. YHSA(Asia) is fully committed to the principle of honesty, integrity and fair play in the conduct of the competition. And we expect all participants to uphold the same principle. Always undertake research honestly and credit others for their work.

Q34. What do you mean by YHSA(Asia) reserving first right of refusal on the work of awardees?

It means that YHSA(Asia) has the right to enter a transaction with the awardees (owners of the research work), before the awardees can enter any transaction with others. Therefore, if your team, after awarded, has a chance to publish or derive benefit from your work, you MUST first approach YHSA(Asia) before engaging in any transaction with a third party.

Q35. Where can I find the composition of the Assessment Panel of my subject category?

The composition of the Assessment Panels will NOT be announced to the public until the end of the competition.



Phone: (852) 3690 2704 / (852) 3907 0659