Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 07/03/2024

We have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions from Coordinators for the Oliphant Science Awards below. If your question isn't answered below please contact the SASTA office on 8354 0006 or via email

Q: Do I need to register as a coordinator each year?

A: Yes, you do. You won’t have to create a new account on the Oliphant website each time, but you will need to register for each separate year’s competition.

Q: I’ve registered as a coordinator but I’m going on leave for Term 2 / Term 3. What should I do?

A: Unless your leave is unplanned, it would be best to find someone at the school who can be the coordinator right from the start – once you’ve registered projects with your individual account, we cannot change the coordinator’s details. Plus, our system only allows one registered coordinator from each school.

Q: I am trying to register as a coordinator for this year’s competition, but I’m getting a message saying someone else has already registered as a coordinator from my school. What should I do?

A: Please contact the SASTA team – sometimes overzealous parents register as a coordinator for their child’s (your!) school. Our team can sort this out for you from our end, just email us!

Q: I’m a parent and my kids are keen on entering the competition but none of the staff at their school wants to take on the coordinator role. Can I register as the school’s coordinator?

A: It is not recommended that parents become coordinators. We suggest following up with your child(ren)’s school and if there really is no one who is willing to take on the coordinator task, we can make an exception. Please, however, be aware that if any other children from your child(ren)’s school wish to register for the competition, you will also need to coordinate their entries / projects etc as well.

Q: How many students can register for a group entry?

A: Up to three students can enter one group project. Please note not all categories are suitable for groups – only individual entries can be registered in the Science Writing and Posters categories. Any coordinators who register groups for either of these two categories will be contacted by the SASTA team.

Q: Can an individual student register a project in the Citizen Science category?

A: No, this category is designed for group entries only. Groups in this category can (and are encouraged to be!) larger than the usual three students permitted per group.

Q: Can a student enter more than one project in the competition?

A: Yes, absolutely. We do, however, suggest erring on the side of “quality over quantity”; if you as the coordinator believe the student would be better off focussing their energy on one or two projects rather than several, then it might be best to try and convince the student of that.

Q: Can a student enter more than one project into the same category?

A: Absolutely! This decision, however, should also be made with the “quality over quantity” motto in mind as mentioned in the answer to the previous question – if doing more than one project per category is pushing the time limit boundaries, then it might be best for the student to stick to one project in the category.

Q: I don’t know the names of the students who will be putting in projects by the time project registrations close, what should I do?

A: Enter your projects with as much information as you can at the time, i.e., category, year level etc and let us know what you are doing by email. If you provide the names of the students who do enter before the ID labels are printed for the second round of judging, we can update them for you. It is important to let us know by 26th July 2024 of the students who are entering projects so that we can ensure that we print participation certificates for them.

Q: I’m having trouble registering my projects online. What should I do?

A: Please call the SASTA team on 8354 0006 during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) to assist – it’s impossible to predict why you may be experiencing issues when registering projects. By calling, the team can attempt assist on a case-by-case basis.

Q: I have collected the registration forms from my students, what do I do with them now?

A: Once you have entered all projects into the online portal, you can keep those forms – the competition organisers do not require those forms to be returned, they are for your records only.

Q: I need to change a project after project registrations have closed – what do I do?

A: There are two specific amendment periods for coordinators to make changes to their registered projects and you will be notified of both – the first period enables you to log in and make changes yourself to registered projects. The second period entails you filling out an online form and SASTA staff will make the changes on your behalf. Once the second period has closed, no further project amendments can be made. Once project registrations have closed, you can no longer register new projects, you can only make changes to existing projects.

Note that your school will be invoiced according to the type of projects (group or individual) that have been registered at the close of registrations. There will be no refund should any of your students fail to submit their projects.

Q: What format can the projects to be electronically submitted need to be in?

A: There are very specific requirements for each category – please refer to the Awards Category pages on the Awards website or download the Information Booklet for further information.

Q: I am planning on electronically submitting my students’ projects myself – is this okay?

A: You can certainly do that; however, the online submission system is designed to remove this task from coordinators – parents and older children can easily electronically submit their own projects by following the instructions provided on the Online Submissions page.

Q: One of my students has entered the Programming, Apps and Robotics Category cannot is not able to attend on Judging Day. Is there another opportunity for projects in this category to be demonstrated to judges?

A: Unfortunately not. If students are not able to attend Programming, Apps and Robotics Judging Day, whether it be through illness, they'll be away or have sporting commitments, there is no secondary opportunity for judging. We would recommend that the student re-submit that project the next year instead.

Q: One (or more!) of my students registered a first-round project (Programming, Apps and Robotics, Scientific Inquiry, Science Writing or Multimedia) but was not able to finish their project in time; can they change categories so that they submit a project in the second-round?

A: This can be done, however please note that there is not much time between the two rounds. So, if you’re confident that the student(s) can / will finish a project to submit in the second round, then please contact the SASTA staff to see if this change is permissible.

Q: A student has submitted a project for delivery but I just realised that their project was never registered. What can I do?

A: Please let us know as soon as possible. We can make arrangements so that this student's project can be registered for judging. It is imperative that you contact us to sort this out; any project delivered without a label (or cover sheet) attached will not be submitted for judging. 

Q: I didn't receive an ID label for one (or more) of my projects. What should I do?

A: Firstly, please check your list to see that this student's project was actually registered. If it does appear in your list, it was registered and the label was simply forgotten (we print over 1,500 labels and we're human, so one or two may have gone astray!). We recommend you print the cover sheet and attach it to the project (adhering to compulsory label locations!) and deliver as normal.

If, however, the project does not appear in your list, the project was never registered. Please refer to the previous Question and Answer on what to do in this situation.  

Q: One (or more) of my students have not managed to complete their project(s) for submission, what should I do?

A: There’s nothing necessarily for you to do except to notify the SASTA team should you wish to do so.

Q: A student of mine has submitted their board game and it doesn’t meet the measurement requirements, what should I do?

A: If there is still time, it would be best to return the game to the student, remind them of the measurement requirements and request that they amend their packaging. If there is no time, you can still submit the project for judging, however, the judges do have many games to judge and any projects that do not meet the requirements as stated in the rules won’t be judged. Reading, understanding, and following the rules is key to a successful entry!

Q: Where should I stick the ID label(s) on Photography and Poster projects?

A: ID labels must be stuck to the back of each entry. This information can be found in the Information Booklet and on the 2024 Awards Categories pages for Photography and Posters.

Q: I have downloaded the cover sheet and stuck that on the back of my students’ Poster or Photography project, is that okay?

A: The SASTA team will send out ID labels for projects in these categories, but if you didn’t receive the labels, the students misplaced them, or you stuck the cover sheet on before the labels arrived, that is fine. Note, you do not need both the label and the cover sheet – one or the other will suffice.

Q: I am not available to drop off my students’ projects on the specified Project Delivery Day – can I drop off projects on a different day?

A: Unfortunately, this is not possible. The projects must be delivered on the specified day. If you are not able to do this yourself, please arrange an alternative method of delivery – whether that be via courier, uber or taxi, or rope in a volunteer or two to help! Note, the same goes for Project Collection Day – all projects MUST be collected from the venue on the specified day during the times provided.

Q: I wasn't able to collect my students' projects on Project Collection Day; is there somewhere I can go to collect them after that day?

A: Unfortunately not. Any and all projects that remain at 5pm on Project Collection Day will be disposed of. No projects will be returning to the SASTA office under any circumstance.

Q: Do all students receive participation certificates?

A: No, only students who submit their project(s) for judging will receive a participation certificate.

Q: Are students whose projects received a Highly Commended invited to the Presentation Ceremony?

A: Unfortunately, only place winners and sponsor prize winners are invited to the Presentation Ceremony.

Q: Will all students receive feedback from the judges on their entry?

A: Unfortunately, each year, the competition receives over 2,000 entries and it is just not possible for the judges to provide feedback for each entry.