For the first time, the National Science Challenge is held entirely online, thus named Virtual National Science Challenge. It also carries the theme “Towards a Pandemic-resilient Community Through Science”.
On 9 November 2020, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia broadcasted the Grand Final of the 2020 VNSC via Zoom, Facebook Live, and the Ministry of Education’s Youtube Channel, EduWebTV.
Guests of honour in attendance for this momentous event were the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation YB Khairy Jamaluddin, and ASM President YBhg Professor Datuk Dr Asma Ismail.
This year, six teams from across Malaysia competed in the Grand Final Competition. The Grand Finalists and its members are as follows:
SMJK Jit Sin, Pulau Pinang
- Loh Hong Sheng
- Ang Yi Jin
- Lim Wen Hao
- Winny Low Yen Teng (mentor teacher)
- Coach: Associate Professor Dr Nafarizal Nayan from UTHM.
MRSM Kuala Berang, Terengganu
- Nur Alia Maisarah binti Mohd Fadhil Ikhwan
- Nurin Farhah binti Hamdi
- Muhammad Idris bin Mohd Yusri
- Ahmad Hafizul Hanis bin Mohd Shahar (mentor teacher)
- Coach: Associate Professor Dr Garry Kuan Pei Ern from USM.
SM Sri Cempaka Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
- Lim Zheng Xian
- Danial Faris bin Azmi
- Amir Ryan bin Danial Khairi
- With Rozian binti Mohd Lizan (mentor teacher)
- Coach: Associate Professor Ir Dr Rosdiadee Nordin from UKM.
SMK King George V, Negeri Sembilan
- Sharini Kurup a/p Jaya Chander
- Muhammad Danish Bin Mohd Sharazmi Chew
- Nitesh a/l Prakash
- Megat Kamarul Ihsan bin Kamaruddin (mentor teacher)
- Coach: Dr Ng Siew Kit from USM.
SMK Mat Salleh Ranau, Sabah
- Calvia Eva Chin
- Yvette Michelle Awit
- Deva Nair a/l Ravi
- Noor Ainon Aluidin (mentor teacher)
- Coach: Dr Umaiyal Munusamy from Sayor Mine Network
Pusat Genius @ Pintar Negara, Selangor
- Lim Zheng Xue
- Goh Yi Wei
- Lim Zheng Yan
- Nur Shamim binti Hamzah (mentor teacher)
- Coach: Dr Shahrul Nizam Ahmad from UiTM
The panel of distinguished judges were as follows:
- Datuk Professor Dr Awg Bulgiba Awg Mahmud from Universiti Malaya (Chief Judge)
- Professor Dr Shamala Devi from UCSI University
- Dr Nurul Izzah Ahmad from the Institute for Medical Research (IMR)
- Professor Dr Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam from Sunway University
For this Grand Final Round, the finalists went through two rounds. First, the Lighting Questions Round required the finalists to address an open-ended problem or situation with a novel and creative solution based on the given topics:
- Integrity and Ethics
- Environment and Pollution
- Socioeconomics and Education
Next up was the Prototype Pitching Round. Building up from their submission in the Video Round, the finalists were required to present an invention that can help the country in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by either handling infected persons, managing limited medical facilities/resources, or managing situations post COVID-19. Each team were given five minutes to present and another five for a question-and-answer session. In attendance to conduct these two rounds was YSN-ASM Honorary Member and significant contributor to the National Science Challenge, Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Tahir.
In addition to the Grand Final winners, the 2020 VNSC also awarded the top five most-Liked 2020 VNSC videos on the ASM YouTube channel. In no particular order, the most-Liked videos are produced by:
- SMK Abdul Rahman Talib, Pahang
- SMJK Perempuan China Pulau Pinang
- SMJK Jit Sin, Pulau Pinang
- SMK King George V, Negeri Sembilan
- And SMK Mat Salleh Ranau, Sabah
Following this announcement, the ranking of the 2020 VNSC Grand Final was announced.
The National Science Challenge is one of the nation’s premier science competitions for high school students. This one-of-a-kind competition has sparked the knowledge of thousands of students and enhanced science exploration, innovation, and communication across Malaysia.
The 2020 VNSC was organised in cooperation of our strategic partners: Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia, Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia and Majlis Amanah Rakyat. The Young Scientists Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia was the content and concept creator, under the leadership of the Chair of the 2020 VNSC Organising Committee, Dr Ho Wai Shin. The quiz session was powered by VNSC’s technology partner Sasbadi Online.
As a whole, the 2020 VSNC consists of three rounds. First, students from all over Malaysia are required to complete an online quiz in the Preliminary Round. Then, the best team from each state will represent their respective states in the Video Round, creating a video that follows the theme of this year’s competition. From there, the top six teams will enter the Grand Final Round, vying for the top spot and the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy.