FURE’s goal is to inspire students to delve into broad areas of underwater
sciences, engineering and technologies, to encourage pursuit of academic studies and careers in the sciences and engineering, and to support the conduct of scientific, technical, engineering and math related exercises that enhances students’ knowledge.

The International Submarine Race provides the setting for a premier biennial STEM event where aspiring scientists and engineers apply the principals they have learned in the classroom and laboratory to practical application in the design, construction and operational competition of human powered underwater craft.

New Race Award Announced for 2121 Races!

The Foundation for Underwater Research and Education (FURE) is pleased to announce that a new award will be included in awards program of the 16th biennial International Submarine Race to be held in June 2021.

The yet unnamed race award will be presented to the team that presents and operates the most innovative non-propeller design during the competition. The following draft award criteria has been developed for his award:

  • One or two person submarines are eligible for the award
  • High School, College and Independent entries are eligible for the award
  • The boat must be propelled by a non-propeller propulsion system
  • Drive system must not be able to be purchased “off the shelf” (for example, a Hobie Mirage Drive)
  • The majority of the drive system components must be designed by the current team that is racing the submarine (i.e., no “legacy” systems from previous ISRs).  (This does not preclude allow the use of previously used gearboxes or other small components that can be used in multiple system applications)
  • The use of blades rotating in a vertical plane driven by a rotating shaft in the flow field external to the hull will be considered a propeller system and therefore a submarine using this design will not be eligible for the reward.
  • If the non-propeller design system is substantially similar to any drive systems used in the either of the last two ISR’s it will not be eligible for this award.
  • The submarine using a non-propeller drive system must complete at least one successful run of the course using the system as described in their design report to be eligible for this award.  (A successful run is defined as completing he 100m course without touching the bottom or sides of the basin or broaching the surface)
  • If the case where multiple submarines using a non-propeller drive system are entered in the ISR for a given year, the submarine whose drive system is most unlike the others will be given special consideration for the award by the judges.  
  • The non-propeller submarine who has the most successful runs or the fastest successful run will also be given special consideration for the award.

While the judging criteria is not expected to change, final criteria will be part of the race contestant manual which will be issued near term.  If you have any questions, please contact ISR Contestant Liaison at

This award will include a plaque as well as a $2000 Cash award to be presented at the awards ceremony.

All Awards:

The Booz Allen Hamilton Overall Performance Award

A trophy and $1000 award are given to the submarine team from any design category that displays the best overall performance. The ranking of Overall Performance is determined by quantifying the Figure of Merit (FOM) for each team and submarine. Seventeen weighted parameters are ranked to determine the FOM. The analysis includes aspects of other awards and the team’s attitude, persistence, and resourcefulness. This award is sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton. The runner up team in this category will receive a plaque and $500.

Innovation Award

A plaque is given to recognize the submarine team from any design category that incorporates the most innovative design, construction and/or performance attribute. (Please note: This award may not be awarded if the judges determine that the level of innovation is insufficient to be recognized).

The American Systems Best Use of Technology Award

A plaque and $1000 award are given to the team in any design category that exhibits the best and most successful use of technology to support their vessel’s design, construction, and/or performance. This award is sponsored by American Systems.

Absolute Speed Award

A plaque is given to the submarine team with the fastest speed of the race from any of the design categories. If the speed sets a new speed record, $500 will be awarded in addition to the plaque.

Best Design Outline

A plaque is given to the team that submits the best design outline report on their submarine.

Smooth Operator Award

A plaque is given to a team in recognition of their efficiency in staging for the race course, racing the course, troubleshooting as necessary, and preparing for their next run.

Best Spirit of the Races

A plaque is given to the submarine team that displays the best gusto, fortitude, support for the other teams, and overall best spirit. The winner is selected by the submarine teams themselves. The Best Spirit of the Races is awarded in memory of the late ISR contestant, Steve Barton of team Sublime.

Fastest Speed by Category

Certificates are given to first place and runner up speed finishers in each design category. The categories for speed awards include the combinations of the following characteristics – one or two person boats, propeller or non-propeller boats and Independent, High School and College level teams.

FURE Scholarship Winner

An award of $2000 is made to the winner of the FURE Scholarship for that year. [view scholarship information]