Google has kicked off Google Science Fair 2014, its annual online competition for bright, creative and ambitious teenagers who want to change the world with science.

While the project is led by Google, it also has the backing of Virgin Galactic – Richard Branson’s commercial space – the Lego Group and world-renowned publications National Geographic and Scientific American. The competition is open for students aged 13 to 18, who can sign-up now, form a team (if they wish) and begin working on a submission.

The top entrant will be rewarded with a ten-day expedition to the Galapagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavor, as well as a VIP tour of Virgin Galactic’s ‘Spaceport America‘ in New Mexico. Google is also throwing in a $50,000 scholarship and a $10,000 grant for the winner’s school to purchase cutting-edge science lab equipment.

There will also be age category prizes, rewards for the 15 global finalists and some standalone accolades, such as the Scientific American Science in Action Award, Voter’s Choice Award, Local Award and the Google Science Fair Computer Science Award.

Google suggests that each project should be “an in-depth investigation of a science question or engineering problem” but otherwise, it’s up to students to pick and develop an idea that follows the competition rules.

Completed projects need to be submitted by May 12, 2014 at 11:59 PDT, and the judges this year include; Professor Steve Cowley, chief executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority; Beth Moses, an aerospace engineer for Virgin Galactic; Mariette DiChristina, editor in chief for Scientific American.

Google will announce the regional contestants in June, ahead of global finalists in August and the competition winners in September.

Interested? Here are the rules.

Google Science Fair 2014 (Via Google+)