Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. Such practices include plagiarism, forgery, use or presentation of other researcher’s work as one’s own and fabrication of data. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition in affiliated fairs or the Intel ISEF.
1. Each ISEF-affiliated fair may send up to two Individual Project Finalists and one Team Project of two or three Finalists to the Intel ISEF.
2. Any student selected by an ISEF-affiliated fair must be in grades 9-12 or equivalent to be eligible, none of whom has reached age 21 on or before May 1 preceding the Intel ISEF.
3. Each student may enter only one project which covers research done over a maximum of 12 continuous months between January 2009 and May 2010.
4. Students may compete in only one ISEF Affiliated Fair, except when proceeding to a state/national fair affiliated with the Intel ISEF from an affiliated regional fair.
5. Team projects may have a maximum of three members.
6. Projects that are demonstrations, ‘library’ research or informational projects, ‘explanation’ models or kit building are not appropriate for the Intel ISEF.
7. A research project may be a part of a larger study done by professional scientists, but the project presented by the student may only be their portion of the complete study.
1. All domestic and international students competing in an ISEF-affiliated fair must adhere to all of the rules as set forth in this document.
2. All projects must adhere to the Ethics Statement above.
3. Projects must adhere to local, state, country and U.S. Federal laws, regulations and permitting conditions.
4. Introduction or disposal of non-native species, pathogens, toxic chemicals or foreign substances into the environment is prohibited. See www.anstaskforce.gov/documents/isef.pdf .
5. Intel ISEF exhibits must adhere to Intel ISEF display and safety requirements.
6. It is the responsibility of the student and adult sponsor to check with their affiliated fair for any additional restrictions or requirements.
Approval and Documentation
7. Before experimentation begins, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Scientific Review Committee (SRC) must review and approve most projects involving human subjects, vertebrate animals, and potentially hazardous biological agents. See the appropriate sections of the Rules Book.
8. Every student must complete Student Checklist (1A), a Research Plan and Approval Form (1B) and review the project with the Adult Sponsor as the Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1) is completed.
9. A Qualified Scientist is required for all studies involving BSL-2 potentially hazardous biological agents, DEA-controlled substances, many human subject studies and many vertebrate animal studies.
10. After initial IRB/SRC approval (if required), any proposed changes in the Student Checklist (1A) and Research Plan must be re-approved before laboratory experimentation/data collection resumes.
11. Projects which are continuations of previous year’s work and which require IRB/SRC approval must be reapproved prior to experimentation/data collection for the current year.
12. Any continuing project must document that the additional research is new and different. (See Continuation Projects Form (7))
13. If work was conducted in a regulated research institution, industrial setting or any work site other than home, school or field at any time during the current ISEF project year, Regulated Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form (1C) must be completed.
14. After experimentation, each student or team must submit a (maximum) 250-word, one-page abstract which summarizes the current year’s work. The abstract must describe research conducted by the student, not by adult supervisors.
15. A project data book and research paper are not required, but are recommended. (See Student Handbook; Regional fairs may have different requirements).
16. All signed forms, certifications, and permits must be available for review by an SRC just before each fair a student enters.
Continuation of Projects
1. As in the professional world, research projects may be done that build on work done in previous years. Students will be judged only on the most recent year’s research. The project year includes research conducted over a maximum of 12 continuous months from January 2009–May 2010.
2. Any project based on the student’s prior research could be considered a continuation project. If the current year’s project could not have been done without what was learned from the past year’s research, then it is a continuation project for competition. These projects must document that the additional research is an expansion from prior work (e.g. testing a new variable or new line of investigation, etc.) Repetition of previous experimentation with the exact same methodology and research question or increasing sample size are examples of unacceptable continuations.
3. Display boards boards must reflect the current year’s work only. The project title displayed in the Finalist’s booth may mention years (for example, “Year Two of an Ongoing Study”). Supporting data books (not research papers) from previous related research may be exhibited on the table properly labeled as such.
4. Longitudinal studies are permitted as an acceptable continuation under the following conditions:
a. The study is a multi-year study testing or documenting the same variables in which time is a critical variable. (Examples: Effect of high rain or drought on soil in a given basin, return of flora and fauna in a burned area over time.)
b. Each consecutive year must demonstrate time-based change.
c. The display board must be based on collective past conclusionary data and its comparison to the current year data set. No raw data from previous years may be displayed.
NOTE: For competition in the Intel ISEF, documentation must include the Continuation Project Form (7), the previous year’s abstract and research plan and the abstract for all other prior years. The documentation should be clearly labeled in the upper right hand corner with the year (ex: 2008-2009). Please retain all prior years’ paperwork in case an SRC requests additional documentation.
1. Team Projects compete in a separate “team” category against all other Team Projects. An ISEF Affiliated Fair has the option of sending a team project, in addition to two individual projects, to the Intel ISEF. ISEF-Affiliated Fairs are not required to have Team Projects, but are encouraged to do so.
2. Teams may have up to three members. NOTE: Teams may not have more than three members at a local fair and then eliminate members to qualify for the Intel ISEF.
3. Team membership cannot be changed during a given research year including converting from an individual project or vice versa, but may be altered in subsequent years.
4. Each team should appoint a team leader to coordinate the work and act as spokesperson. However, each member of the team should be able to serve as spokesperson, be fully involved with the project, and be familiar with all aspects of the project. The final work should reflect the coordinated efforts of all team members and will be evaluated using similar rules and judging criteria as individual projects.
5. Each team member must submit an Approval Form (1B). However, team members must jointly submit the Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1), one abstract, a Student Checklist (1A), a Research Plan and other required forms.
6. Full names of all team members must appear on the abstract and forms.