Updated Fair Rules & Project Alerts

Fair Rules

WSSEF’s rules are to support students to perform independent research safely.

The purpose of these rules are to:

  • protect the rights and welfare of the student researcher
  • protect the rights and welfare of the human participant
  • ensure adherence to federal regulations
  • ensure use of safe laboratory practices
  • protect the environment
  • determine eligibility for competition in the ISEF  (Grade 9 – 12 only)

WSSEF is affiliated with the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and follow their rules. WSSEF’s Scientific Review Committee will have the final authority on the rules, display and safety issues with projects.

Click Here for the entire ISEF rules. For Spanish Click Here.

 

Projects requiring additional forms:

  • Projects (requiring additional forms) usually will require IRB or SRC approval prior to experimentation. Contact the SRC Chairman if you need guidance if prior approval is needed.
  • Additional Required ISEF Forms in addition to forms needed for every project can be downloaded CLICK HERE.
  • There is a possibility that your project is defined as “Exempt Studies” by ISEF. If this is the case, student(s) should submit a statement why the project is exempt with their forms.
  • When submitting additional required forms, please upload the forms under the “Additional Files” section at the bottom of the Files and Forms milestones in the online registration software.

 

Human Participation Projects:

CLICK HERE  to review the ISEF rules for further instructions and to determine if any additional forms will be required.  Note: Institutional Review Board (IRB) officials are at the local school/ institution level where the experiment is being performed and can be supervised.  Form 4 must be signed before submitting forms to WSSEF.  WSSEF does not have an IRB and cannot sign or approve Form 4.  WSSEF SRC provides oversight to insure forms are completed only.

To avoid conflict of interest, no Adult Sponsor, parent or other relative of the student, the Qualified Scientist, or Designated Supervisor who oversees the project, may serve on the IRB reviewing that project. Additional members are recommended to help avoid a potential conflict of interest and to increase the expertise of the committee.

An IRB must consist of a minimum of three members other than the adult sponsor including the following examples:

  • Educator —  Teacher
  • School Administer — Principal, Vice Principal, Counselor
  • Medical or Mental Health Professional — School Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, School Psychologist, Pharmacist, Dentist

Additional Required Forms:

  1. Human Participants Form (4)
  2. Qualified Scientist Form (2) – when applicable
  3. Risk Assessment Form (3) – when applicable
  4. Regulated Research Institution Form (1C) – when applicable

 

Vertebrate Animal Projects:

CLICK HERE to review the ISEF rules for further instructions and to determine if any extra forms will be required.  ISEF and WSSEF strongly endorses the use of non-animal research methods and encourages students to use alternatives to animal research.  Vertebrate Animal projects must be pre-approved by WSSEF (or a Regional Fair SRC) and a veterinarian before experimentation.

Additional Required Forms

  1. Vertebrate Animal Form (5A or 5B)
  2. Qualified Scientist Form (2) – when applicable
  3. Regulated Research Institution Form (1C) – when applicable

 

Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Projects:

CLICK HERE to review the ISEF rules for further instructions and to determine if any extra forms will be required.  Potentially Hazardous Biological projects must be pre-approved by WSSEF (or a Regional Fair SRC) before experimentation.

Experimentation involving the culturing of potentially hazardous biological agents is prohibited in a home environment including experiments with biological agents that pose low risk to personnel and the environment.  (Note: This means NO petri dish experiments in the home will be allowed at WSSEF or Regional Fairs.)

However, specimens may be collected at home as long as they are immediately transported to a laboratory with the appropriate Biosafety Containment Level (BSL 1 – 4) as determined by WSSEF (or Regional Fair) SRC.  Classifications for BSL agents and labs are listed on the ISEF web site link listed above (near bottom of page).

Additional Required Forms

  1. PHBA Risk Assessment Form (6A)
  2. Qualified Scientist Form (2)
  3. Risk Assessment Form (3)
  4. Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form (6B) – for all studies involving tissues and body fluids
  5. Regulated Research Institution Form (1C) – when applicable

 

Hazard Chemicals and Devices Projects:

CLICK HERE to review the ISEF rules for further instructions and to determine if any extra forms will be required.  The use of hazardous chemicals  or devices and involvement in hazardous activities require direct supervision by a Designated Supervisor, except those involving DEA-controlled substances, which require supervision by a Qualified Scientist.

Students must follow all local, state and federal regulations and are required to obtain all required local, state and federal permits before experimentation.

Additional Required Forms

  1. Regulated Research Institution Form (1C) – when applicable
  2. Qualified Scientist Form (2) – when applicable
  3. Risk Assessment Form (3)

 

WSSEF Additional Fair Rules

  • WSSEF projects are registered by an individual student or teams of two or three students.
  • Any student competing at WSSEF will follow the ISEF rules (Refer to link above).
  • A comprehensive abstract is required for grades 6 – 12.  For students in grades 1 – 5, a one or two sentence abstract is required for registration.
  • ALL projects will be reviewed and approved by the SRC shortly before competing at WSSEF to insure adherence to all WSSEF and ISEF Rules.  Note:  Some projects require SRC approval prior to experimentation as previously listed in the rule sections above.
  • WSSEF also does NOT allow any petri dish experiment done in a home. Petri dish experiments must be done in a Biosafety Lab-2 (BSL-2) l
  • The entrant must be present to be judged (i.e., to be interviewed by the judges). Without a WSSEF judges interview it will be difficult to place, but the display and journal will be judged for their own merit and corresponding recognition may be given.
  • The WSSEF board reserves the right to refuse any project it considers unsuitable
  • Actions unbecoming a gentleman or a lady, destruction of another’s property, knowingly falsifying a project may result in disqualified
  • The WSSEF board, its individual members, hosting entity or sponsor is responsible for any loss, damage, or injury associated with the fair.