Frequently Asked Questions

1) We noticed that "(must be prior to experimentation)" is no longer stated under the Adult Sponsor signature line on Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1) as it was on prior year's forms. We assume that is still the case, but some people may be led to believe otherwise. Can you please confirm, and should "(must be prior to experimentation)" be added and updated on the SSP site to eliminate confusion and SRC problems down the line?

The ISEF SRC actually made this change deliberately because we found that many students did not have their teachers engaged in the process as they went to summer programs, etc. and therefore felt that they were being put in a position of having to falsify this information. It is certainly still encouraged to be prior to experimentation in as many cases as possible, but it is not a "must" statement.

2) What is the reason for SRC/IRB Forms?

Students participating in an Intel ISEF Affiliated Fair are to adhere to ALL requirements set forth by Society for Science and the Public. Download the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Rules and Regulations, including forms from the Society for Science and the Public's website.
Society for Science and the Public
Intel ISEF Rules & Guidelines
Phone: 202.785.2255
Fax: 202.785.1243
1719 N Street, NW Washington, DC 20036

3) Which forms are to be used?

Use ONLY the 2017/2018 forms. Discard old forms. The state fair will not accept old forms of students that advance. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Rules and Regulations guides the teacher and student on the forms needed based on type of study. The Intel ISEF Rules Wizard, will guide students with a list of forms for the chosen project.
The "Wizard" is on the Science Service web site. The Clarification for Forms & Dates section. It lists each form in the International Rules and Guidelines with a very brief explanation of the form's purpose and when it should be completed. Refer to the Common SRC Problems section of the website for pointers on WHAT NOT to do.

4) Can SRC Forms be filled on-line?

Yes. All forms filled out by the student be done on-line. Then print and obtain signatures where needed. Forms can not be saved unless you have complete acrobat program.

5) Do we send in original copies of forms?

No! Please submit Only Photo Copies. Keep Originals!

6) Does each team member submits a set of SRC Forms?

Only one set per team with the exception of Form (1B) is submitted. Each member needs Form (1B)

7) When are SRC/IRB Forms Due?

SRC/IRB Forms for projects that need prior approval before experimentation are due on or before December 9, 2017. Forms for projects that do not need prior SRC approval before experimentation are due January 19, 2018.

8) What are SRC Clinics?

Clinics are sessions whereby students, teachers, and parents are given individual assistance with the SRC forms and questions are answered. Location and times of the clinics are announced via e-mail to those schools that are on the contact list.

9) Can be bacteria and fungi projects be conducted at home?

Experimentation with potentially hazardous biological agents, even BSL-1 organisms, is prohibited in a home environment. Specimens are allowed to be collected at home.
1) studies involving Bakers yeast and Brewers yeast except when involved in DNA studies
2) studies involving most protists and similar microorganisms
3) research using manure for composting or other nonculturing experiments and field productions

10) Can students enter more than one project?

Only one project can be submitted by a student or a team.

11) Do team members have to be from the same school or grade?

They do not have to be from the same school or grade. However, they need to be from the same entry division (Junior or Senior Division).

Key Terms

Adult Sponsor

A teacher, parent, university professor, or scientist in whose lab the student is working; must have solid background in science and close contact with student.


BioSafety Level 1 Projects with biological agents, plants or animals that pose low risk to personnel and the environment (conducted in HS lab).


BioSafety Level 2: Biological agents pose moderate risks to personnel and environment (cannot be conducted in high school).

BSL-3 and BSL-4

Studies are prohibited for high school students since the biological agents usually cause serious disease and can be dangerous.

Control Substances

Refers to alcohol, tobacco, prescribed drugs and chemicals that can be used to make illegal drugs. All studies using these substances must be supervised by a qualified scientist.

Display and Safety

A group of qualified individuals responsible for checking compliance of exhibits with display and safety rules.

Designated Supervisor

An adult properly trained in the specific procedures used in the investigation who will directly supervise the student.


An Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee that approves all animal studies at a regulated research institution prior to experimentation.


Institutional Review Board is a committee of specific composition at an affiliated fair, high school, or institution that review research plans and consent forms to evaluate potential physical or psychological risk of research involving human subjects.


A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is designed to provide both workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance. MSDS's include information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill/leak procedures. These are of particular use if a spill or other accident occurs. MSDS Online

Non-regulated Research Site

Include home, school, farm, ranch, in the field, etc. If the study involves behavioral observational or supplemental nutritional studies on animals and the research involves only non-invasive and non-intrusive methods that do not negatively affect an animals health or well-being.

Regulated Research Institution

Institutions registered as research centers and may include universities.


Scientific Review Committee is a group of qualified individuals responsible for evaluation of student research, certifications, research plans, etc.

Qualified Scientist

An individual with (1) an earned doctoral degree in science or medicine or (2) a master's degree with equivalent experience and/or expertise, and who has a working knowledge of the techniques to be used by the student.