Scientific Review Committee (SRC)
It is a requirement that affiliated fairs adhere to the International Rules for Precollege Science Research: Guidelines for Science and Engineering Fairs (ISEF Rules) and that students, teachers and parents are informed about these requirements so that they use ISEF forms from the start of research. Students that do not receive the appropriate approvals or complete the necessary ISEF forms in the proper timeline may not qualify for competition at the ISEF.
The fair director must appoint a Scientific Review Committee (SRC) that consists of a minimum of three members. The SRC must include at least one each of: a) biomedical scientist (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., D.O.), b) science educator, and c) another member which may, but is not required to be, a biomedical scientist or a science teacher.
These SRC members must be registered with Society for Science & the Public. Fair directors are required to fill out a form after their fair stating information about the SRC’s activities, such as the group’s meeting schedule and any problems the SRC encountered during reviews.
Judging and student eligibility
Affiliated fairs must recruit and manage a team of judges to select the projects to advance to ISEF. The judging process must be transparent and avoid any appearance of partiality or conflict of interest. Projects may be individual or team projects in any combination.
Any student in grades 9 through 12 or equivalent who has not reached age 20 on or before May 1 preceding ISEF is eligible.
Each student may enter only one project that covers research done over a maximum, continuous 12-month period between January and May of the current ISEF year. Team projects are limited to two or three members.
Students may compete in only one ISEF-affiliated fair, except when proceeding to a state or national fair affiliated with the ISEF.
Number of projects that an affiliated fair can send to ISEF
Society for Science & the Public calculates the maximum project allocation available to a fair based on four factors: 1) number of high school students at the fair; 2) number of high schools represented at the fair; 3) the high school enrollment population of the territory served, and 4) an estimate of students participating in fairs that feed into the affiliated fair.
In addition to this mathematical calculation, a fair may appeal during the affiliation process for additional allocations based on qualitative factors such as:
- Reach of under-represented students.
- Exceptional track record of highly competitive projects.
- Special challenges of an urban or rural community.
- The legitimate need for a transition period based on previous ISEF representation.
International fairs’ allocations take into account other considerations relevant to their status as local, regional, and national fairs and other unique circumstances.
Official Party & required documents
Registration to attend the ISEF is opened in mid-February of each year and must be submitted through the director of each affiliated fair in the form of an Official Party that includes finalists (the students who did the research on the projects coming to ISEF); student observers from grades 7 through 12; an Adult in Charge to chaperone the students and act as the designated point person for the Official Party; and any other persons that fall within the Official Party size limit.
Fair directors will be asked to supply information online about their finalists to help the Society confirm the students competing at ISEF. Fair directors are responsible for ensuring that all ISEF forms are complete and contain appropriate signatures, and that projects are reviewed in accordance with ISEF Rules. All paperwork from fair directors and finalists is due in the Society office within 12 calendar days after the fair is held. The Society holds fair directors responsible for all paperwork, including the finalists’.
Official Party Fees and Limits
You can find more information on fees here. There is a tiered fee structure to charge Finalists and Student Observers less than adults. Observers must be students.
The maximum number of members within an entire Official Party is now determined by the number of projects a fair is committed to bring. Additional Official Party will be subject to a higher registration fee.
1. Fairs with 1, 2 or 3 projects may bring individual or team Finalists representing the projects committed, up to 3 student observers and a maximum of 6 remaining official party. (A fair must minimally have 1 Adult-in-Charge to chaperone the Finalists.)
2. Fairs with 4, 5, or 6 projects may bring individual or team Finalists representing the projects committed, up to 3 student observers and a maximum of 10 remaining official party. (A fair must minimally have 1 Adult-in-Charge to chaperone the Finalists.)
3. Fairs with 7, 8, or 9 projects may bring individual or team Finalists representing the projects committed, up to 3 student observers and a maximum of 15 remaining official party. (A fair must minimally have 2 Adults – an Adult-in-Charge and one other adult to chaperone the Finalists.)
4. Fairs with 10 projects or more may bring individual or team Finalists representing the projects committed, up to 5 student observers and a maximum of 20 remaining official party. (A fair must minimally have 2 Adults – an Adult-in-Charge and one other adult to chaperone the Finalists.)
Cost for finalists
The affiliated fair, through sponsors or other funding, is responsible for arranging and financing registration fees, round trip travel, housing, and reasonable project shipping expenses for ALL individual and team Finalist(s) and the Accompanying Adult in Charge. Finalist families shall not be required to pay expenses as a condition of Finalist participation. Finalists must be escorted by an accompanying Adult in Charge.
If a team project is selected to compete in ISEF, all team members must be granted the opportunity to attend ISEF.