Participant Rules

  1. Students must participate in a local (school) fair and meet all the criteria.
  2. All CTSEF and ISEF rules and guidelines must be read, understood, and followed.
  3. To compete in the CTSEF, every student must complete the Waiver and Release of Liability Form, Student Checklist (1A), Research Plan, and Approval Form (1B), and review with his/her teacher or Adult Sponsor
    as teacher/sponsor completes the Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1).
  4. Projects must adhere to all Federal, State, and local laws and regulations.
  5. Students should retain all original forms. Only copies of forms should be submitted for CTSEF approval. These forms will always include at least the Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1),
    Student Checklist (1A), Research Plan, and Approval Form (1B).
  6. Certain projects require additional forms and/or specific reviews.
    1. All projects involving human subjects required special procedures.
      1. An Institutional Review Board (IRB) must review project and approve BEFORE experimentation begins.
      2. Human Subjects Form (4) is required for all subjects of projects involving more than minimal risk and is recommended for all projects involving human subjects.
      3. A copy of any test, survey, or questionnaire must be provided for parental review for subjects less than 18 years of age.
      4. If a school chooses to have a local Institutional Review Board (IRB) the student must have an interview with that board.
      5. After the local IRB review board has approved the students’ project the student must submit the project to the CTSEF for approval.
      6. The CTSEF IRB will review all Human Subject projects and will schedule an interview date.
      7. If the deficiency form states that changes need to be addressed, the corrections must be made on the students’ original paperwork and then re-uploaded to the students profile online, return the project to review status, by the next deadline time. This must be before the IRB interview (if one is requested).
      8. If the project corrections, listed on your deficiency form, are not made there will be no other review until you have completed the corrections listed.
      9. If an IRB interview is requested, the student /teacher/sponsor must email or call the CTSEF office to set an appointment time. The student need to make sure to attend their scheduled interview time and bring a clean corrected copy of the research plan and all forms.
    2. Experiments that involve vertebrate animals, potentially hazardous biological agents, controlled substances, nonexempt recombinant DNA, certain tissue studies, and all studies involving more than a minimal risk to the researcher, require approval from a Scientific Review Committee (SRC) before experimentation begins and must be submitted using the online process ( [read Research Plan instruction sheet].
    3. All other projects require a review by the CTSEF Project Review Team and must be submitted online.
  7. All studies involving nonhuman vertebrate animals, potentially hazardous biological agents, controlled substances, nonexempt recombinant DNA, certain tissue studies, and all studies involving more than
    a minimal risk in human subjects must have a Designated Supervisor or Qualified Scientist, depending on risk assessment.
  8. Projects that are continuations of previous years’ work and that require IRB/SRC approval must be re-approved prior to experimentation for the current year. Any continuing project must document new or
    more advanced research.
  9. Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form (6B), if applicable, must be submitted for SRC review and approval before student begins experimentation.
  10. The use of alcohol, acid rain, insecticides, herbicides, and heavy metals in toxicity or behavioral studies on live vertebrates is prohibited.
  11. Studies involving any pathogenic or potentially pathogenic agents are prohibited in a home environment, but specimens may be collected at home.
  12. Non-invasive (behavioral) studies involving pets and livestock may be done at home.
  13. No vertebrate animal deaths due to the experimental procedures are permitted in any group or subgroup. Such a project will fail to qualify for competition.
  14. Any proposed changes in the Research Plan by the student after initial IRB/SRC approval must have subsequent IRB/SRC approval before experimentation begins/resumes.
  15. If work was conducted in an institutional or industrial setting any time during the current project year, Regulated Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form (1C) must be completed.
  16. Use of models alone or demonstrations is not creative and is not allowed.
  17. Collections should only be used to support an investigation or help to answer a question. Fossils will be permitted on display.
  18. Display or poster exhibits showing only library research are not acceptable. Projects must present the results of experimental investigation or field studies.
  19. NO product testing is allowed at the Regional Fair level. Although acceptable at the local level, product testing projects may not advance to the CTSEF.
  20. Each student may enter only one project that covers research done over a maximum continuous 12 month period between January of previous fair year and current year fair.
  21. All exhibits must adhere to CTSEF/ISEF safety and size requirements.
  22. It is important that students retain all original signed forms. The only exception is the waiver that is sent with your first review and it must be the original signed form.
  23. It is the student’s responsibility to check with the CTSEF for any additional restrictions or requirements.