Southern Utah Science and Engineering Fair

Scientific Review

Human Subjects

All research projects involving humans, including surveys, tests, behavioral studies, and physical activities, must be reviewed and approved by qualified experts (Institutional Review Board) appointed by your school before experimentation begins. If the reviewers determine that there is more than minimal psychological or physical risk to the human subjects involved in the project, the student must receive written consent from each of the participants, and written parental consent for each subject under the age of 18.  If the reviewers determine that there are unacceptable risks involved with the project, the student must revise his or her project.  Please attach a copy of any surveys or tests to the research plan.  Students may not publish or display information which identifies the human subjects.

Non-Human Vertebrate Animals

All projects involving non-human vertebrate animals must be reviewed and approved by qualified experts appointed by your school before experimentation begins, AND, must be pre-approved by the SUSEF Scientific Review Committee (SRC).  Alternatives to the use of vertebrate animals must be explored and included in the student’s research plan.  Experiments involving laboratory animals (rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, etc.) cannot be conducted in a student’s home.  Behavioral studies or supplemental nutritional studies on pets or livestock may be conducted at home only if the reviewers determine that there is minimal risk to the vertebrate animal.  Proper animal care must be provided daily, including weekends, holidays, and vacations.  Experimental procedures which cause unnecessary pain or discomfort are prohibited.  Experiments designed to kill any vertebrate animal are prohibited.  Behavioral studies involving operant conditioning with aversive stimuli, mother/infant separation or induced helplessness are prohibited.  Induced toxicity studies are prohibited. 

Hazardous Chemicals, Activities or Devices (prescription drugs, tobacco, alcohol, hazardous chemicals, firearms, welders, lasers, radioactive substances, radiation)

All projects involving use of hazardous substances or devices must be reviewed and approved by qualified experts appointed by your school before experimentation begins, AND, must be pre-approved by the SUSEF Scientific Review Committee (SRC).  All students using hazardous substances or devices in their projects must adhere to federal and state regulations governing hazardous substances or devices.  An adult must directly supervise experiments.  Students working with hazardous substances or devices must follow proper safety procedures for each chemical or device used in the research.  All projects involving controlled substances are prohibited at the Junior Fair level.

Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents (bacteria, viruses, viroids, prions, rickettsia, mold, fungi, parasites, recombinant DNA technologies, human or animal fresh tissues, blood or body fluids, etc.)

All projects involving potentially hazardous biological agents must be reviewed and approved by qualified experts appointed by your school before experimentation begins, AND, must be pre-approved by the SUSEF Scientific Review Committee (SRC).  It is the responsibility of the student and the adults involved with the project to conduct a risk assessment.  Risk assessment defines the potential level of harm, injury, or disease to plants, animals and humans that may occur when working with biological agents.  A critical component of risk assessment is assignment of the biological agent to a risk group.  Uncontrolled growth of unknown organisms and/or uncontrolled decomposition of tissue do not allow identification of a risk group and will therefore not be allowed. 

Allowable microbiology projects include: the ordering of specific known strains of low-risk microorganisms from a reputable laboratory supply company and analyzing them in a laboratory environment under the direction of a qualified supervisor (not in the home), or activities such as swabbing everyday locations and sending the swabs away to a qualified institution for analysis.  Growing cultures from these swabs as part of the project is considered uncontrolled growth.  Plant tissues, non-decomposed food products, hair, teeth that have been sterilized, and fossilized tissue do not need to be treated as potentially hazardous biological agents.

For a more complete list of guidelines regarding all of the subjects listed above please . Please be aware that the ISEF rules are Senior Fair rules and that SUSEF Junior Fair projects may have additional restrictions which are listed above.