International Rules

The Death of Common Sense

When “We” are reviewing projects during the pre-RSEF SRC, pre-SSEF SRC, and pre-Intel ISEF SRC, “We” often ask:
Did any adult really read this before approving the Research Plan?

Please, please, please make sure the projects allowed to enter your fairs adhere to the ISEF and SSEF rules. Please DO NOT send us incomplete paperwork or a project that has NOT been critically reviewed before submission for entry at higher level competitions. “We” are more than happy to assist you with questions prior to Final SRC.


The Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Regional Science and Engineering Fair follows the rules of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) and abides by the State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) of Florida Rules Supplement to the Intel ISEF Rules.

The STUDENT RESEARCHER is RESPONSIBLE for all aspects of the research project including enlisting the aid of any required supervisory adults (Adult Sponsor, Qualified Scientist, etc.), obtaining necessary approvals (SRC, IRB, etc.), following the Rules & Guidelines of Regional, State, and International Fairs, and performing the experimentation, engineering, data analysis, etc.

Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. This includes plagiarism, forgery, use or presentation of other researcher’s work as one’s own, and fabrication of data. TAERSIF reserves the right to revoke recognition of a project subsequently found to have been fraudulent. Students who have their projects removed from competition for fraud or misconduct may not enter the Edison Fairs Program the following year. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition in the State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) of Florida and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). The Florida Foundation for Future Scientists, Inc. (FFFS) and Society for Science & the Public (SSP) reserves the right to revoke recognition of a project subsequently found to have been fraudulent.

The International Rules and Guidelines

International Rules for Pre-college Science Research: Guidelines for Science and Engineering Fairs are available at in multiple formats. Familiarity with the rules is critical for students, parents, teachers, mentors, fair directors and local and affiliated fair scientific review committees (SRC) and institutional review boards (IRB).

International Rules and Guidelines – The full text of the International Rules and forms in html and as a downloadable PDF; including Summary of Rule Changes for current fair year.

The Intel ISEF Rules Wizard – An interactive tool which asks questions about your intended project and provides a list of forms required.

Common SRC Problems – Frequent problems that emerge during Scientific Review Committee review for qualification at the Intel ISEF. Read these to learn what NOT to do.

In addition to providing the rules of competition, these rules and guidelines for conducting research were developed to facilitate the following:

– protect the rights and welfare of the student researcher
– protect the rights and welfare of human participants
– protect the health and welfare of vertebrate animal subjects
– ensure adherence to federal regulations
– ensure use of safe laboratory practices
– protect the environment
– determine eligibility for competition in Intel ISEF

State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida Rules Supplement

All of the RULES, REGULATIONS, and PROCEDURES of the Intel ISEF are in effect at each affiliated regional science fair and at the SSEF of Florida. In addition, the following SSEF Rules must be followed. Regional and local fairs may also adopt more restrictive rules.

The SSEF Rules Supplement to the Intel ISEF Rules & Guidelines is available from the SSEF of Florida website in the “Resources” section under “Rules/Forms.” Familiarity with the rules is critical for student researchers that wish to compete at Regional and State levels of competition.

Summary of Changes or Reminders SSEF of Florida 2019


No brand names, logos or acknowledgements may be displayed on a project at the RSEF/SSEF. This includes brand names in the product title and/or abstract.


SSEF will continue to require 5 bibliographic references. No change from previous year.


When research is carried out on private property, written permission from the property owner must be secured and submitted with project paperwork.


Lasers that are OUTSIDE of the visible spectrum and/or above 1500 mW in power are to be used in a certified laser lab with SRC approval, approval from a qualified scientist in the field of study, and supervision of an adult sponsor.

Lasers that are WITHIN the visible spectrum and under 1500 mW must have a safety citation ( for example), and a narrative regarding the safety of the lab environment must be included in the experimental procedures.


All unmanned remote operated aircraft, subsequently referred to as drones, MUST adhere to Florida State Statute 934.50 as well as all ISEF rules on such craft.

The environment that drones are operated in MUST be made safe, and a description of the safe environment MUST be included in the experimental procedures.

All drone flights require the Adult Supervisor to be present.

Drones CANNOT be operated over state parks, airports, or military installations without express written consent of a supervisor of said facility. This includes any form of data collection and/or payload delivery or retrieval.


Wording has been changed from “testing of student-designed invention, program, concept, etc.” to “testing of student-designed invention or prototype.”


Changes to Form 4 – Human Participants

– Added clarification that the lower part of the form is for IRB Use Only.
– IRB Signatures, ALL three (3) signatures required from IRB.
– ALL Human Participant research projects MUST undergo full IRB review and approval. Expedited review are prohibited.


ISEF Rules no longer require SRC approval for E. coli K-12 experimentation; however, SSEF will continue to require SRC approval for all projects involving E. coli K-12.

Added hooves, nails and feathers to the list of tissues that DO NOT need to be treated as PHBAs.


Studies in which livestock or fish are being raised for food using standard agricultural/aquacultural production practices are allowed. The livestock or fish may be euthanized by a qualified adult for carcass evaluation.

We highly recommend you revisit resources for Fair Rules & Guidelines prior to submission of  any student forms.
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