These are the dates and locations for NYCSEF 2019:

Preliminary Round – Sunday, March 3, 2019, at The City College of New York

Finals Round – Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at The American Museum of Natural History

Students cannot represent themselves at the Intel ISEF because the competition is a closed event. NYCSEF is an ISEF-affiliated regional fair and as such is governed by the ISEF rules and guidelines outlined for pre-college research. Top researchers from various categories are selected to represent NYC at the Intel ISEF.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) review your research proposal to determine if your protocol adheres to all the ethical rules and guidelines for student research. The general rule of thumb for NYCSEF is that the IRB reviews projects involving human subjects and the SRC reviews projects involving hazardous biological materials or chemicals, or vertebrate animals.

For questions about the IRB, the American Association for Public Opinion Research has a webpage with IRB FAQ’s for Survey Researchers. Please note that some rules on this site are different from NYCSEF. Refer to the NYCSEF Guidelines for official requirements.

If you are conducting your research at a Registered Research Institution (i.e. hospital, research lab, university, etc.) and your project involves hazardous biological agents, vertebrate animals, or human subjects, you will be required to have your protocol reviewed by the institution’s IRB or SRC before experimentation. Your mentor will be able to provide you with the proper procedures to obtain approval.

If you are conducting research at your high school and your research involves human subjects, your protocol must be approved by an IRB before experimentation (see page 8 of the NYCSEF Guidelines for detailed information about the IRB and pages 8-10 for information about human subjects). If your school does not have an IRB, your sponsoring teacher will need to establish one. Consult the NYCSEF Guidelines on page 8 for instructions on how to establish an IRB at your school or contact NYCSEF for further assistance.

If you are conducting research at your high school and your project involves working with hazardous biological agents or vertebrate animals, you must receive approval from an SRC before you begin experimentation (see page 7 of the NYCSEF Guidelines for detailed information about the SRC, pages 11-13 for information about vertebrate animals, and pages 14-17 for information about hazardous biological agents). If your school does not have an SRC, your sponsoring teacher will need to establish one. Consult the NYCSEF Guidelines (page 7) for instructions on how to establish an IRB at your school or contact NYCSEF for further assistance.

If you are using hazardous chemicals, activities or devices in your project, consult pages 18-21 of the Guidelines. You do not need SRC approval prior to experimentation, but you must conduct a risk assessment of your protocol with your mentor or another qualified adult before experimentation and document the risk assessment using the Risk Assessment Form (3).

Approval by your local IRB or SRC only gives permission for you to conduct the experiments as described in your protocol. Local IRBs or SRCs are responsible for reviewing your protocol for compliance with experimental safety and ethical procedures and supervision.

The NYCSEF SRC reviews all applications submitted for competition to ensure that projects comply with current NYCSEF ethical and experimental rules and guidelines as outlined in both the NYCSEF and ISEF Rules and Guidelines. All projects, regardless of using hazardous materials, animals, or human subjects, must be approved by the NYCSEF SRC in order to qualify for competition. The NYCSEF SRC does retain the right to override approval given by a local IRB or SRC if the project is deemed in violation of the NYCSEF or ISEF Rules and Guidelines. In such cases, qualification is determined on a case by case basis.

Every applicant must identify a teacher from their high school as a point of contact to participate in NYCSEF – this is the Sponsoring Research Teacher. Other adults associated with student research depend on their specific roles on the project. A Qualified Scientist is usually the scientist or mentor who oversees your research project. The Designated Supervisor directly oversees your work during experimentation but often is not the qualified scientist. The Adult Sponsor is responsible for ensuring that your project complies with the NYCSEF rules and guidelines for entry into the competition.

The designated supervisor, adult sponsor, and sponsoring research teacher may be the same person, IF that person is qualified as described on pages 6-7 of the NYCSEF Guidelines. However, if the qualified scientist, designated supervisor, or adult sponsor is not from your school, you will need to identify a sponsoring research or science teacher from your school to sign your application.

Yes, students can enter NYCSEF as many times as they would like, regardless of having won a previous award. Your research may build on past data and results; however, your current entry must be research conducted within a maximum of 12 months prior to the competition. Only projects using research that was previously entered and presented in past NYCSEF competitions are referred to as Continuation Projects (see page 2 of the NYCSEF Guidelines) and require the Continuation Projects Form 7 of the NYCSEF application.

Yes, you need to write a detailed project summary to submit with your application before the application deadline. The project summary must include the questions, problems and/or hypotheses being addressed in your project, a detailed description of the methods and materials being used in your project, including methods of data analysis, and a bibliography of at least five major references (see page 33 of the NYCSEF application for more details about the Research Plan).

Yes, you can either switch to an individual project this year or add new team members. You are not permitted to make changes during the research year. It would still be a continuation of the previous work requiring Form 7.

Although many student researchers are worried that calling their project a continuation will present them negatively in a judge’s eyes, this is not the case. Most professional scientific research is a continuation of some kind, either of the researcher’s own work or based on the work of other scientists.

Judges like to see exactly what you have done this year, what you learned from your previous work, how last year’s study led to this one, and how your study is related to previous findings. Additionally, the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) must review your project before you are allowed to compete to ensure that this year’s study is not just a repeat of your previous work. Completing Form 7 gives the SRC and the judges all this information to effectively evaluate your project.

To decide if your project is a continuation or a stand-alone, totally different project, it sometimes helps to ask yourself if there is anything you learned in your last study that is helping you in this study, if a question arose that led you to this study or if you will be referring to anything from the previous study. If yes, it is considered a continuation.

The start date of your project is when you begin to collect data for your experiment. The literature review and the design of your study will occur prior to your start date.

Form 1C is required for experiments or equipment used on projects in research institutions, commercial or college laboratories, government or industrial settings (i.e. machine shop, manufacturing facility), and medical facilities. The form needs to be completed by the supervising scientist AFTER you have completed your work.

Ask your supervising adult and consult the Material Safety and Data Sheet (MSDS) for the chemical(s) you plan to use. Some MSDS sheets (e.g. Flinn), rank the degree of hazard associated with a chemical. Generally a rating more than 1 should be considered hazardous. It is possible that two or more chemicals ranked 0 or 1 when mixed can react and form a hazardous chemical.

Each year, over 400 science, engineering, and industry professionals from across NYC volunteer their time as judges for the NYCSEF competition evaluating the presentation of the exhibits and the scientific or engineering processes.