The Student Researcher:

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.), 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. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition in affiliated fairs and the Intel ISEF.

The Adult Sponsor:

An Adult Sponsor may be a teacher, parent, professor, and/or other professional scientist in whose lab the student is working. This individual must have a solid background in science and should have close contact with the student during the course of the project. The Adult Sponsor is responsible for working with the student to evaluate any possible risks involved in order to ensure the health and safety of the student conducting the research and the humans and/or animals involved in the study. The Adult Sponsor must review the student’s Student Checklist (1A) and Research Plan to certify that that: a) experimentation is within local, state, and Federal laws and Intel ISEF rules; b) forms are completed by other required adults; and c) criteria for the Qualified Scientist adhere to those set forth below.

The Adult Sponsor must be familiar with the regulations that govern potentially dangerous research as they apply to a specific student project. These may include chemical and equipment usage, experimental techniques, research involving human and/or vertebrate animals and cell cultures, microorganisms, or animal tissues. Regulations must be discussed with the student when completing the Research Plan. Some experiments involve procedures or materials that are regulated by state, federal or non-U.S. national laws. If not thoroughly familiar with the regulations, the Adult Sponsor should help the student enlist the aid of a Qualified Scientist.

The Qualified Scientist:

A Qualified Scientist should have earned a doctoral/ professional degree in a scientific discipline that relates to the student’s area of research. A PhD, MD, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), or a master’s degree with additional experience and expertise in the student’s area of research is acceptable when approved by a Scientific Review Committee (SRC). The Qualified Scientist must be thoroughly familiar with local, state, and federal regulations that govern the student’s area of research.

The Qualified Scientist and the Adult Sponsor may be the same person, if that person is qualified as described above. A student may work with a Qualified Scientist in a city, state or country that is not where the student resides. In this case, the student must work locally with a Designated Supervisor (see below) who has been trained in the techniques to be applied by the student.

The Designated Supervisor:

The Designated Supervisor is an adult who is directly responsible for overseeing student experimentation. The Designated Supervisor need not have an advanced degree, but must be thoroughly familiar with the student’s project, and must be trained in the student’s area of research. The Adult Sponsor may act as the Designated Supervisor.

If a student is experimenting with live vertebrates and other animals, their behavior, or their habitat is influenced by humans; the Designated Supervisor must be knowledgeable about the humane care and handling of the animals.