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All student exhibitors must adhere to the following requirements and regulations in order to participate in the GSDSEF. Affiliated fairs, such as ISEF may have additional requirements or restrictions. Knowledge of display, size and safety requirements is the responsibility of the student exhibitors and their adult sponsors. Projects displays and accompanying items are subject to Size and Safety Check approval before entering the judging hall for set-up.


A. Display Requirements:

1) Size of Project Display Board is not to exceed:

     a) Depth (front to back): 30 inches or 76 centimeters

     b) Width (side to side): 48 inches or 122 centimeters

     c) Height (table to top of board): 77 inches or 195 centimeters. Height from floor: 108 inches or 274 centimeters

     d) Display boards may be free-standing on the floor, but may not exceed 108 inches or 274 centimeter. 

     e) Displays that require floor space rather than a table will need pre-approval at least one month before Fair Week (by February 10th). Go to Contact Us with your request.


NOTE: A standard tri-fold display board is 36 in (height) X 48 in (width) X 12 in (depth). Two display boards attached on top meet the maximum display size. Adding an additional piece for project title that goes above the top of the board exceeds the maximum display size requirement.


2) Additional Free-standing Items with Display Board:

     a) Project Notebook - bring on check-in day as judges arrive early on Judging Day to review project notebooks, must be attached to display board with string, chain, etc.

     b) Models and/or prototypes - must go through Size and Safety Check before entry into judging hall on check-in day. See Display Safety Regulations and Requirements for additional rules.

     c) ALL project materials, apparatus, engineering prototypes must fit within the project table booth space. 

     d) Additional items/posters that are only meant to enhance visual display and are not part of the actual research project or the model/prototype are discouraged and may rejected during the Size and Safety Check on check-in day. 

     e) Items attached to the board must follow the Safety Regulations (see below).


3) Photos and Images and Citation Display Requirements

     a)  Must not show offensive or inappropriate images (especially showing vertebrate or invertebrates in surgical, dissecting, etc. situations).

     b) All images MUST be properly cited. This includes background research photos, images off the internet or from books. The URL/website or book citation must be included with each photo/image/etc. on the display board. Examples of citations/credit lines: "Photo taken by ...", "Image taken from ...", "Graph/Chart/Table taken from/created by..."). Citations may be in small font, however no smaller than size 9). If ALL images were created by the student researcher(s) or are from one source, one credit line prominently displayed is sufficient. 

     c) Photos of student researcher(s) or visual depictions of others need a signed consent form, but are not kept with the display. A sample consent form: "I consent to the use of visual images (photos, video, etc.) involving my participation/my child's participation in this research...".

     d) Presentations, videos, or images that will be displayed on laptops or phones, may require inspection and/or approval during the Size and Safety Check on Check-in and Set-Up Day. After inspections and approvals, these may not be altered.

NOTE: To address privacy concerns, it is the GSDSEF policy to not allow photos/visual images of student human participants with faces showing displayed on the board. However, student researcher(s) and adults may have visual images displayed as long as consent forms are signed. These forms are not to remain with the display, but should be available for inspection if requested during Check-In and Set-Up Day.


B. Items and Materials NOT Allowed on Display or at Project Booth:

1) Information on the project display or items that are acknowledgements, self-promotions or external endorsements:

     a) Logos, including known commercial brands, international crests, trademarks, flags. etc. (unless integral to the project/research).

     b) Personalized graphics/logos developed to indicate a commercial purpose, or for an established or proposed business associated with the project, including non-profit status. Note: Exception - one student-created logo may be displayed once (again, not personal business, self-promotion, or commercial related).

     c) Any reference to an institution or mentor who supported the student researcher(s) project, except as required on GSDSEF Forms. References may be listed in the Project Notebook appendix.

     d) Any reference to patent status of project.

     e) Any items intended for distributions, such as disks/CDs, brochures, booklets, business cards, etc, that promote the project research, student researcher(s), research institution. or organization that supported the student researcher(s).


2) Any awards or medals from previous fairs.


3) Personal postal addresses, URLs, email, social media addresses, QR codes, or telephone numbers.

NOTE: The only personal information allowed is student name, school, and county on the back of the display board. Student exhibitor(s) age or grade level should NOT be indicated or displayed.


4) Human Participant Forms and Surveys: response forms, questionnaires, surveys,  consent forms, etc. are NOT to be included in the Project Notebook, with display or in the exhibit hall. Names of participants (even if only first names) may not be used on the board or with display. A blank sample questionnaire/survey/consent form should be included in the project display/notebook. 


5) Continuation of Projects/Research Progression of Projects:

     a) Display board and abstract must reflect current year research only. No raw data/charts/graphs from previous years may be included on the display board. If the project is a longitudinal study, the display board can be based on collective past conclusionary data and its comparison to the current year data set, however, previous year's data is not displayed on the project board.    

     b) Project Title may note Year 2, Year 3, etc. 

     c) Previous year's databooks, research papers and supporting documents may be at the booth, but must be labeled as such and separate from current year's research.


C. Safety Regulations - Items Prohibited on Project Display or Booth 

In the case where projects includes an item that is prohibited, consider using photographs and/or documenting the significance of the prohibited item through video.

1) Glitter or any other items that can cause a mess in the Judging Hall floor.

2) Living organisms, including plants

3) Glass or glass objects (unless the Size and Safety Committee deems the glass is an integral part of a display, such as computer screen

4) Soil, sand, rock, cement and/or waste samples, even if permanently encased in acrylic or sealed. These may not be glued to the display board in the form of decoration or as examples. Tape covering the sand or dirt on a display board will no longer be accepted.

5) Taxidermy specimens or parts

6) Human and animal food of any type

7) Human and animal parts or fluids (for example, teeth, blood, urine, hair)

8) Preserved vertebrate or invertebrate parts or specimens

9) Plant materials (living, dead, or preserved) that are in the raw, unprocessed, or non-manufactured state

10) Any liquid or chemical, including water.

11) All hazardous substances or devices (examples include, but are not limited to, poisons, drugs,  firearms, weapons, ammunition, reloading devices, grease/oil, or sublimating solids such as dry ice)

12) Items that may have come in contact with hazardous materials or chemicals. Filters (including microbial) may not be displayed unless the Size and Safety Committee can reasonably determine that the device was cleaned or never used. 

13) Sharp items (for example, needles, syringes, pipettes, knives) 

14) Flames, highly flammable materials, as well as heating elements such as burners or hot plates

15) Batteries with open-top cells or wet cells

16) Drones or any flight-capable apparatus unless propulsion power source removed

17) 3D printers unless power source is removed

18) Inadequately insulated apparatus capable  of producing dangerous temperatures

19) Any apparatus with belts, pulleys, chains, or moving parts with tension or pinch points that are not properly shielded

20) To avoid defacement or cause potential harm to young children do not leave or use items that can be easily removed. These items can include, but are not limited to fake flowers, food wrappers, cotton balls, confetti, small electronic pieces, etc.


Please Note: Judges want to see the science/engineering aspects in the form of photos and charts/tables/graphs rather than decorations that may distract attention from the student research.