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BEFORE starting a project there are few things you should know or do first.


The GSDSEF Management Committee reserves the right to reject projects as unsafe/unsuitable for display. 

NEW!!! To comply with 2019-2020 California Science and Engineering Fair and the International Science and Engineering Fair Guidelines, the GSDSEF is requiring the following:


  • Starting in 2019-20, ALL students must complete the SRC Pre-Approval Form (done online), submit with a Signature page (fillable pdf that must be uploaded) and receive SRC approval prior to starting experimentation. If Certification Forms are required, they must be submitted at the same time to receive SRC approval.
  • After submission of the SRC Pre-Approval Forms and Signature Page, and any necessary Certification Forms, all students must receive approval from the GSDSEF SRC prior to starting experimentation.  
  • Teachers should ensure that their students obtain the necessary signatures and submit the SRC Pre-Approval form, and any necessary Certification Forms by mid-November. Students may begin with their projects only after receiving SRC approval. 




Read and understand the (updated 2019-2020) Ethics Statement, 2019 - 2020 GSDSEF and ISEF RULES AND REGULATIONS booklet and the Roles and Responsibilities of Students and Adults (in process of being updated for 2019-2020). Also make sure you follow all deadlines.

Ethics Statement



Decide on a Science, Engineering, Computer Science, or Math project. Look at the guidelines to help you decide and check out the Category Descriptions to determine what type of project you would like to do.



A) Establish an account under the Student tab - Register. If you have already created an account, there is no need to create another account. You will only need to update any information, such as grade level, school, teacher/advisor, etc. 

An individual email account is required that is able to receive email notifications from the GSDSEF. Please check with your teacher/advisor if you are using an internal school email account. Please do not use the same email address for multiple students.

B) Download the fillable pdf SRC Pre-Approval Signature page, enter the names, and gather signatures (must be signatures in ink, not electronic). This page will need to be scanned and saved in order to be uploaded in Step 3C.


If any certification forms are needed for your project, please download, complete, and get the necessary signatures. (Scan and save to your computer in order to be uploaded in Step 3C.



 -- For Human Subjects projects, an IRB (Institutional Review Board approvals may be required. Please refer to the ISEF Rules and Guidelines for any necessary/required approvals.

An informed consent/assent/permission form can be developed in consultation with the Teacher/Advisor, Designated Supervisor, or Qualified Scientist. This form is used to provide information to the research participant (and parent/guardian if participant is under 18) and to document an informed consent (and parent permission as necessary). Below are two examples of a Human Informed Consent Form that can be used or modified, as needed:


-- For those working on a continuation/progression in the same field of study as a previous project, complete the following form:


C) Attach the completed Signature Page to the online SRC GSDSEF Pre-Approval Form. Attach any necessary completed Certification and other forms. Submit. 

Do not start with your project until you have received SRC approval. Depending on the project, you will get approved or be asked to provide further forms.  


If you have questions whether your proposed project is acceptable or to clarify any safety concerns, please contact the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) by clicking on the CONTACT US at the bottom of this page and RE: Scientific Review Committee in subject line.



Begin and work on your project. Again, make sure you have all approvals and necessary forms signed before you begin your project!

To help you produce a high quality and successful project, check out the Resources webpage or sign up for a  Workshop.

Use the following resource developed by Wendy Gay as you work through your project.



After you have participated in your school or district’s science fair and have been encouraged to apply to the GSDSEF, your project will need to go through the Screening Process. Please go to Screening Information for more about the screening process and guidelines.

You will need to submit your project for screening on-line.  For your school deadlines, please see Screening Deadlines. To find out about the screening process, guidelines, and requirements, please go to Screening Information.

Make sure you have clicked on SUBMIT at the bottom of your account page to send your project in for screening. 

-- For those working in a regulated research institution, industrial setting, or any work site other than home, school, or field: Fill out the Regulated Research Institution Form below: (must be completed by after project is completed by the Adult Supervisor in the Research Institute and be submitted online at time of Screening by the student researcher).



Complete application process and pay fees, if accepted to apply to the GSDSEF.

To check to see if your project has been accepted into the GSDSEF, students must log in in to their GSDSEF  account and view Project Status.

If your project has been "Accepted" or "Recommended" to participate in the GSDSEF, you will see a link/button to continue with the application process. Fee Payment must be submitted and received by the Application deadline in order to complete the entire Application process. Otherwise the application is considered an incomplete submission and is not received by the GSDSEF. 

Note: If you are a team project, each member submits his/her own separate application and fee payment.

If you received an "Accepted with Modifications," you must resubmit your project with improvements based on the screener's comments in order to be go through the Application process.

*** Screeners often include helpful advice for students to improve their projects. Before the GSDSEF Science Fair Week, you still have time to improve your project before judging by considering their comments even if you have been accepted to participate.


NOTE: It is the student's responsibility to check his/her own project status by logging in his/her account to view status of his/her project, complete the online application, and submit payment before the application deadline. 
Please make sure ALL steps of the application process has been completed and the fee payment has been submitted. Applications with no fee payment are incomplete are not received by the GSDSEF.



Click here for information on Science Week