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Read through all the STEPS BEFORE starting your project:


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

To comply with the California Science and Engineering Fair and the International Science and Engineering Fair Guidelines, the GSDSEF is requiring the following:



The GSDSEF follows the rules and guidelines set by the International Science and Engineering Fair. The GSDSEF has set additional guidelines to protect the safety of participants in addition to the ISEF Rules and Guidelines.


Also make sure you follow all GSDSEF deadlines found on the Schedule page.



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.

GSDSEF Categories and Descriptions (updated September 2021)



STEP 3: Set up Teacher and Student accounts--

Teacher Accounts:  Go to:> Teachers-->Register.  For teachers with previous accounts-- all you need to do is log in to your teacher account to reactivate it.  Only if a teacher is not available should a Designated Supervisor or another Adult Sponsor register an account.

Student Accounts: Go to>Students-->Register.  If you have already created an account in a previous year, 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.

NOTE: If you are working as a Team, both members must create their own accounts.

MS projects requiring Additional Forms (STEP 4) and all HS students-- Complete the GSDSEF Project Information/SRC Approval Form--and receive approval--BEFORE starting with experimentation.

MS projects not requiring ADDITIONAL Forms--  MS students NOT requiring Additional Forms may start immediately and will go through SRC Approval in January/February. 





A) Determine which, if any,  ADDITIONAL Forms are required for GSDSEF SRC Approval. For many projects, ADDITIONAL Forms may not be necessary; for specific information about which Additional Form(s) to use, consult Table 4B below. 

MS projects requiring Additional Forms and all HS projects must go through SRC Approval BEFORE starting experimentation.

 MS projects NOT requiring Additional Forms may start immediately with their projects. SRC Approval will be completed in January/February.  


B) Which ISEF Forms/Approvals may be Needed for SRC Approval BEFORE the project can begin?

If you answer YES to any question in the left column, you will need the REQUIRED Additional Forms in that row and possibly the ACCESSORY Forms. You must go through SRC Approval BEFORE experimentation begins. Use the videos below to help you fill out the required information on the ISEF forms. 







Link to Video:  How to determine if your project needs additional forms 


Link to Video: Form 3: Risk Assessment

Link to Video: Form 4-Human Participants

Link to Video: Forms 5a and 5b- Vertebrate Animals

Link to Video: Forms 6a and 6b- Potentially Hazardous Biological Organisms and Tissues



Table 4B:

IF YOUR Project…

Read the Rules and Guidelines

Then Complete and Submit REQUIRED Forms

ACCESSORY Forms as necessary based on Rules and Guidelines

Takes place at a Regulated Research Institution


ISEF Form 1C: Regulated Research/Industrial Setting 

Completed AFTER Research


...Requires mentoring from a professional scientist/engineer



ISEF Form 2: Qualified Scientist 


…Involves hazards of any sort--biological and/or non-biological

How to complete the Risk Assessment Form

For Physical, Chemical, or Biological Hazards:

ISEF Form 3: Risk Assessment 



Qualified Scientist Form 2

ISEF Form 1C: Regulated Research/Industrial Setting 

For Biological Hazards--

Form 6A: Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Form


Form 6B: Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form

...Involves Human Participants

Experiments with people in any way (this includes surveys, testing of a student designed invention, prototype or concept by a human)

How to complete the Human Participants Form

ISEF Form 4: Human Participants


ISEF Form:  Sample Informed Consent Statement

If a self-produced survey or questionnaire is used, include a copy of the Survey/Questionnaire. 

Qualified Scientist Form 2

ISEF Form 1C: Regulated Research/Industrial Setting 

If Research Conducted at RRI--Institutional Review Board Approval Letter

ISEF Form 3: Risk Assessment 


...Involves live vertebrate animals

    How to complete the Vertebrate Animal Form

    ISEF Form 5A: Vertebrate Animal Form (For research at school, home, or field site)


    ISEF Form 5B: Vertebrate Animal Form (For research at a Regulated Research Institution) --5B Completed AFTER Research


    ISEF Form 2: Qualified Scientist

    ISEF Form 3: Risk Assessment 

    If Research conducted an RRI:

    Institutional Animal Care and  Use Committee Approval Letter

    ISEF Form 1C: Regulated Research/Industrial Setting 

    ...Involves Biological Hazards

    ISEF Form 3: Risk Assessment

    ISEF Form 6A: Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Form


    ISEF Form 6B: Human and Vertebrate Tissue Form

    ISEF Form 2: Qualified Scientist

    ISEF Form 1C: Regulated Research/Industrial Setting 

    …is a continuation or progression of a previous project  

    ISEF Form 7: Continuation Projects Form





    For MS students REQUIRING ISEF Forms and ALL HS students before they start: 

    1.  Students and teachers need to have up to date accounts with the GSDSEF. If teachers already have an account, just log in.

    2. Students log in to GSDSEF account, click on My Projects, and then the red 2024 Science Fair oval. 

    3. Students click on/fill in all information in the SRC Approval Form. 

    4. Students must review with you whether or not they need additional ISEF forms.  Information can be found at>Students-->How to Participate--> Table 4b. Completed ISEF forms must be attached. 


    a) Parent signs form digitally. 

    b) Student signs form digitally.  

    c) Student sends the form to the teacher to be signed digitally.  

    d)  Teacher reviews project---Click on Project Title. 

    e)  To sign the GSDSEF SRC Page-- Teacher clicks on Edit at top of the View page.  The signature box will appear. 

    f)  Once signed, the teacher clicks on submit and the form goes to the GSDSEF SRC for approval. 

    The project will be reviewed by the GSDSEF SRC and the student will receive approval or request for forms/modifications before approval is given to start. 

    MS students requiring Certification Forms and ALL HS Students--Do not start with your project until you have received SRC approval. Depending on the project, you will get approved, be asked to make modifications, or be asked to provide further forms.  

    MS students NOT requiring Certification Forms-- You may start with your project immediately and you will go through SRC Approval in January/February.. 

    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.


    A) Begin and work on your project.

    1) All HS students and MS students with Certifications-- Make sure you have all necessary forms signed, submitted, and approved by the GSDSEF SRC  before you begin your project!

    2) MS students without Certifications--Begin now.  SRC and Screening happen in January/February.

    B) To help you produce a high quality and successful project, check out the Resources webpage or sign up for a  Workshop.  Use the newly revised GSDSEF  Sample Student Science Fair Notebook that has a description, directions and sample for each section as a template to put together your own notebook. It also includes a checklist and timeline to ensure each section is completed.

    C) Create a project display board

    For project display board size and safety requirements and examples, go to Project Display Requirements.  





    A) After you have made an account, and been approved through SRC, your project will need to go through the Screening Process. During Screening, qualified scientists, engineers, and teachers review each project to determine if correct scientific and engineering practices have been followed.To find out about the screening process, guidelines, and requirements, you can read below and go to Screening Information.

    For screening deadlines, please see Screening Deadlines.

    You will need to submit a digital summary of your project for screening on-line by creating a slide deck. 



     Screening Resources for Students

    Digital Project Slidedeck Template--available from your teacher


    Click here for Screening deadlines. For other important dates, check the Schedule page.


    B) Additional Forms may be required after the project is completed. See ISEF Rules and Regulations in STEP 1 above to determine if these additional forms need to be completed by the Qualified Scientist and submitted by the student.  After completion of the project send these forms to:

    After Project is Done

    Send these forms to

    If a Regulated Research Institute (RRI) was used during the project

    ISEF Form 1C—Regulated Research Institution Setting Form

    If Live Vertebrate Animals were used in the project at an RRI

    ISEF Form 5B- Vertebrate Animals


    C) To properly submit projects for screening, students must
    1. Go to and log in to their account.     
    2. Go to the My Projects tab and click the Edit button.       
    3. Upload their pdf Slidedeck.             
    4. Change their project status at the bottom of the page from Project: Draft ---> Project: Submitted.     
    5. Click on SUBMIT at the bottom of the account page. Projects that remain in DRAFT form are not submitted to the screening process and can not be reviewed by the screeners.

    D) Screening Results:

    1) 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.

    2) If you received an "Resubmit with Modifications," you must resubmit your project with improvements based on the screener's comments and be approved in order to advance to the Application process. 

    3) If you received a "NOT accepted" we encourage you to read the Screener's comments and try again next year. 



    A) After you are accepted through Screening to apply to the GSDSEF--Complete  the application process and pay fees.

    To check to see if your project has been accepted into the GSDSEF, students must log 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. You must see the words, 'Payment received. See you at the Fair' to be completely registered.  Otherwise the application is considered an incomplete submission and you are NOT registered to participate. 

    B) Manner of Payment

    1) All individual payments must be done with a credit card.

    2) School PO's-- If a school or school district is paying for the students to participate in the GSDSEF, the teacher or school official must contact the GSDSEF Fair Director to approve the PO and receive a code for students to complete the payment process. 

    3) If an individual is unable to pay via electronic methods, please Contact Us within 3 days of receiving notification of being recommended to the GSDSEF for alternative payment method directions

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


    *** 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 have been completed and the fee payment has been submitted. Applications with no fee payment are incomplete and are NOT registered to participate.  



    Click here for information on Science Week