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:
STEP 1: READ THE RULES
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.
- 2021-2022 ISEF Rules and Guidelines (PDF version)
- 2021-2022 GSDSEF Rules
- Roles and Responsibilities of Students and Adults
- Ethics Statement
Also make sure you follow all GSDSEF deadlines found on the Schedule page.
STEP 2: DECIDE ON A PROJECT
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.
STEP 3: GSDSEF SIGNATURE PAGE
MS projects requiring Certification Forms (STEP 4) and all HS students-- must complete the GSDSEF Signature Page and receive approval through GSDSEF SRC BEFORE starting with experimentation.
MS projects not requiring a Certification-- We strongly recommend that every student completes the GSDSEF Signature Page before starting. However, MS students NOT requiring a Certification Form may start immediately and will go through SRC Approval in January/February.
Download the fillable pdf GSDSEF Signature Page, enter the names, and gather signatures (signatures can be in ink or electronic). This page will need to be scanned and/or saved in order to be uploaded in Step 6.
Note: Each Team Member must submit the needed forms for SRC Pre-Approval. Make sure your teacher/advisor receives a completed copy.
STEP 4: DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR PROJECT NEEDS A CERTIFICATION FORM/Special Form
A) Determine which, if any, Certification Forms are required for GSDSEF SRC Pre-Approval. For many projects, Certification Forms may not be necessary; however, depending on your project, Certification Forms and additional forms may be necessary.
- MS projects requiring Certification Forms and all HS projects must go through SRC Pre-Approval BEFORE starting experimentation.
- MS projects NOT requiring a Certification Form may start immediately with their projects. SRC Approval will be completed in January/February.
For specific information about which Certification Form to use, consult Table 4B below and/or view the Video:
B) Which Certification Forms/Approvals may be Needed for SRC Pre-Approval BEFORE the project can begin?
If you answer YES to any question in the left column, you will need the Certification Forms in that row and possibly the Additional Forms and must go through SRC Pre-Approval BEFORE experimentation begins.
IF YOUR Project…
Read the Rules and Guidelines/How to Complete Certifications for …
Then Complete and Submit Required Forms
Additional Forms as necessary based on Rules and Guidelines
…is a continuation or progression of a previous project
Continuation of Previous Project Form 2021-2022 (Note: GSDSEF uses the ISEF Form 7)
…involves live vertebrate animals
IACUC from the RRI
…involves human participants
A copy of a Human Informed Consent Form. See below for Samples of a Human Informed Consent Form.
If a survey or questionnaire is used, include a copy of the Survey/Questionnaire.
IRB Approval from RRI
…involves hazardous materials, activities, or devices
STEP 5: SET UP YOUR GSDSEF ACCOUNT-- READ VERY CAREFULLY
A) Middle School Students
1) If your project does require Certification Forms, go to C) and D) below, and then STEPS 6 and 7 BEFORE starting your project. You must receive SRC Pre-Approval BEFORE starting.
2) If your project does not require Certification Forms, you may start immediately with your project. IN JANUARY go through 5 C) and 5 D) and STEP 6 below. You will make your Account in January and go through SRC and Screening--all in January/February.
B) ALL High School Students
1) Go to C) and D) below, and then STEP 6 and 7 BEFORE starting your project. You must receive SRC Pre-Approval BEFORE starting.
C) Your Teacher/Advisor must establish an account first at gsdsef.org-->Teacher-->Register. Only if a teacher is not available should a Designated Supervisor or another Adult Sponsor register an account.
D) To establish a student Account: Go to gsdsef.org-->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.
STEP 6: SUBMIT THE SRC PRE-APPROVAL FORM WITH ANY NECESSARY ATTACHED CERTIFICATION/SPECIAL FORMS
A) Log in to your GSDSEF account and click on "My Projects." Then click on red oval with the correct year. This will take you to the SRC Pre-Approval Form directly.
B) Fill in information on the SRC Pre-Approval online Form.
C) Attach the completed GSDSEF Signature Page and any necessary completed Certification(s) and other forms to the online SRC GSDSEF Pre-Approval Form.
D) Submit the SRC Pre-Approval Form with any attached Forms. There are two options:
1) If you NOT finished filling in information-- Click on DRAFT, then SAVE.
2) If you are finished filling in information-- Click on SUBMIT, then SAVE.
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.
STEP 7: WORK ON YOUR PROJECT
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.
AFTER COMPLETING YOUR PROJECT:
STEP 8: THE SCREENING PROCESS
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.
Link to Video: How to Create and Submit a Screening Slide Deck 2022 COMING SOON!!!
Screening Resources for Students
Digital Project Slidedeck Template--available from your teacher
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 Project is Done
Submit Required Forms
If a Regulated Research Institute (RRI) was used during the project
If Live Vertebrate Animals were used in the project at an RRI
C) To properly submit projects for screening, students must
Go to gsdsef.org and log in to their account.
Go to the My Projects tab and click the Edit button.
Upload their pdf Slidedeck.
Change their project status at the bottom of the page from Project: Draft ---> Project: Submitted.
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.
STEP 9: THE GSDSEF APPLICATION PROCESS
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.
STEP 10: SCIENCE FAIR WEEK
Click here for information on Science Week