Display Regulations

NCSEF follows the Display and Safety Regulations of the International Science and Engineering Fair.  The information below is a brief version of the ISEF rules.

General Requirements
The Intel ISEF Display and Safety Committee is the final authority on display and safety issues for projects approved by the SRC to compete in the Intel ISEF. Occasionally, the Intel ISEF Display and Safety Committee may require students to make revisions in their display to conform to display and safety regulations.

displayMaximum Size of Project
Depth (front to back): 30 inches or 76 centimeters
Width (side to side): 48 inches or 122 centimeters
Height (floor to top): 108 inches or 274 centimeters
At the NCSEF, fair-provided tables will not exceed a height of 36 inches (91 centimeters).

Maximum project sizes include all project materials, supports, and demonstrations for public and judges. If a table is used, it becomes part of the project and must not itself exceed the allowed dimensions nor may the table plus any part of the project exceed the allowed dimensions.

At the NCSEF, any project with a component that will be demonstrated by the Finalist must be demonstrated only within the confines of the Finalist’s area. When not being demonstrated, the component plus the project must not exceed allowed dimensions.

Position of Project
Table or freestanding display must be parallel to, and positioned at, the back of the table.

Required to Be Visible and Vertically Displayed at the NCSEF

  • Original of official Abstract and Certification as approved and stamped/embossed by the NCSEF Scientific Review Committee (Found in your registration packet on site at the State Level Fair) - (At regional fairs, Students will post their abstract without any certification), Abstract can be posted on the board or at the table.
  •  Completed NCSEF Project Set-up Approval Form (Received on-site at the Fair)
  • Regulated Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form (1C) — when applicable
  • Continuation Projects Form (7) — when applicable
  • Photograph / image credits

Required to Be at the Project But Not Displayed at the NCSEF

All forms required for Scientific Review Committee approval including, but not limited to the Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1), Student Checklist (1A), Research Plan, Approval Form (1B), and Human Subjects (4), do not have to be displayed as part of the project but must be available in the booth in case asked for by a judge or other NCSEF officials. In addition, the Display & Safety Committee requires a photograph/video release form signed by the human subject for visual images of humans (other than the Finalist) displayed as part of the project. These forms and any informed consents forms should not be displayed.

Handouts/Official Abstract and Certification at the NCSEF

The NCSEF Scientific Review Committee defines the “official abstract and certification” as an UNALTERED original abstract and certification as stamped/embossed by the NCSEF Scientific Review Committee. If the Scientific Review Committee requires a Finalist to make changes to the abstract and certification submitted with registration papers, the revised version will be stamped/embossed, will replace the earlier version, and will become the Finalist’s official abstract and certification.

The only abstract allowed anywhere at a project is the official abstract. The term “abstract” may not be used as a title or reference for any information on a Finalist’s display or in a Finalist’s materials at the project except as part of displaying the official abstract.

An original stamped/embossed official abstract and certification must appear on the display board OR in a vertical position at the project. Handouts to judges and to the public must be limited to UNALTERED photocopies of the official abstract and certification.  Local and Regional Fairs may not stamp the abstract.  At the State level, students will receive a stamped copy of their abstract in their registration packet.

Not Allowed at Project or in Booth

  1. Living organisms, including plants
  2. No soil, sand, rock, and/or waste samples EVEN IF permanently encased in a slab of acrylic

  3. Taxidermy specimens or parts
  4. Preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals
  5. Human or animal food
  6. Human/animal parts or body fluids (for example, blood, urine)
  7. Plant materials (living, dead, or preserved) that are in their raw, unprocessed, or non-manufactured state (Exception: manufactured construction materials used in building the project or display)
  8. All chemicals including water 
  9. All hazardous substances or devices [for example, poisons, drugs, firearms, weapons, ammunition, reloading devices, and lasers (as indicated in item 5 in the section of these rules entitled “Allowed at Project or in Booth BUT with the Restrictions Indicated”)]
  10. Dry ice or other sublimating solids
  11. Sharp items (for example, syringes, needles, pipettes, knives)
  12. Flames or highly flammable materials
  13. Batteries with open-top cells
  14. Awards, medals, business cards, flags, logos, endorsements, and/or acknowledgments (graphic or written) unless the item(s) are an integral part of the project (Exception: NCSEF medal(s) may be worn at all times.)
  15.  Photographs or other visual presentations depicting vertebrate animals in surgical techniques, dissections, necropsies, or other lab procedures
  16. Active Internet or e-mail connections as part of displaying or operating the project at the NCSEF
  17. Prior years’ written material or visual depictions on the vertical display board. [Exception:the project title displayed in the Finalist’s booth may mention years or which year the project is (for example, “Year Two of an Ongoing Study”)]. Continuation projects must have the Continuation Project Form (7) vertically displayed.
  18. Glass or glass objects unless deemed by the Display and Safety Committee to be an integral and necessary part of the project (Exception: glass that is an integral part of a commercial product such as a computer screen)
  19. Any apparatus deemed unsafe by the Scientific Review Committee, the Display and Safety Committee, or Society for Science & the Public (for example, large vacuum tubes or dangerous ray-generating devices, empty tanks that previously contained combustible liquids or gases, pressurized tanks, etc.)

Allowed at Project BUT with the Restrictions Indicated

  1. Postal addresses, World Wide Web and e-mail addresses, telephone and fax numbers of Finalist only
  2. Photographs and/or visual depictions if:
    1. They are not deemed offensive or inappropriate by the Scientific Review Committee, the Display and Safety Committee, or Society for Science & the Public. This includes, but is not limited to, visually offensive photographs or visual depictions of invertebrate or vertebrate animals, including humans. The decision by any one of the groups mentioned above is final.
    2. They have credit lines of origin (“Photograph taken by...” or “Image taken from...”). (If all photographs being displayed were taken by the Finalist or are from the same source, one credit line prominently and vertically displayed is sufficient.)
    3. They are from the Internet, magazines, newspapers, journals, etc., and credit lines are attached. (If all photographs/images are from the same source, one credit prominently and vertically displayed is sufficient.)
    4. They are photographs or visual depictions of the Finalist.
    5. hey are photographs of human subjects for which signed consent forms are at the project or in the booth.
  3. Any apparatus with unshielded belts, pulleys, chains, or moving parts with tension or pinch points if for display only and not operated.
  4. Any demonstration for judges or the public must be performed within the maximum size of the project permitted, an area 30”(Depth) by 48”(Width) by 108” (Height)
  5. Class II lasers if:
    1. The output energy is <1 mW and is operated only by the Finalist
    2. Operated only during the Display and Safety inspection and during judging
    3. Labeled with a sign reading “Laser Radiation: Do Not Look into Beam
    4. Enclosed in protective housing that prevents physical and visual access to beam
    5. Disconnected when not operating
      Note: Class II lasers are found in laser pointers and in aiming and range-finding devices. They pose a risk if the beam is directly viewed over a long period of time.
  6. Class III and IV lasers if for display only and not operated (See the description of Class III and Class IV lasers in the Radiation section of the Hazardous Chemicals, Activities, or Devices, p. 27.)
  7. Any apparatus producing temperatures that will cause physical burns if adequately insulated
  8. The only items that may be displayed on the front of the provided tables are the forms listed in the section of these rules entitled “Required to be Visible and Vertically Displayed at the NCSEF”

Electrical Regulations at the NCSEF

  1. Finalists requiring 120 or 220 Volt A.C. electrical circuits must provide a UL-listed 3-wire extension cord which is appropriate for the load and equipment.
  2. Electrical power supplied to projects and, therefore, the maximums allowed for projects is 120 or 220 Volt, A.C., single phase, 60 cycle. Maximum circuit amperage/wattage available is determined by the electrical circuit capacities of the exhibit hall and may be adjusted on- site by the Display and Safety Committee. For all electrical regulations, “120 Volt A.C.” or “220 Volt A.C.” is intended to encompass the corresponding range of voltage as supplied by the facility in which the NCSEF is being held.
  3. All electrical work must conform to the National Electrical Code.
  4. All electrical connectors, wiring, switches, extension cords, fuses, etc. must be UL-listed and must be appropriate for the load and equipment. Connections must be soldered or made with UL-listed connectors. Wiring, switches, and metal parts must have adequate insulation and over-current safety devices (such as fuses) and must be inaccessible to anyone other than the Finalist. Exposed electrical equipment or metal that possibly may be energized must be shielded with a non-conducting material or with a grounded metal box to prevent accidental contact.
  5. Wiring not part of a commercially available UL-listed appliance or piece of equipment must have a clearly visible fuse or circuit breaker on the supply side of the power source and prior to any project equipment.
  6. There must be an accessible, clearly visible on/off switch or other means of disconnect from the 120 or 220 Volt power source.
  7. Any lighting that generates considerable and excessive amounts of heat (high-intensity lamps, halogen lights, etc.) must be turned off when the Finalist is not present.

Other NCSEF Information and Requirements

  1. Finalists must be present at their projects for the Display and Safety inspection. The inspection is a process that takes place between the Finalist and inspector; therefore, no other persons should be present representing the Finalist except for an interpreter if necessary.
  2. No changes, modifications, or additions to projects may be made after approval by the Display and Safety Committee and the Scientific Review Committee.
  3. The NC Science and Engineering Fair, the Scientific Review Committee, and/or the Display and Safety Committee reserve the right to remove any project for safety reasons or to protect the integrity of the NCSEF and its rules and regulations.
  4. A project data book and research paper are not required but are highly recommended.
  5. Display of photographs other than that of the finalist must have a photo release signed by the subject, and if under 18 years of age, also by the guardian of the subject. Sample consent text: “I consent to the use of visual images (photos, videos, etc.) involving my participation/my child’s participation in this research.”
  6. Finalists using audio-visual or multi-media presentations (for example, 35mm slides; videotapes; images, graphics, animations, etc., displayed on computer monitors; or other non- print presentation methods) must be prepared to show the entire presentation to the Display and Safety inspectors before the project is approved.
  7. If a project fails to qualify and is not removed by the Finalist, the NC Science and Engineering Fair will remove the project in the safest manner possible but is not responsible for damage to the project.
  8. Any disks, CDs, printed materials, etc. (including unofficial abstracts) designed to be distributed to judges or the public will be confiscated by the Display and Safety Committee and will be discarded immediately.
  9. Project sounds, lights, odors, or any other display items must not be distracting.
  10. No food or drinks, except small containers of bottled water for personal consumption, are allowed in the Exhibit Rooms.