The Intel ISEF forms constitute written documentation of what will occur, or in some cases, has already occurred, in a research project. They are designed to provide the information that is needed to review the project to ensure compliance with the Intel ISEF rules and with laws and regulations that apply to the project.

NCSEF FlowchartUse this flow chart to help determine which forms you need to complete.  Below are links to each of the forms.

For more help with forms also use the ISEF Rules Wizard.  This site walks you through the ISEF forms. When you have an idea for what you will do for your experiment, and BEFORE you do the experiment, go through this online wizard to help you see what forms you will need. Some forms need to be filled out BEFORE starting your work. You may also find out that your type of idea is not even allowed due to safety reasons. These rules are set by the ISEF international committee. 

The ISEF Rules page gives the list of rules (for ethical and safety reasons), along with links to the actual forms you’ll need.  ISEF Rules are now available in Spanish.  The forms must be completed in English but Spanish rules and guidelines are available on the ISEF web site.

Most forms should be filled out and signed BEFORE any research takes place. Only Forms 1C, 7, and the abstract are done AFTER the research. The dates of the signatures reflect when the approval or consent is given.

Form Number




Who needs to fill this form out?


Checklist for Adult Sponsor

Provided so that the adult sponsor can review what information (and therefore which forms) must be provided.

  • Check only the boxes pertaining to YOUR project
  • For #6 be sure to read through this section, check any appropriate boxes, if applicable, AND fill out and attach any additional forms required.
  • Adult sponsor signature and date required BEFORE experimentation



Student Checklist

Information form to include contact information (email addresses will be used to contact you about the status of your project), name of project, adult sponsor name and address where research took place.

  • Please fill out ALL information
  • #6 Dates of actual experimental procedure - 12-month project that occurred within the last 18 months before fair date is allowed.
  • #7 Explain where the experimental research will be conducted. Universities, research facilities, and industrial settings require Form 1C.  (Note: Pathogens may NOT be cultured at home)
  • #9 Attach a research plan



Approval Form

Signature form to sign acknowledging that all rules have been read and plan to be followed. Additionally these statements attest that each of these people (or committees) approves or consents to this project.

  • Student and parent (this is NOT to be signed by teacher or designated supervisor) must sign BEFORE the start of experiment.
  • #2 deals with Scientific Review Committee (SRC) signatures.
    • 2a is SRC approval BEFORE experimentation and is required for projects involving human participates, vertebrate animals and potentially hazardous biological agents (see forms below).
    • 2b refers to research involving the previous mentioned topics but was conducted at a regulated research institute where the institute’s board reviewed the project BEFORE experimentation. In this case the SRC does not need to review prior to experimentation but a signature is needed for competition.
  • #3 is SRC signatures before competition at the regional and state levels. ALL projects require this signature.



NCSEF Official Abstract

A summary of experimentation. This form also serves as a checklist for any additional forms that may be needed. 

Maximum of 250 words.  An abstract is written after experimentation and includes a few sentences of each area below:

a) purpose of the experiment

b) procedure

c) data collected

d) conclusions

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.



Signature Form

Each student and a parent must sign the form confirming that the project student(s) work and giving permission to display the students name and photo on the NCSEF web site.

Enter your name, project title and category.  

Sign and date in both sections.



Research Plan

This is not on a form but needs to be included with all paperwork. This is used for the SRC to assess if all ISEF rules and regulations were followed.

Your research plan is written prior to experimentation and should reflect what was actually done for your project and the details should match what is written in your abstract.

Must include:

  1. Question or problem being addressed
  2. Hypothesis/Engineering Goals
  3. Detailed description of methods or procedures

Please note that data is not to be included

Bibliography – minimal 3 for Elementary and 5 for Junior and Senior



Regulated Research Institutional/Industrial Setting

This form is completed by the supervising adult, explains what the student researcher actually did.

  • Filled out by the supervising adult at the research setting AFTER experimentation.

Research conducted at:

  • a research institution (ex. university lab)
  • an industrial setting


Qualified Scientist

On this page, the scientist explains what will be done to oversee this project.

  • The qualified scientist and, if needed, the designated supervisor*, sign with the date that they approve this project (BEFORE experimentation takes place).
* The signature of a designated supervisor is needed in addition to the qualified scientist if the qualified scientist is not directly supervising the student.

Projects involving:

  • BSL-2 biological agents
  • DEA-controlled substances
  • human participants (dependent on project) 
  • vertebrate animal studies


Risk Assessment

Important to ensure that the student understands any risks that may be involved with the project and ensures that all safety precautions were taken.

  • Filled out BEFORE experimentation by the student in collaboration with the designated supervisor/qualified scientist.

Projects using hazardous chemicals, activities or device.


 Human Subjects

This page, along with the research plan, is submitted by the student researcher to explain to the IRB how the safety and well being of the test subjects and the confidentiality of results will be ensured.

  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews the project, checks the risk level and determines if written documentation of consent/permission is required.
  • Each IRB member signs with the date they approve this project.
  • This occurs BEFORE any experimentation takes place.
  • For more explanation see Human Participants rules
  • Sample of a blank Human Informed Consent Form

Projects involving human participants (i.e. questionnaires, taking measurements, memory tests, etc)


Vertebrate Animal

To list how the animal(s) will be cared for throughout experimentation to ensure that all rules and safety precautions are followed.

  • Filled out by the student providing information regarding the care of the animal.
  • SRC reviews this document and determines the level of supervision required for the study and signs and dates BEFORE experimentation begins.
  • The bottom of the form is filled out by the veterinarian and/or designated supervisor and is signed and dated when they approve this project with these housing conditions.

Projects involving vertebrate animals when the experiment is conducted in a Non-Regulated Research Site such as home or school.


Vertebrate Animal

To list how the animal(s) will be cared for throughout the experiment to ensure that all rules and safety precautions are followed.

  • Qualified Scientist and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) will sign and date to document proper student training BEFORE experimentation.
  • Copy of IACUC approval, not a letter from qualified scientist or principal investigator, must be attached. 

Projects involving vertebrate animals when the experiment is conducted in a Regulated Research Institution.


Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents (PHBA) Risk Assessment

To list what hazards exist and the precautions being taken when working with PHBA.

  • Filled out by the student researcher
  • Qualified scientist sign and date.
  • SRC/IACUC/IBC/RAC approval required BEFORE experimentation.

Projects involving microorganisms, recombinant DNA, human or animal blood, tissue or body fluids.


Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue

Explains the source of the tissue.

  • Filled out by the student  BEFORE experimentation.
  • The Qualified Scientist or Designated Supervisor signs and dates to document the source and handling

Projects using human or vertebrate animal tissue


Continuation Projects

Documentation for a continuation project describing how it differs from the previous year.

  • Explain as completely as possible how the project is different from previous experimentation because ONLY a new and different research project is allowed.
  • The date signed is the date the student researcher is certifying that this information is correct.

Anyone conducting a continuation project.

  • If the current project is in a similar area of research as any previous project of the student or any team member.