Regulations for Students Participating in the CT STEM Fair

The Connecticut STEM Foundation, Inc. (CT STEM) sponsors the CT STEM Fair (the Fair) each year in February.  The Fair is open to all students enrolled in Connecticut high schools who are interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  Students participating in the CT STEM Fair may be selected to participate in the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF). The following regulations are intended to conform to CSEF requirements.

In addition to Completed Projects, students are permitted to submit Research Proposals for judging at the CT STEM Fair. Students who submit Research Proposals, however, are not eligible for selection to participate in CSEF.

 

A. Ethics Statement

  1. All students who register projects with the CT STEM Fair are expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity.  
  2. All research proposed, hypotheses developed, experiments designed and/or executed, data collected, analyses performed, and conclusions reached are to be the student’s own. Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. This includes plagiarism, forgery, use or presentation of other researcher’s work as one’s own and fabrication of data. 
  3. CT STEM aims to promote and to encourage scientific collaboration, mentorship, and advisement opportunities between students and practicing scientists and engineers. However, advisors should be careful to limit their assistance and involvement to instruction of required background theory or experimental techniques, and providing critical feedback to student generated ideas, hypotheses, data, analyses, and conclusions. 
  4. All Fair participants are required to abide by this Ethics Statement and recognize that failure to abide by this Ethics Statement may result in disqualification from the Fair and possible exclusion from future Fairs.
  5. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition in affiliated fairs. CT STEM reserves the right to revoke recognition of a project subsequently found to have been fraudulent.

B. Eligibility/Limitations

  1. The CT STEM Fair may send to CSEF the number of Completed Projects provided by their affiliation agreements.
  2. All student participants must meet both of the following:
    • be in grades 9-12 or equivalent; and
    • not have reached age 20 on or before February 1 preceding the CT STEM Fair.
  3. Each student is only allowed to enter one Completed Project or Research Proposal (Exhibit.) Exhibits must represent original work done by the student(s). Students will be judged only on research completed since the last CT STEM Fair and conducted over a maximum period of 12 months. Display boards should show the current year’s work only. Continuing research must include previous year abstract(s) and research report(s) in a separate binder.
  4. Team Exhibits must have no more than three members. Teams presenting Completed Projects at CT STEM must be composed of members who all meet CT STEM and CSEF eligibility requirements.
  5. All sciences (physical, life, social) are represented at the CT STEM Fair.
  6. Projects that are demonstrations, ‘library’ research or informational projects, ‘explanation’ models or kit building are not appropriate for the CT STEM Fair.
  7. Projects involving firearms, including BB and pellet guns, are not allowed at the CT STEM Fair.

 

C. General Requirements 

  1. A Research Plan and other forms as specified by CSEF are required for all Completed Projects. For Completed Projects, the Research Plan must be submitted to the CT STEM Scientific Review Committee (SRC) with your registration form. Projects involving life science research and hazardous procedures require approval prior to the start of research.
  2. It is the responsibility of the student and the Adult Sponsor to evaluate the study to determine if the research will require forms and/or review and approval prior to experimentation, especially projects that include human participants, vertebrate animals, or potentially hazardous biological agents.
  3. Projects must adhere to local, state and federal laws, regulations and permitting requirements. 
  4. The use of non-animal research methods and the use of alternatives to animal research are strongly encouraged and must be explored before conducting a vertebrate animal project.
  5. Introduction or disposal of non-native and/or invasive species (e.g. insects, plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates), pathogens, toxic chemicals or foreign substances into the environment is prohibited. It is recommended that students reference their local, state or federal regulations and quarantine lists.
  6. All project exhibits must adhere to CSEF display and safety requirements.
  7. All projects must adhere to the requirements of CSEF to qualify for participation in CSEF. Knowledge of these requirements is the responsibility of the student and Adult Sponsor.

 

D. Approval and Documentation (Completed Projects) 

  1. Before experimentation begins, the SRC associated with the CT STEM Fair must review and approve projects involving human participants, vertebrate animals, and potentially hazardous biological agents. 
  2. Every student must complete the Student Checklist (1A), a Research Plan and Approval Form (1B) and review the project with the Adult Sponsor in coordination with completion by the Adult Sponsor of the  Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1).
  3. A Qualified Scientist is required for all studies involving Biosafety Lab-2 (BSL-2) potentially hazardous biological agents and DEA-controlled substances and is also required for many human participant studies and many vertebrate animal studies.
  4. After initial SRC approval (if required), any proposed changes in the Student Checklist (1A) and Research Plan must be approved before laboratory experimentation/data collection resumes.
  5. Projects which are continuations of a previous year’s work and which require SRC approval must undergo the review process with the current year proposal prior to experimentation/data collection for the current year.
  6. Any continuing project must document that the additional research is new and different. (Continuation Projects Form (7))
  7. If work was conducted in a regulated research institution, industrial setting or any work site other than home, school or field at any time during the current CSEF/ISEF project year, the Regulated Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form (1C) must be completed and displayed at the project booth.
  8. After experimentation, each student or team must submit a (maximum) 250-word, one-page abstract which summarizes the current year’s work. The abstract must describe research conducted by the student, not by the supervising adult(s).
  9. A project data book and research paper are not required, but are strongly recommended for judging purposes.
  10. All signed forms, certifications, and permits must be available for review by all CSEF and/or ISEF affiliated fair SRCs in which the student(s) participate. This review must occur after experimentation and before competition.

 

E. Approval and Documentation (Research Proposals)

  1. Research Proposals are not required to submit a Research Plan to the SRC.

 

F. CT STEM Fair Day Requirements

  1. Students must be present for project registration and all judging to be eligible for Fair awards. The only exceptions to this mandatory attendance rule are for religious observances approved by the Fair Director. 
  2. If students arrive after the scheduled Fair check-in time, they may be permitted to participate at the discretion of the Fair Director but may not be considered for awards. 
  3. Students wishing to change the category of their project must do so seven (7) days prior to the Fair Day. This includes changes from Research Proposal to Completed Project. Category changes will not be possible after February 1.
  4. Cell phones and other electronic use during judging are prohibited unless it is integral to the project display. Active Internet connections are not allowed in either case.
  5. No equipment (computers, oscilloscopes, video display terminals, playback devices, spectrographs, etc.) other than what is an integral part of a home-built apparatus will be allowed in the display during judging. No electric power will be available during judging.
  6. An abstract and research report describing the student’s work, procedures, data, results, and conclusions are required.  The report must be a clean copy. Graded reports are not permitted.
  7. All project exhibits must adhere to CSEF display and safety requirements.
  8. All projects must adhere to the requirements of CSEF to qualify for participation in CSEF. Knowledge of these requirements is the responsibility of the student and Adult Sponsor.