Forming a Local SRC/IRB Committee

When must student research be locally reviewed?


However, many research projects can often be reviewed by the adult sponsor or classroom teacher without the need for a local review panel. This must be done prior to the commencement of research.

When must an appointed panel review student research?
All research projects involving human subjects (including surveys), vertebrate animals, potentionally hazardous biological agents, and controlled substances requires review panel approval.

When should a local school district begin to organize a review panel?


Each September or October, local school districts should officially appoint a panel to review and approve student research projects that require prior approval.

What is this review panel called?

Actually, there are two types of review panels, the SRC and the IRB.

A local school or school district can combine both the SRC and IRB into one review panel as long as all prerequisites for both panels are met.

Scientific Review Committee (SRC)

A general review panel, the Scientific Review Committee (SRC), examines projects for the following:

  • evidence of literature search
  • evidence of proper supervision
  • use of accepted and appropriate research techniques
  • completed forms, signature, and dates showing a maximum of a one-year duration of research and appropriate pre-approval dates (when needed)
  • evidence of search for alternatives to animal use
  • humane treatment of animals
  • compliance with rules and laws governing human and animal research
  • compliance with rules regarding potentionally hazardous biological agents, controlled substances, and hazardous substances and devices
  • documentation of substantial expansion for continuation projects
  • compliance with the ISEF ethics statement

The Fair's Regional Science Review Committee will eventually review all projects entered in the Greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair and Science Congress, but all projects that require prior approval must be reviewed by the school district's review panel.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

A second review panel, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee that, according to federal law, must evaluate the potential physical or psychological risk of research involving human subjects. All proposed human research must be reviewed and approved prior to experimentation. This includes the research plan as well as any questionnaires or surveys to be used in the project.

Who should serve on a local SRC/IRB Panel?

In order to combine both review panels, there must be a minimum of four persons who serve on the local SRC/IRB Committee.

  • a biomedical scientist (Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., or D.O)
  • a science teacher (the teacher supervising the student may not serve on the panel)
  • a school administrator
  • and one of the following:
    • medical doctor
    • physician's assistant
    • registered nurse
    • psychiatrist
    • psychologist
    • licensed social worker

If the project involves human behavior, a psychologist, psychiatrist, or individual with human behavioral training must serve on the panel. If students are using non-human vertebrate animals, then a veterinarian or an individual with training in animal care should serve on the panel (See ISEF rules, p.17, rule 10).

What is Registration Form B?

All projects that require prior approval must submit Form B when registering for the Fair.

Where can I get help? Where do I start? How do I get more information?

If a sponsor teacher needs help forming a local SRC/IRB, you can call Len Behr at (518) 672-5516, e-mail

You can also download the SRC Powerpoint