Detailed Rules

All participants (grades 6-12) need to complete the four forms noted below.

Junior division participants doing any human subject work must have the new regional "Human Subjects" form.

For Senior division students (grades 9-12) other project specific forms are needed based on the Rules Wizard.

Regional Forms

  • Regional Form A (online only)
  • Press Release


  • Checklist for Adult sponsor 1
  • Student Checklist 1A

Who May Enter

Students in grades 6 through 12 may enter if attending a school in the Eastern Section of STANYS. This includes all schools, public and private, and any home-schooled students in the counties of Albany, Columbia, Greene, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington.

In special situations, the Fair may accept students from other areas. If there is no regional fair in your area, please contact the director Joan Wagner ( to see if you can participate. Out of area students will pay a higher registration fee.

Teacher and Adult Sponsors

Every student must have a teacher sponsor in the school where he/she is enrolled. Parents, guardians, friends, or any other adult mentor cannot sponsor the student to this fair.

However, any qualified adult may act as a research mentor for the student. This adult sponsor is the person who is directly involved with the student and his/her research and may be a parent. The adult sponsor is responsible for the safety of the student at all times.

Exceptions will be made for home-schooled students.


All students in the junior division must have a chaperone. A chaperone can supervise up to ten students. No chaperone can supervise more than ten students. Groups larger than ten must have more than one chaperone. The chaperone(s) must be present during setup and from lunch to closing.

Prior Approval

The following projects require SRC/IRB approval before research begins.

  • Human subjects (including surveys)

These require just IRB approval but we recommend that schools combine the SRC and IRB into one committee called the SRC/IRB Committee

  • Vertebrate animals
  • Potentially hazardous biological agents
  • rDNA technologies,
  • Human or animal fresh tissues
  • Blood
  • Body fluids
  • Controlled substances, devices, equipment
  • Chemicals (i.e. hazardous, flammable, explosive or highly toxic, carcinogens, mutagens, and all pesticides)
  • Equipment (i.e. welders, lasers, and voltage greater than 220 volts)
  • Firearms
  • Radioactive substances
  • Radiation (i.e. X-ray or nuclear, unshielded ionizing radiation of 100-400 nm wavelength)

To provide for prior approval, each school district is responsible for forming a local review panel.

Registration Forms

Please use the rules wizard at to ensure you have all the required forms.

All forms are now online and can be accessed from the left menu of this website. You can download all ISEF rules at:

Students Must Do All the Work

Sponsors may help in planning and advising, but parents, teachers, or friends may not actually design, conduct or build the project. Abuses of this rule will result in disqualification. All students are expected to be able to answer questions regarding the design and development of every phase of their projects.  

  • A student may not display a group project from a previous competition as an individual project.
  • A research project that is a new phase of a previously entered project must include a copy of the research paper and data from the previous project as well as Forms 1A and 1B. See this website for all rules:
  • All collections must bear a label describing how, where, and when they where assembled and must be protected by safety glass or screen.


Exhibits must be set up in final working order by the exhibitor at the assigned space at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on March 23th between 7:45 and 8:30 a.m. Participants will receive more specific directions two weeks before the fair.

Contents of Exhibits

Aquariums, live plants, or live animals are not acceptable.

Posters displaying research results must be anchored on a self-contained, free-standing storyboard (supplied by the student) that can be placed at your assigned station.

Telescopes mounted on tripods must be securely anchored to a wooded or plywood base not larger than 48 in (121.9 cm) by 30 in (76.2 cm) and must not protrude beyond the mounting base.

A copy of the research plan and abstract (written on the official abstract form) must be placed by the storyboard in a frame.

Special forms requiring approval from the SRC/IRB (Science Review Committee/Institutional Review Committee) must be available in a binder or folder at the exhibit.

Accomplishments, acknowledgements, affiliations (i.e. school name), addresses, phone or fax numbers, and personal photographs are not permitted. However, your name may be on the poster along with the assigned number you receive for your project.


Photographs pertaining to the project are encouraged!


Any visitor must easily and safely operate animated or push buttons exhibits. Use shields (wire, plastic, or safety glass) around any hot substances. Any exhibit using harmful, poisonous, or explosive materials, or electrical apparatus under potentially dangerous conditions will not be accepted under any circumstances.


No exhibit may exceed 48 in (121.9 cm) from side to side, 30 in (76.2 cm) from back to front, and 108 in (274 cm) in height. All exhibits will be placed on laboratory tables provided in the exhibit room.

Electric Power

Alternating current (120V or 220V, 60 Hz) will be provided. As battery-powered exhibits are sometimes unsatisfactory, direct current may be supplied from an approved AC or DC converter. Exhibits using electricity must have spring-return switches, operating only when the button is held down. Wiring must conform to the highest standards. Soldered and taped electrical joints properly guard against short circuits. Take no chances for fire or injury. Have your adult sponsor check all wiring! Bring your own UL listed 3-wire extension cord(s), if needed. 

The Research Paper and Abstract

This paper should be typed or word-processed on 8.5 by 11.0 in. paper. The recommended length for the senior division is 5 to 10 pages, and 3 to 5 pages for the junior division. Graphs, pictures, and diagrams do not count as written pages.

You must have two copies of your paper!

The cover page should contain the title of your project as well as your name and assigned project number. The abstract should follow the cover page and should be no more than 250 words and written on the Official Abstract Form. You can download the Student Handbook from: or this website.

Bring two copies of your research paper. One copy of your research paper will be collected at the registration table. One copy should remain at your exhibit area.

Bring ten copies of your abstract on the official abstract form. Place one in a frame by your exhibit and submit one to the registration desk, and keep the rest with you at your station to hand out to judges the day of the Fair.

Bring your lab notebook for display by your exhibit. Judges find this to be very important.

Oral Presentation

You will be required to present a short summary (no longer than 5 min.) of your research goals, procedure, and conclusions to the judges, which will be followed by questions from the judges.


Judges will walk through the exhibit areas starting at 8:30 a.m. without the students present. The main part of the judging process will begin at 9:30 a.m. All participants must stay at their stations during this time so that they can fulfill the oral part of the presentation. After lunch, the participants will return to their exhibits for additional interviews with the judges.

The decisions of the judges are final and nonreviewable.


The planning committee of the Greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair and Science Congress reserves the right to disqualify any exhibit on the day of the fair for work that is unsuitable in subject matter or treatment, that is potentially dangerous, or that violates any rules of the fair. Make sure the size of your exhibit fits the rules. Also, exhibits that lack any of the necessary paper work or required signatures will be disqualified.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, though taking reasonable precautions in protecting exhibits, will not be responsible for broken or missing exhibits or parts. Protect any valuable items with some type of shield. Loose items and any collections must be secured to the exhibit and protected under some type of shield. Students are required to keep their exhibits in proper working order at all times.

Removal of Exhibits

Projects are to be removed from the exhibit rooms BEFORE the awards ceremony, They can be stored outside the door or returned to your vehicle.

Helpful Hints

Download all rules and forms from the website:

Display and Safety Regulations

Make sure to read all of the rules in the 2018/2019 regional brochure that can be downloaded from the left margin menu of this website.

Registration Fee

$25.00 for students living in the counties of Albany, Columbia, Greene, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington. $35.00 for students outside of these counties.

Note to Teachers

If you would like to be involved with the Science Fair Planning Committee, please contact Joan Wagner or call (518) 505-7507.

Students are required to keep their exhibits in proper working order at all times.