Click on the links below for more information about our rules and regulations.
Click on the links below for more information about our rules and regulations.
The NRSEF is open to students from grades 5 to 12 in all Niagara Regional schools. Exhibits displaying science related projects will be judged by local experts from all fields of scientific endeavour. Due to space limitations, no more than 190 projects will be allowed to enter the Fair. School officials are urged to screen the projects of their students to ensure that the best projects are entered in the fair by correctly filling out the Schools Top Project form and ranking the projects accordingly.
An exhibitor may enter only one exhibit as an INDIVIDUAL or AS A MEMBER OF A TWO PERSON GROUP. All work on exhibits and projects must be the work of the student(s) involved.
Team Projects: Group projects may consist of a maximum of two students. For group entries from two grades, the age division of the most senior student is used. The final work should reflect the coordinated efforts of both team members and will be evaluated using the same rules and judging criteria as individual projects. Each teacher must ensure that ONE online registration form is completed for their project (not one per student). The team must also ensure that all required forms are completed for their project.
Continuation or Duplicate Project: A student may not present a project identical to a previous year’s project at NRSEF. An improved project may be entered again into competition, however only research completed since the last NRSEF may be displayed. Any continuing research must document substantial expansion of investigation and students will be judged on the current year’s work only.
Students in grades 7 to 12 are eligible to be selected to participate in the Canada-Wide Science Fair. Students in grades 9 to 12 are eligible to elect themselves to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (details about IISEF can be found under the Important Dates section of the website).
Projects are organized by age category. These categories are:
NOTE: Unfortunately due to liabilities and insurance reasons, grade 4 students are unable to participate. Students, parents, and teachers who fraudulently enter incorrect information will be disqualified and will not be eligible to compete in future NRSEFs.
Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. Such practices include plagiarism, forgery, use or presentation of other researcher’s work as one’s own, and fabrication of data. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition at NRSEF, CWSF, or IISEF.
The NRSEF competition is judged by members of the scientific community. Each project is visited by a team of judges which evaluates a group of projects. In the “Forms” section of the website are samples of the scoring sheets which will be used by the judges. A careful study of these sheets will help students to see the characteristics that are present in superior projects.
NOTE: The Fair uses a simplified judging form for JUVENILE students (students in grades 5 and 6).
There are TWO types of Judges:
Some of the judges are individuals in charge of identifying projects worthy of receiving special awards. Each of this second group of judges uses an independently established set of judging criteria.
Please note that, in the competition:
The actual size of your display is an important matter for you to keep in mind. Projects which are too large will be subject to disqualification at the Fair. Here are the MAXIMUM dimensions for a project display.
HEIGHT (from the floor to the top of the project) – 250 cm
LENGTH (from side to side when project is set up) – 120 cm
DEPTH (from the front of the project to its back) – 80 cm
The NRSEF provides sturdy tables for the set up of the science fair displays. The table tops are approximately 90 cm off the floor. Students wishing to use the tables (and most students do use them) are reminded to prepare displays which are of a size suitable to set on these tables without exceeding the height restriction. The sturdiest and easiest to handle display are made of light wood construction with panels attached by hinges. Avoid the use of corrugated cardboard or Bristol board, which may be deemed hazardous by a visiting fire marshal. Ensure that all papers are firmly attached to the display. Ask your science teacher for a project backboard.
Electrical outlets will be available for the use of students by request only. Due to the limited number of available electrical outlets, the NRSEF tries to accommodate as many projects that require electricity. Please note that if you require electricity for your project you will need to indicate so on the online registration form. You will receive an email at a later date asking you to provide details for your specific electrical needs to determine the necessity of power. It is the student’s responsibility to supply PROPERLY GROUNDED extension cords.
Photographs of the project work in progress make excellent additions to any exhibit. Use photographs to demonstrate any hazardous materials or procedures involved in your project. TAKE PICTURES AS YOU WORK ON YOUR PROJECT and keep them in a photo journal to add to your presentation.
This diagram shows a typical project display design:
* Check out the photo and video galleries to see projects that we’ve had over the past few years. They are under the photo gallery section of our website.
Make sure to read the safety rules and regulations regarding the exhibition of project display materials.
Designing a project that employs humans as subjects is a common practice among science fair participants. The NRSEF does not wish to discourage such project work.
In the interests of the humans who become subjects and to develop suitable ethical procedures, the NRSEF REQUIRES THAT DOCUMENTATION MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE ANY EXPERIMENTAL ACTIVITIES ARE UNDERTAKEN.
Completion of such documents is the shared responsibility of the student and of the teachers and parents who supervise his/her work.
FAILURE TO INCLUDE THIS DOCUMENTATION WITH SIGNATURE FORMS WILL RESULT IN THE DISQUALIFICATION OF THE APPLICATION.
The NRSEF follows the policies regarding human subjects outlined by the Youth Science Canada Ethics and Safety Committee.
The NRSEF defines a human subject as a person about whom an investigation, (professional or student) conducting scientific research, obtains:
Human subject projects are divided into two categories: low risk, and high risk. A Low Risk Project involves conditions where the risks of harm to the subject are not greater or more likely than those encountered in everyday life. All other projects involving human subjects are to be treated as Significant Risk Projects.
Students must read policies 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 to determine which category their human subject project falls under. Following that, students must fill out the corresponding form(s) (found under our “Forms” page) and submit them upon registration.
Make sure to give a Letter of Information to your human participants prior to the start of your project. You will also need to collect the signed Informed Consent Permission Forms from your participants and have them available during the Fair weekend.
If the project falls under Significant Risk, students should complete the Research Plan and submit it to the NRSEF Rules, Regulations, and Ethics Chair (email@example.com) prior to the start of the project. A copy of the Letter of Information and the Informed Consent Permission Form must also be included.
Some distinct changes have been made in the restrictions regarding the study of animals. These changes are in line with the regulations of the Youth Science Canada Ethics and Safety Committee and reflect current concerns about proper treatment of all animal species.
Students in grades 5 to 12 are permitted to undertake studies or experiments that involve animals with backbones provided such work DOES NOT INVOLVE ANIMALS IN STRESSFUL CONDITIONS. It is advised that students consult a veterinarian, or other such animal specialist, BEFORE initiating such studies. As well, students should contact the Rules, Regulations, and Ethics Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org) if in doubt about the appropriateness of their projects.
In the interest of animals and to develop suitable ethical procedures, the NRSEF REQUIRES THAT DOCUMENTATION MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE ANY EXPERIMENTAL ACTIVITIES ARE UNDERTAKEN.
Students undertaking projects involving animals must read policy 4.1.2 and submit the corresponding form upon registration.
If projects involve vertebrate animals or cephalopods, students must complete the Animal Research Plan and submit it to the NRSEF Rules, Regulations, and Ethics Chair (email@example.com) prior to the start of the project.
All software and code that the student claims was written by themselves must be their own work and the source code must be made available to the judges.
An important aspect to your application is your project abstract. The purpose of an abstract is to describe the entire project in one or two short paragraphs. Abstracts are required for all projects and the ability to condense information is a lifelong skill which can be applied to many situations. A very handy guide to writing abstracts can be found here Writing an Abstract.
In keeping with ISEF and CWSF policies, projects which are a continuation of a previous project must be identified and work presented which is based on the current year’s research only. As such, any student who has entered a previous project in NRSEF on a similar topic as the current year’s entry must (a) identify the previous work on application to NRSEF via a continuation project form, (b) justify the difference between the previous work and the current work on that form, and (c) be judged only on work performed during the past twelve months.
A continuation project is defined as any project based on the students’ prior research where that research occurred more than twelve months ago.
Continuation projects must document, on application to NRSEF, how the project differs from the previous project and is a substantial expansion of that work (for example, testing a new variable or a new line of investigation). A project with the same methodology and research question as a previous project, even with an increased sample size, is not an acceptable continuation.
The display board and abstract must reflect the current year’s work only and projects will be judged only on that work. Any supporting data from previous year’s projects must be identified clearly on the display board as originating from a previous project. The same applies to data books from previous research which may be exhibited but must be clearly labeled as such.
If your project is a continuation of a previous project you’ve completed, please read the NRSEF Continuation Form Instructions, which gives two sample cases of how to fill out the required NRSEF Continuation Form.
Students must submit their continuation form when submitting their signature and human/animal forms. In addition to this, if your project is selected for our fair, you MUST display a copy of the continuation form on your project display.
If you have any questions, please contact the NRSEF Rules, Regulations, and Ethics Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help.
With the increasing availability of online resources, we recognize that the internet is a resource however we strive to uphold academic integrity at our regional fair. The following are examples of academic integrity violations that are grounds for disqualification:
1 – Plagiarism – presenting the work of others as your own, without acknowledging the source. Scientific work includes scientific results, conceptual development of a topic, or substantive formulation or reformulation of a problem. This includes work done by a family member or a mentor. Information on how to properly cite references can be found on the Youth Science Canada website (www.youthsciencecanada.ca in Policy 220.127.116.11 CWSF Project Report).
2 – Fabricating or falsifying data.
3 – Forging signature(s)
4 – Fabricating or falsifying registration information.
5 – Entering a project which is derived from a previous NRSEF or CWSF project (continuation or revision of a project undertaken in a preceding year by the student or by another) without documenting the previous work.