Getting Started

    No handwritten forms will be accepted. All forms and documents must be completed electronically and then uploaded to the necessary areas within STEM Wizard.

    Teachers and Adult Sponsors, before completing your STEM Wizard Registration, please ensure your school is listed under the “Select the School You’re From” section of the registration page. If your school is not listed, please get in touch with the SEFH office.

    School Districts STEM Wizard Links

      Project Categories 

      Life Science

      Animal Sciences (ANIM)

      This category includes animals (mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, etc.), animal life, animal development, animal life cycles, animal interactions with each other and/or their environment, and the study of animals at the cellular and the molecular level.

      ISEF subcategories: Animal Behavior, Cellular Studies, Development, Ecology, Genetics, Nutrition and Growth, Physiology, Systematics and Evolution

      Behavioral and  Social Sciences (BEHA)

      This category includes the study of psychology, sociology, anthropology, archeology, etiology, ethnology, linguistics, animal behavior (learned or instinctive), learning, perception, urban problems, gerontology, reading problems, public opinion surveys, and education testing, etc.

      ISEF subcategories: Clinical and Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, Physiological Psychology, Sociology and Social Psychology

      Biochemistry and Microbiology (BIO)

      This category includes molecular biology, molecular genetics, enzymes, photosynthesis, blood chemistry, protein chemistry, food chemistry, hormones, bacteriology, virology, protozoology, fungal and bacterial genetics, yeast, etc.

      ISEF subcategories: Analytical Biochemistry, General Biochemistry, Medicinal Biochemistry, Structural Biochemistry, Antimicrobials and Antibiotics, Applied Microbiology, Bacteriology, Environmental Microbiology, Microbial Genetics, Virology, Cell Physiology, Cellular Immunology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology

      Medicine and Health (MED)

      This category includes medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, veterinary medicine, pathology, ophthalmology, nutrition, sanitation, pediatrics, dermatology, allergies, speech and hearing, optometry, etc.

      ISEF categories: Computational Biomodeling, Computational Epidemiology, Computational Evolutionary Biology, Computational Neuroscience, Computational Pharmacology, Genomics, Disease Detection and Diagnosis, Disease Prevention, Disease Treatment and Therapies, Drug Identification and Testing, Pre-Clinical Studies, Cell, Organ, and Systems Physiology, Genetics and Molecular Biology of Disease, Immunology, Nutrition and Natural Products, Pathophysiology

      Plant Sciences (PLNT)

      This category includes agriculture, agronomy, horticulture, forestry, plant biorhythms, palynology, plant anatomy, plant taxonomy, plant pathology, plant genetics, hydroponics, algology, mycology, etc.

      ISEF categories: Agriculture and Agronomy, Ecology, Genetics and Breeding, Growth and Development, Pathology, Plant Physiology, Systematics and Evolution

      Physical Science

      Chemistry (CHEM)

      This category includes physical chemistry, organic chemistry (other than biochemistry), inorganic chemistry, materials, plastics, metallurgy, soil chemistry, etc.

      ISEF subcategories: Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry

      Earth and Environmental Sciences (EAEV)


      This category includes studies of the environment and its effect on organisms/systems, including investigations of biological processes such as growth and life span, as well as studies of Earth systems and their evolution.

      ISEF subcategories: Atmospheric Science, Climate Science, Environmental Effects on Ecosystems, Geosciences, Water Science

      Energy and Transportation (EGTR)

      This category includes aerospace, aeronautical engineering and aerodynamics, alternative fuels, fossil fuel energy, green energy science & technology, vehicle development, renewable energies, etc.

      ISEF subcategories: Biological Process and Design; Solar Process, Materials, and Design; Energy Storage; Wind and Water; Movement Power Generation; Hydrogen Generation and Storage; Thermal Generation and Design; Triboelectricity and Electrolysis

      Mathematics (MATH)

      This category includes calculus, geometry, abstract algebra, number theory, statistics, complex analysis, probability, topology, logic, operations research, and other topics in pure and applied mathematics.

      ISEF subcategories: Algebra; Analysis; Combinatorics, Graph Theory, and Game Theory; Geometry and Topology; Number Theory; Probability and Statistics

      Physics and Astronomy (PHYS)

      This category includes the science of matter and energy and of interactions between the two. Astronomy is the study of anything in the universe beyond the Earth.

      ISEF subcategories: Atomic; Molecular; and Optical Physics; Astronomy and Cosmology; Biological Physics; Condensed Matter and Materials; Mechanics; Nuclear and Particle Physics; Theoretical, Computational, and Quantum Physics

      Systems Software  (SOFT)

      This category includes the study or development of software, information processes or methodologies to demonstrate, analyze, or control a process/solution.

      ISEF subcategories: Algorithms, Cybersecurity, Databases, Human/Machine Interface, Languages and Operating Systems, Mobile Apps, Online Learning


      Aerospace Engineering (AERO)

      Aerospace Engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the study and design, development, testing, improving and production of aircraft and related systems (aeronautical engineering) and of spacecraft, missiles, rocket propulsion systems and other equipment that operate beyond the earth’s atmosphere (Space Engineering). It includes the direction of the technical phases of their manufacture and operation.

      ISEF subcategories: Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering

      Biomedical Engineering (ENBM)


      The projects that aim to improve human health and longevity by translation novel discoveries in the biomedical sciences into effective activities and tools for clinical and public health use.

      ISEF subcategories: Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine, Biomechanics, Biomedical Devices, Biomedical Sensors and Imaging, Cell and Tissue Engineering, Synthetic Biology

      Chemical Engineering & Materials Science (CEMS)


      Materials science is study of the integration of various materials forms in systems, devices, and components that rely on their unique and specific properties. Chemical engineering includes the application of the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics to solve problems in the production, transport, or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and other products.

      ISEF subcategories: Biomaterials; Ceramic and Glasses; Composite Materials; Computation and Theory; Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials; Nanomaterials; Polymers

      Embedded Systems  (EBED)


      Studies involving electrical systems in which information is conveyed via signals and waveforms for purposes of enhancing communications, control and/or sensing.

      ISEF Subcategories: Circuits, Internet of Things, Microcontrollers, Networking and Data Communications, Optics, Sensors, Signal Processing

      Engineering Mechanics (ENMC)


      Studies that focus on the science and engineering that involve movement or structure.  The movement can be by the apparatus or the movement can affect the apparatus.

      ISEF subcategories: Civil Engineering, Computational Mechanics, Control Theory, Ground Vehicle Systems, Industrial Engineering-Processing, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Systems

      Environmental Engineering (ENEV)


      Studies that engineer or develop processes and infrastructure to solve environmental problems in the supply of water, the disposal of waste, or the control of pollution.

      ISEF subcategories: Bioremediation, Land Reclamation, Pollution Control, Recycling and Waste Management, Water Resources Management

      Robotics and Intelligent Machines (ROBO)

      This category includes studies in which the use of machine intelligence is paramount to reducing the reliance on human intervention.

      ISEF subcategories: Biomechanics, Cognitive Systems, Control Theory, Machine Learning, Robot Kinematics

      Rules and Guidelines


      SEFH Changes/Reminders:

      Individual and team projects

      • Students may conduct a science project individually or in teams (max 3 students/team.) Students participating on a team must compete in their appropriate division, either senior (9-12) or junior (6-8).
      • Team members must all compete within the same division and shall not be separated to compete in different divisions.
      • Students from different school districts may not join to form teams.
      • Team membership cannot be changed during a given research year unless there are extenuating circumstances and the local SRC reviews and approves the change, including converting a team project to an individual project or vice versa.

      ISEF Rule Changes and Updates

      ALL Projects

      Regulated Research Institutions (RRI)/ Review Committees (page 7)

      Added a section to address “private” laboratories and how to manage approvals.

      Independent or private laboratories, such as those established to support student researchers do not meet the requirements of oversight or committee infrastructure to be considered Regulated Research Institutions (RRI). Therefore, such laboratories should be considered the same as high school laboratories as it pertains to the International Rules and the types of projects able to be conducted in this setting. For purposes of documentation, such facilities may complete the Regulated Research Institution/Industrial Setting Form 1C to address the adult supervision and conditions of research.

      Human Participant Rules (pages 8-10)

      Rule 6 modified to address diagnostic applications in the prohibition of practicing medicine.

        1. Students are prohibited from independently diagnosing disease, administering medication, and/or performing medical procedures on human participants.
          1. A student may observe and collect data for analysis of medical procedures, medication/treatment efficacy, and diagnosis of illness, only under the direct supervision of a licensed health care provider/professional.
          2. This Healthcare provider/professional must be named in the research plan/ protocol approved by the IRB. The IRB must also confirm that the student is not violating the appropriate practice act (medical, nursing, pharmacy, etc.) of the state or country in which he/she is conducting the research.
          3. Students are prohibited from providing diagnostic or medical information to participants without direct supervision and involvement of a medical professional. This includes publishing diagnostic apps on public websites or app stores without appropriate FDA approvals.

      Rule 9 modified to better clarify online survey procedures.

        1. Studies that involve the collection of data via use of the internet (e.g., email, web-based surveys) are allowed, but researchers should be aware that they can pose challenges in collecting anonymous data, obtaining informed consent, and ensuring that participants are of the appropriate age to give informed consent.
          1. Studies that involve the use of minors in conducting online surveys must have Informed Consent and the parent/guardian of the minor must provide written parental permission before the survey may be given to the minor. The procedures used to obtain parental permission must be described in the Research Plan.
          2. In order to protect the confidentiality of the participants, it is extremely important that IP addresses, as well as the data provided, be safeguarded. Precautions must be delineated in the Research Plan.

      Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents (PHBA) Rules (page 15-17)

      Exempt Studies (no SRC pre-approval required) page 17 Clarified two exemptions involving microbial fuel cells and baker’s yeast.

          1. The following types of studies are exempt from prior SRC review, but require a Risk Assessment Form 3:
            1. Studies involving protists and archaea
            2. Research using manure for composting, fuel production, or other non-culturing experiment
            3. Commercially available color change coliform detection test kits; these kits must remain sealed and must be properly disposed
            4. Studies involving decomposition of vertebrate organisms (such as in forensic projects)
            5. Studies with microbial fuel cells in which the device is sealed during experimentation and disposed of properly at the conclusion of the study
          1. The following types of studies involve BSL-1 organisms and are exempt from prior SRC review and require no additional forms:
            1. Studies involving fermentation of baker’s yeast and brewer’s yeast, except in rDNA studies
            2. Studies involving Lactobacillus, Bacillus thuringiensis, nitrogen-fixing, oil-eating, and algae-eating bacteria introduced into their natural environment (not exempt if cultured in a petri dish environment)
            3. Studies involving water or soil microbes not concentrated in media conducive to their microbial growth
            4. Studies of mold growth on food items if the experiment is terminated at the first evidence of mold
            5. Studies of slime molds and edible mushrooms
            6. Studies involving E. coli k–12 (and other strains of E. coli used solely as a food source for C. elegans) that are performed at school and are not subject to additional rules for recombinant DNA studies or use of antibiotic resistant organisms

      Hazardous Chemicals, Activities or Devices Rules (page 19- 20)

      Rules for ALL Projects Involving Hazardous Chemicals, Activities and Devices page 19

      Prescription Drugs section rewritten to more tightly control the use of prescription drugs per current law.

          1. Prescription Drugs

      In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration tightly regulates the issuance of prescriptions and thus they are controlled substances. State laws further regulate the use of prescription drugs and it is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless it was obtained directly from a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of their professional practice. It is also unlawful to use the prescription for persons or purposes outside of the original prescription. All applicable federal, state and country laws must be followed.

          1. Students are prohibited from the use of prescription drugs in their study outside of the authority of a practitioner or researcher that has obtained the controlled substance with appropriate approvals and is using the substance for the purpose for which it was prescribed.
            1. Such studies must be conducted with a Qualified Scientist and a Risk Assessment Form 3 is required documentation
            2. Students are further prohibited from providing prescription drugs to human participants
          2. In the case of prescription drugs administered to vertebrate animals, this may only be done under a veterinarian’s supervision and with prescriptions provided for this specific purpose.


      Changes to the forms were minimal and reflected the change of many projects not being conducted in a laboratory environment directly.

      Regulated Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form (1C)

      Adjusted the ordering of Question 1 a. and b. sections to allow more room for a response in those situations in which “no” is the response requiring additional descriptions.

      Risk Assessment Form (3)

      Reordered the terminology of the title box.

      Text now reads: Must be completed before experimentation. Required  for projects involving hazardous chemicals, activities or devices and may be needed by other projects.

      Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Risk Assessment Form (6A)

      Section 3 box to be completed by the Qualified Scientist or Designated Supervisor, first checkbox has been edited to clarify that a copy of the checklist

      Experimentation on the microorganisms/cell lines/tissues to be used in this study will NOT be conducted at a Regulated Research Institution, but will be conducted at a (check one) ___BSL-1 or ___BSL-2 laboratory (include a copy of the checklist for BSL2). [This study has been reviewed by the local SRC and the procedures have been approved prior to experimentation.]

      To view all ISEF rules and regulations, please visit the Rules and Guidelines: page.

        Project Deadlines

        • All entries must be separately completed online for each project.
        • Schools only register once.
        • Register online through STEM Wizard.
        • All entries MUST BE Finalized by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 26, 2024.
        • Late entries will not be accepted.

        SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT: January 26, 2024, 5:00 PM

        Science Fair Rules and Guidelines are under the ‘Rules and Guidelines‘ Tab.

        For Schools and Teachers

        Project Quotas
        The Project Entry Quota represents the amount of exhibits (science fair projects may they be individual or team) that may advance to the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston per the criteria presented.

        Private* and parochial schools and districts with one – two high schools Districts with three – four high schools and / or academies Districts** with more than four high schools and / or academies
        (grade 9-12)
        (grade 6-8)

        STEM Wizard

        1. Access STEM Wizard
        2. Demonstration Video – Teacher 
        3. Demonstration Video – Student 
        4. STEM Wizard: Teacher Guide
        5. STEM Wizard: Student Registration Guide
        6. STEM Wizard: Understanding File Upload App
        7. STEM Wizard: Understanding Files and Forms
        8. STEM Wizard: Milestones
        9. STEM Wizard: Registration and Messages

        If you have questions regarding STEM Wizard such as how to add your school, add students to your class, or add teachers, please get in touch with the SEFH office at


        1. Student Research Plan Template
        2. Safety and Consent Form (Middle School Projects Only)
        3. ISEF Forms (High School Projects)
          1. Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1)
          2. Student Checklist (1A)
          3. Approval Form (1B)
          4. Regulated Research Institutional Setting Form (1C)
          5. Qualified Scientist Form (2)
          6. Risk Assessment Form (3)
          7. Human Participants Form (4)
          8. Human Informed Consent Form
          9. Vertebrate Animal Form (5A)
          10. Vertebrate Animal Form (5B)
          11. Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Risk Assessment Form (6A)
          12. Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form (6B)
          13. Continuation/Research Progression Projects Form (7)
        4. ISEF Form Completion Guide
        5. Participation Agreement (High School Projects Only)
        6. Judging Milestone Abstract Template


        1. ISEF – Student Science
        2. Showboard – A good source for SEFH display boards
        3. National Science Teachers Association
        4. MadSci – Scientific Reagents and Supplies
        5. Education Planet – Science Fair Teacher Resources
        6. Science Page – Science Fair Projects and Science Fairs


        1. Science Fair Projects on the web
        2. Science Bob – Science Fair Ideas


        1. ScienceDaily
        2. Environmental News Network
        3. New Scientist
        4. Amateur Science
        5. CHEM4KIDS

        Project Deadlines

        • All entries must be submitted online by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 26, 2024.
        • Each entry must be accompanied by a project competing in the current SEFH season.
        • Late entries will not be accepted.

        WRITING CONTEST: January 26, 2024; 5:00 PM

        Writing Contest




        Project Deadlines

        • All entries must be submitted to the SEFH, either hand-delivered or postmarked by the due date.
        • The submission deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 26, 2024.
        • Late entries will not be accepted.
        • Office Physical Address:

        University of Houston
        STEM Center
        Lamar Fleming Jr. Building
        3585 Cullen Blvd, Room 138
        Houston, Texas 77204-5008

        POSTER CONTEST: January 26, 2024; 5:00 PM

        Poster Design