Getting Started

  1. Once your school has set up its online account, if you used Scienteer last year, you can log in with your username and password here. If you are new to Scienteer, your teacher must give you a link to create an account.
  2. All students must have their own Scienteer account (this includes projects designated as Team Projects.)
  3. Each student must have a unique e-mail address (different from other students or teachers).
  4. If you lose your password, contact your teacher, so they can reset it.
  5. Make sure your parents have an e-mail address. If they do not, help them create one with Outlook, Gmail, or Yahoo. The system will guide you in getting your parental permission. If you parents have no access to e-mail, Scienteer will instruct you to print out the forms, have them signed, and return them to your teacher.
  6. Students can’t access the online system until their parents have given permission.
  7. Login at and complete the required steps to setup your profile and signature.
  8. Follow the online steps to complete your project.
  9. The online system will guide you to create and fill out your forms and research plan. Follow the steps, step-by-step. The system will take care of your signatures as well.



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:

  1. Email addresses for teachers and students in Scienteer need to be checked and updated if necessary. Email will be an important method of contact. Please consider adding a cell phone number for the primary school contact in case schools are closed.
  2. Team Projects: SEFH Team Ruling replaces the ISEF #2 Team Ruling:
    1. Students may conduct a science project individually or in teams (max 3 students/team.) Students participating on a team must compete at their appropriate division, either senior (9-12) or junior (6-8).
    2. Team members must all compete within the same division and shall not be separated to compete in different divisions.
    3. Students from different school districts may not join to form teams.
  3. The award ceremony will be held on the UH campus in the Student Center South Houston Room on February 18, 2023.

Display & Safety:

Please review the full text of the Display & Safety rules in the International Rules & Guidelines to ensure
compliance with the display regulations including:

  • Maximum size of the project
  • Forms required to be displayed
  • Photograph/Image Display Requirements and
  • Items/materials not allowed on display or at your project booth.
  1. Acknowledgments on the project display are no longer prohibited; in alignment with the ISEF ethics statement, students may recognize those that have supported their work in a section on the display.
  2. Student-created logos are to be properly credited within the photograph/image display requirements but are no longer restricted to one instance on the display.

Guidelines for your physical display board:

  • Important information should be readable from about 10 feet away. The suggested smallest font on your physical poster is 18 pt.
  • Title is short and draws interest.
  • Word count of about 300 to 800 words.
  • Text is clear and to the point.
  • Use of bullets, numbering, and headlines make it easy to read.
  • Effective use of graphics, color, and fonts.

ISEF Rules and Regulations Changes (italics indicate the changes/modifications):

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 was 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
    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 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 This includes publishing diagnostic apps on public websites or app stores without appropriate FDA approvals.

Rule 9 was 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 experiments
    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
  2. 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 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

b. 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 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
    • 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 BSL- 2). [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 at Scienteer.
    • All entries MUST BE Finalized by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 20, 2023.
    • Late entries will not be accepted.

    SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT: January 20, 2023, 5:00 PM

    Registration Payment

    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)


    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. HomeworkSpot – Science Fair Project Center
    6. CHEM4KIDS


    1. Access Scienteer
    2. Scienteer: Quick Start Powerpoint
    3. Scienteer: Quick Start Guide
    4. Scienteer: School and Teacher Guide
    5. Scienteer: Student Guide


    If you have questions regarding Scienteer such as how to add your school, adding students to your class, or adding teachers, please contact the SEFH office at



    Project Deadlines

    • All entries must be submitted online by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 20, 2023.
    • Each entry must be accompanied by a project competing in the current SEFH season.
    • Late entries will not be accepted.

    WRITING CONTEST: January 20, 2023; 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 20, 2023.
    • 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 20, 2023; 5:00 PM

    Poster Design




    Promoting the learning and application of science and technology for Texas youth since 1958.
    Affiliated with Regeneron, International Science and Engineering Fair, Texas Science and Engineering Fair, and Broadcom MASTERS.