General Information

What’s New for 2024:

  • The 2024 Science & Engineering Fair of Houston will be in person.
  • The Junior Division Forms have been modified and now has one document that replaces the various ISEF Forms.
  • No handwritten forms will be accepted. All forms and documents must be completed electronically and then uploaded to the necessary areas in STEM Wizard.
  • All Schools and students should begin their registration no later than December 1, 2023.
  • All Schools/Districts advancing projects to SEFH must finalize their online registration and have students confirm their categories and submit their projects to the SRC through STEM Wizard on or before January 26, 2024.

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.

Display & Safety

The Display and Safety rules have been modified for SEFH. Please review the full text 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.

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.]

Dates and Schedule for 2024:

SEFH 2024 Schedule:


  • SEFH Seminar – September 09, 2023
  • Registration in STEM Wizard – Site to open on September 09, 2023


  • Project Finalization and Advancement to SEFH – January 26, 2024, 5:00 PM
  • SEFH SRC Review Begins – January 27, 2024
  • SRC Finalization, all projects must be cleared to compete at SEFH no later than February 06, 2024, by 5:00 PM.


  • Project Check-in
    • All projects must check in between 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM, February 16, 2024
  • Opening Ceremony – February 17, 2024
    • 8:30 am – 9:00 am
    • All students should arrive no later than 8:15 am.
  • Judging Begins – February 17, 2024
    • 9:10 am
  • Awards Ceremony – February 17, 2024
    • 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
    • Open to all.

Project Deadlines:

  • All registration is to be completed online through STEM Wizard.
  • At-large fairs should deactivate students who will not participate in SEFH by January 26, 2024, at 5:00 p.m.
  • Sub-Fairs must promote students before the deadline of January 26, 2024, at 5:00 p.m.
  • All students advancing to SEFH MUST BE finalized by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 26, 2024.

January 26, 2024, 5:00 PM

January 26, 2024, 5:00 PM

January 26, 2024, 5:00 PM

Directions and Parking for 2024:


We’re moving to the Fort Bend Epicenter!

28505 Southwest Fwy, Rosenberg, TX 77471

COVID-19 Policies and Recommendations: 

SEFH 2024 is currently planned as an in-person event scheduled for Friday, February 16 through Saturday, February 17, 2024.

Following guidance from the CDC regarding K12 learning and local health official recommendations for large events in Harris County, SEFH has adopted the following policies and recommendations for all participants:

  1. SEFH recommends all participants who are eligible and able to be safely vaccinated do so. Information about COVID-19 vaccination in Texas is available at:
  2. SEFH leadership will continue to monitor local health conditions and will make additional modifications to fair plan as required. We will keep all participants informed of COVID-19 policies and recommendations.

For additional information about these policies, please contact