About NYCSEF

The NYC Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) is the largest high school research competition in NYC and is sponsored through a partnership between the NYC Department of Education and CUNY.  NYCSEF’s mission is to celebrate and highlight the innovation of New York City’s high school scholars conducting STEM research while inspiring enthusiasm and appreciation for scientific inquiry.  Each year, approximately 700 students participate from across the five boroughs, presenting their research to a panel of STEM professionals who volunteer as judges and compete for a variety of prizes.

NYCSEF is affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Winners of the NYCSEF competition will represent Team NYC at the Intel ISEF and compete for more than $4,000,000 in awards and scholarships. Students interested in participating in future NYCSEF events are encouraged to review the NYCSEF Guidelines.

Science Fair Judges

In order to execute one of the largest city-wide science fairs, NYCSEF is entirely dependent on service minded educators, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who volunteer their time on Sunday and/or one weekday each Spring.  These individuals evaluate science fair projects in two rounds of competition, determine which students will represent New York City at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and which students to recognize at a separate Awards Ceremony.  Science fair submissions come from over 50 private and public high schools throughout the five boroughs, and those students who qualify for the fairs value the feedback they receive from professionals in the field.  It is a rewarding experience, both for our judges and for the students, and we hope you will consider registering as a judge for either or both events.

Please visit NYCSEF Judge Criteria  for more information regarding judging at NYCSEF.  If you are interested in signing up please click Volunteer to Judge to register.

Event Staff Volunteers

Interested in volunteering as an event staff? Please email NYCSEF.

Please email NYCSEF at NYCSEF@cuny.edu, if you have any questions or call 718-254-7252.

Important Dates:

Online Student/Project Registration Opens: October 29, 2018

Application Deadline: December 12, 2018

March 3, 2019 – Preliminary Round at The City College of New York

March 19, 2019 – Finals Round at The American Museum of Natural History

March 25, 2019 – Awards Ceremony at The Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College

March 28, 2019 – ISEF Finalists & Parent/Guardian Orientation

May 12-17, 2019 – Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, AZ

NYCSEF 2019 Guidelines and Application

Top NYCSEF Scientific Review Committee Problems

REQUIRED FORMS FOR ALL PROJECTS

Acknowledgement of participation from student, parent/guardian, teacher and principal.

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Template for student information and project outline and information. MUST BE COMPLETED ONLINE.

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FOR TEAMS PROJECTS – Template for team member information. MUST BE COMPLETED ONLINE.

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The Adult Sponsor may be a teacher, parent, professor, and /or other professional scientist in whose lad the student is working. The person must have a solid background in science and should have close contact with the student(s during the course of the project.  The Adult Sponsor is responsible for ensuring the student’s research is eligible for entry into NYCSEF.

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Basic student checklist.

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The project summary is a succinct detailing of the rationale, research question(s), methodology, and risk assessment of your research project and should be completed after experimental research. Be sure to specifically and explicitly explain what aspects of the rationale, methodology and analysis were completed/contributed by YOU the student. There are 4 parts to the project summary.

To be completed AFTER experimentation.

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Approval is required for each student, including team members.

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Two (2) copies of a research paper is required for submission with your application, refer to page 4 of the NYCSEF Guidelines for more information.

SUPPLEMENTAL FORMS THAT MAY BE REQUIRED FOR YOUR PROJECT

Required for any research conducted at a regulated research institution or work site other than home, field or school.  To be completed AFTER experimentation.

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May be required for any research conducted at a regulated research institution or work site other than home, school or field.  To be completed AFTER experimentation.

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Required for projects using hazardous chemicals, activities or devices and microorganisms exempt from pre-approval.  To be completed BEFORE experimentation.

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Required for all research involving human participants not at a Regulated Research Institution. If at a Regulated Research Institution, use institutional approval forms for documentation of prior review and approval.  (IRB approval required before recruitment or data collection.)

  • Human Informed Consent Form – Required for research involving human participants

Human Participant Form – CLICK HERE

Human Informed Consent Form- CLICK HERE

Required for all research involving vertebrate animals that is conducted in a school/home/field research site. (SRC approval required before experimentation.)

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Required for all research involving vertebrate animals that is conducted in at a Regulated Research Institution. (IACUC approval required before experimentation. Form must be completed and signed after experimentation.)

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Required for research involving microorganisms, rDNA, fresh/frozen tissue (including primary cell lines, human and other primate established cell lines and tissue cultures), blood, blood products and body fluids.  SRC/IACUC/IBC approval required before experimentation.

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Required for research involving fresh/frozen tissue (including primary cell lines, human and other primate established cell lines and tissue cultures), blood, blood products and body fluids. If the research involves living organisms please ensure that the proper human or animal forms are completed. All projects using any tissue listed above must also complete Form 6A.

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Required for projects that are a continuation/progression in the same field of study as a previous project. This form must be accompanied by the previous year’s abstract and Research Plan/Project Summary.

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These are the dates and locations for NYCSEF 2019:

Preliminary Round – Sunday, March 3, 2019, at The City College of New York

Finals Round – Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at The American Museum of Natural History

Students cannot represent themselves at the Intel ISEF because the competition is a closed event.  NYCSEF is an ISEF-affiliated regional fair and as such is governed by the ISEF rules and guidelines outlined for pre-college research.  Top researchers from various categories are selected to represent NYC at the Intel ISEF.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) review your research proposal to determine if your protocol adheres to all the ethical rules and guidelines for student research.  The general rule of thumb for NYCSEF is that the IRB reviews projects involving human subjects and the SRC reviews projects involving hazardous biological materials or chemicals, or vertebrate animals.

 

For questions about the IRB, the American Association for Public Opinion Research has a webpage with IRB FAQ’s for Survey Researchers. Please note that some rules on this site are different from NYCSEF.  Refer to the NYCSEF Guidelines for official requirements.

If you are conducting your research at a Registered Research Institution (i.e. hospital, research lab, university, etc.) and your project involves hazardous biological agents, vertebrate animals, or human subjects, you will be required to have your protocol reviewed by the institution’s IRB or SRC before experimentation. Your mentor will be able to provide you with the proper procedures to obtain approval.

If you are conducting research at your high school and your research involves human subjects, your protocol must be approved by an IRB before experimentation (see page 8 of the NYCSEF Guidelines for detailed information about the IRB and pages 8-10 for information about human subjects). If your school does not have an IRB, your sponsoring teacher will need to establish one. Consult the NYCSEF Guidelines on page 8 for instructions on how to establish an IRB at your school or contact NYCSEF for further assistance.

If you are conducting research at your high school and your project involves working with hazardous biological agents or vertebrate animals, you must receive approval from an SRC before you begin experimentation (see page 7 of the NYCSEF Guidelines for detailed information about the SRC, pages 11-13 for information about vertebrate animals, and pages 14-17 for information about hazardous biological agents). If your school does not have an SRC, your sponsoring teacher will need to establish one.  Consult the NYCSEF Guidelines (page 7) for instructions on how to establish an IRB at your school or contact NYCSEF for further assistance.

If you are using hazardous chemicals, activities or devices in your project, consult pages 18-21 of the Guidelines. You do not need SRC approval prior to experimentation, but you must conduct a risk assessment of your protocol with your mentor or another qualified adult before experimentation and document the risk assessment using the Risk Assessment Form (3).

Approval by your local IRB or SRC only gives permission for you to conduct the experiments as described in your protocol.  Local IRBs or SRCs are responsible for reviewing your protocol for compliance with experimental safety and ethical procedures and supervision.

 

The NYCSEF SRC reviews all applications submitted for competition to ensure that projects comply with current NYCSEF ethical and experimental rules and guidelines as outlined in both the NYCSEF and ISEF Rules and Guidelines. All projects, regardless of using hazardous materials, animals, or human subjects, must be approved by the NYCSEF SRC in order to qualify for competition. The NYCSEF SRC does retain the right to override approval given by a local IRB or SRC if the project is deemed in violation of the NYCSEF or ISEF Rules and Guidelines. In such cases, qualification is determined on a case by case basis.

Every applicant must identify a teacher from their high school as a point of contact to participate in NYCSEF – this is the Sponsoring Research Teacher.  Other adults associated with student research depend on their specific roles on the project.  A Qualified Scientist is usually the scientist or mentor who oversees your research project.  The Designated Supervisor directly oversees your work during experimentation but often is not the qualified scientist.  The Adult Sponsor is responsible for ensuring that your project complies with the NYCSEF rules and guidelines for entry into the competition.

The designated supervisor, adult sponsor, and sponsoring research teacher may be the same person, IF that person is qualified as described on pages 6-7 of the NYCSEF Guidelines.  However, if the qualified scientist, designated supervisor, or adult sponsor is not from your school, you will need to identify a sponsoring research or science teacher from your school to sign your application.

Yes, students can enter NYCSEF as many times as they would like, regardless of having won a previous award. Your research may build on past data and results; however, your current entry must research conducted within a maximum of 12 months prior to the competition. Only projects using research that was previously entered and presented in past NYCSEF competitions are referred to as Continuation Projects (see page 2 of the NYCSEF Guidelines) and require the Continuation Projects Form 7 of the NYCSEF application.

Yes, you need to write a detailed project summary to submit with your application before the application deadline. The project summary must include the questions, problems and/or hypotheses being addressed in your project, a detailed description of the methods and materials being used in your project, including methods of data analysis, and a bibliography of at least five major references (see page 33 of the NYCSEF application for more details about the Research Plan).

Yes, you can either switch to an individual project this year or add new team members. You are not permitted to make changes during the research year. It would still be a continuation of the previous work requiring Form 7.

Although many student researchers are worried that calling their project a continuation will present them negatively in a judge’s eyes, this is not the case. Most professional scientific research is a continuation of some kind, either of the researcher’s own work or based on the work of other scientists.

Judges like to see exactly what you have done this year, what you learned from your previous work, how last year’s study led to this one, and how your study is related to previous findings. Additionally, the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) must review your project before you are allowed to compete to ensure that this year’s study is not just a repeat of your previous work. Completing Form 7 gives the SRC and the judges all this information to effectively evaluate your project.

To decide if your project is a continuation or a stand-alone, totally different project, it sometimes helps to ask yourself if there is anything you learned in your last study that is helping you in this study, if a question arose that led you to this study or if you will be referring to anything from the previous study. If yes, it is considered a continuation.

The start date of your project is when you begin to collect data for your experiment. The literature review and the design of your study will occur prior to your start date.

Form 1C is required for experiments or equipment used on projects in research institutions, commercial or college laboratories, government or industrial settings (i.e. machine shop, manufacturing facility), and medical facilities. The form needs to be completed by the supervising scientist AFTER you have completed your work.

Ask your supervising adult and consult the Material Safety and Data Sheet (MSDS) for the chemical(s) you plan to use. Some MSDS sheets (e.g. Flinn), rank the degree of hazard associated with a chemical. Generally a rating more than 1 should be considered hazardous. It is possible that two or more chemicals ranked 0 or 1 when mixed can react and form a hazardous chemical.

Each year, over 400 science, engineering, and industry professionals from across NYC volunteer their time as judges for the NYCSEF competition evaluating the presentation of the exhibits and the scientific or engineering processes.

Take a look behind the scenes!

Team NYC at ISEF

One week. Sixteen NYC students. The International Science and Engineering Fair.

Posted by New York City Science and Engineering Fair on Friday, April 21, 2017

What do Judges really think?!