Project Rules & Regulations
THESE RULES ARE NOW OBSOLETE - SEE CURRENT FAIR SITE FOR RULES.
Last revision: October, 2003
All projects will be checked as part of registering at the fair and those not meeting the regulations will need to be corrected before they are accepted for display and judging. The rules and guidelines listed below are based on those provided by YSF Canada for use at Regional Science Fairs and the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF). Some forms need to be completed before experimentation begins! We recommend that you print and complete the forms you will need as soon as possible.
All students must complete the BASEF on-line Registration form, and submit a signed BASEF Release form. Detailed instructions for completing Registration are provided as part of the Registration web site pages, at time of Registration.
Grade 7 and 8 students are eligible for the CWSF and must complete any additional required YSF forms. To find out which forms you will need, check here.
Projects submitted by High School students are also eligible for the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (IISEF). To meet both CWSF and IISEF requirements, high school students are asked to complete any additional required IISEF forms instead of the YSF forms. To find out which forms you will need, check here.
Please be aware that you may only exhibit the project you registered! No substitutions of projects or students will be permitted.
- Project Dimensions
- General Safety
- Fire Safety
- Chemical Safety
- Electrical Safety
- Structural & Mechanical Safety
- X-Ray or Radiation-producing Equipment
- Firearms, Explosives and Hazardous Materials
- Microorganism Safety & Biohazards
- Recombinant DNA and Biotechnological Safety
- Regulations for Animal Experimentation in Science Fairs
- Regulations for Research Involving Human Subjects
- Statement of Ethics Review Requirements:
- Ethics Review
- Definitions of Human Research, Researcher, and Participant.
- The Application Form
- Informed Consent
- Scientific-Review Forms
- YSF Forms for Grades 7 & 8 ( this flowchart will help you determine which forms are required for your project)
- Contribution from a Recognized Institution (Form YSF1)
- Designated Supervisor Form (Form YSF3)
- Application for Review of Research with Human Participants (Form YSF4A, Rev. Jan/2003)
- Informed Consent Form (Form YSF4B)
- Non-Human Vertebrate Animal Form (Form YSF5)
- Continuation Projects Form (Form YSF7)
- IISEF Forms for Grades 9 to 12 ( this flowchart will help you determine which forms are required for your project)
- Forms required for ALL Intermediate and Senior participants
- Checklist for Adult Sponsor / Safety Assessment Form (Form 1)
- Research Plan and Research Plan Attachment (Form 1A)
- Approval Form (Form 1B)
- Other forms
- Registered Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form (Form 1C)
- Qualified Scientist Form (Form 2)
- Designated Supervisor Form (Form 3)
- Human Subjects Approval and Informed Consent Form (Form 4)
- Non-human Vertebrate Animal Form (Form 5)
- Human and Animal Tissue Form (Form 6)
- Continuation Project (Form 7)
- Display of Previous Awards
The Bay Area Science & Engineering Fair (BASEF) is open to all students in grades seven to 12 under the age of twenty one who attend any public, separate, or private school, or who are home-schooled, in the City of Hamilton, the Region of Halton, Brant County, Haldimand County or Norfolk County.
School Fairs: If your school conducts a school science fair, you may only advance to BASEF through your school’s fair. If your school does not conduct a science fair, you may enter into BASEF directly; your school official must still approve your participation.
Number of Entries: All registrations from any source are subject to the maximum number of entries per school. Each school is restricted to eight entries per level (thus eight projects total most elementary schools, sixteen projects for high schools). Total registrations are also limited by the fair’s host site capacity. In case of over registration, acceptance will be based on earliest On-line Registration date and time. A student may not exhibit more than one project each year.
Team Projects: Projects developed by a maximum of two students may be entered and shall be entered in the division of the oldest member of the group.
Continuation or Duplicate Projects: An exhibitor may not present a project identical to a previous year's project at BASEF. An improved project may be entered again into competition, however only research completed since the last BASEF fair may be displayed. Any continuing research must document substantial expansion of investigation and students will be judged on the current year's work only. If you are entering a project which is a continuation of previous year’s work, you must complete a Continuation Projects Form, and submit it with your project registration.
Permissions: All release forms must be signed by a parent or guardian and a teacher or principal. Some Scientific Review forms require additional signatures.
All exhibits, including all accessories, must be confined to a table or floor space not to exceed 0.76 metres, front to back; 1.2 metres side to side; and 2.74 metres maximum height from the floor. All measurements will be made from the outermost points, including framework and appendages, and will be checked by the safety and ethics committee. Exhibits exceeding these dimensions must be modified or will not be accepted.
Safety of the public is a prime consideration. Suitable precautions must be taken to prevent the possibility of personal injury, property damage, and the legal action that could result from a lack of concern for safety.
All sharp edges or corners on prisms, mirrors, enclosures, and glass and metal plates must be removed or otherwise protected. The length of hoses or extension cords is to be kept to a minimum and out of the way to eliminate tripping hazards. Use tape for securing.
Aisles and exits must not be obstructed.
Moving exhibits (e.g., radio-controlled vehicles, robots) should be restricted to the regulation display space. The committee will endeavour to provide an area to safely demonstrate to judges, projects that require more space than the regulated exhibit display space. Powered aircraft may not be activated.
Exhibits must be sturdy and self-supporting; adjacent walls may not be used for support. Moving parts must be firmly attached and approved for safety.
Glue all paper flat to the backboard, or tape all edges. Do not hang overlapping sheets on the backboard; put them in a binder.
One electrical outlet supplying AC110 volt 60 cycle will be supplied if requested. Each 15A circuit will be shared by several projects. Exhibitors should bring their own good quality (CSA approved) 3 prong extension cord, since outlets may not be adjacent to each projects display space. No gas or water outlets will be available. No cable or telephone circuits will be available. Switches and cords must be the approved variety. Cell or battery-fed circuits should be safe in design and operation.
Water will be available near the exhibit hall. Bring your own pail to carry it if needed. Your display must be confirmed as safe by the safety committee both before and after including the water. You must also demonstrate arrangements for removing and disposing of the water safely and without spillage.
The exhibitor must supply all equipment except display tables.
The exhibit must comply with all safety, animal care and ethical regulations as outlined below, and in the Safety and Regulation Checklist.
The organizing committee will work with the Safety Officer of the host site to meet all requirements for safety and security, and to communicate those requirements as necessary to participants during the science fair. The organizing committee will establish an exhibit hall layout that satisfies the host site's requirements for fire safety and emergency evacuation purposes.
Certain restrictions have been defined for the construction of displays to reduce the possibility of accidental fire during the fair, and in the event of fire, to allow for safe evacuation of the building.
The committee will be responsible for ensuring that fire extinguishers of proper size and rating are available in the exhibition area.
The committee will establish a fire evacuation plan, and an exhibit hall layout that minimizes long rows in order to reduce flame spread.
All apparatus used to generate heat (hot plates, heat lamps, torches, candles, etc.), if displayed, must be rendered non-operable.
Packing material must not be stored in the exhibit hall.
No containers of toxic or flammable chemicals are allowed.
Dangerous chemicals are not allowed - this includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, kitchen and laundry supplies, tobacco products and by-products. Substitutes for toxic and corrosive chemicals must be used. Common salt, for example, can be used to simulate chemicals such as ammonium nitrate. Water may be used instead of alcohol, ether, and other highly flammable liquids. Molasses can be used to represent petroleum products. When chemicals are simulated, they should be labelled with the names of the substance they represent preceded by the word simulated No project will be penalized because the key (but potentially dangerous) components were not on display.
If you are in doubt about any material, then use a substitute in your project display.
As low a voltage as possible must be used.
At the end of the day or the viewing period, all electrical exhibits must be disconnected, and power bars switched off. Power bars must have a switch for this purpose.
Only CSA-approved extension cords in good repair shall be used.
Where practical and necessary, it is recommended that pilot lights be used to indicate that the voltage is on.
Cord-connected electrical appliances shall have a 3-wire conductor with ground or be CSA-approved.
An insulating grommet is required at the point where the service enters any enclosure.
Electrical devices must be protectively enclosed as far as it is practical.
Any enclosure must be non-combustible. All non-current carrying metal parts must be grounded.
All lighting used for decoration or illumination must be CSA approved. Lamp wattage must not exceed ratings. Lighting must not pose risk of injury if touched.
No exposed live parts over 36 volts are allowed. Current (amperage) must be low so as not to cause any discomfort or danger if touched.
Wet cells shall not be used because of the hazardous chemicals involved.
Structural & Mechanical Safety
Exhibits must be of a safe design with adequate stability to keep from tipping.
Dangerous moving parts such as belts, gears, pulleys and propeller blades must be suitably guarded.
Pressurized vessels should have a safety valve.
Compressed gas cylinders are not allowed to be displayed. Small (table top) air or other fluid compressors may be displayed, but must be rendered inoperable for the duration of the fair. Associated pressure systems must be purged of any contents other than ordinary air, and must be open to the atmosphere, to ensure they are at room pressure. Pressure systems of any type are considered hazardous equipment. You must complete a Designated Supervisor form and it must be submitted with the project registration.
X-Ray or Radiation-producing Equipment
If an exhibit uses x-ray equipment or any other equipment capable of emitting high energy radiation, registration of ownership with the Ontario government is required.
Plans for structural protection must be submitted to the provincial government and approval requested.
A formally trained and qualified individual must be identified to exercise supervision of the operation and to take responsibility for safe performance. It will be an obligation of this individual to satisfy the Chief Inspector by exposure rate measurements or other suitable documentation that the operation is safe.
Projects involving voltages above 10 kV should be considered to pose a potential x-ray hazard.
Lasers and x-ray or radiation-producing equipment may not be operated during public viewing periods.
You must complete a Designated Supervisor form and it must be submitted with the project registration.
Firearms, Explosives and Hazardous Materials
YSF Canada and Regional Science Fairs allow students to conduct research involving hazardous equipment and firearms as long as students adhere to federal and provincial regulations and guidelines that are designed to protect the safety of the researchers.
Use of hazardous equipment, dangerous goods, explosives and firearms requires proper supervision by a Designated Supervisor. This Supervisor must be directly responsible for overseeing student experimentation. In some cases, the Designated Supervisor must possess a Firearms Possessions Certificate / Hunter Safety Certificate and/or a Canadian Firearms Safety Course equivalent, and be knowledgeable in the use of the firearms or devices that will be used in the experimentation. In all cases, the Designated Supervisor must be at least 18 years old. The Supervisor must provide proof at time of project Registration of his/her licensing and expertise in the use of a firearm, volatile substance or device, and/or explosives, or the project will not be accepted.
You must complete a Designated Supervisor Form, and it must be submitted with the project Registration.
The Regulations and restrictions relating to Firearms, Explosives and Hazardous Materials are extensive and complex. If you are considering this type of project, we encourage you to get in touch with us. We will provide further details, and help put you in touch with appropriate authorities familiar with current regulations and relevant aspects regarding scientific merit, and for guidance and suggestions in performing the work.
Microorganism Safety & Biohazards
The following hazardous biological materials may not be displayed:
- Radioisotopes or compounds containing radioisotopes at activities above normal background
- Biological toxins
- Microorganisms (the use of mixed cultures obtained from the environment - e.g. soils, mouth swabs - is acceptable for experimentation, but not for display)
- Cells or tissues infected with animal or plant viruses
- No cultures are allowed for exhibition (photographs or simulated cultures may be used)
- No plant tissue, soil or material which could decompose shall be exhibited
Experimentation involving biohazards must be carried out under controlled laboratory conditions and supervision. Evidence of this supervision, including the supervisors name, institution, and qualifications must be included in the Contribution From a Recognized Institution form, and must be submitted with the project Registration.
Recombinant DNA and Biotechnological Safety
Projects involving the manipulation of recombinant DNA molecules or animal viruses are allowed if conducted under qualified supervision. Evidence of this supervision, including the supervisors name, institution, and qualifications must be included in the Contribution From a Recognized Institution form, and must be submitted with the project Registration.
Biotechnological investigations involving enzymes pose risks of allergic reactions. Work involving DNA technology can be accomplished safely if simple precautions are taken. The use of DNA is, in itself, usually safe, but hazards arise from chemicals and electrical equipment employed in the manipulation of DNA. Extremely hazardous chemicals, such as ethidium bromide, used to stain DNA, should be avoided. Electrophoresis of DNA fragments should use low voltages or equipment that prevents access to connections at high voltages.
Live tissue samples used in such investigations must be taken either from a continuously maintained tissue culture line already available to institutional researchers, or from animals already being used in an on-going institutional research program. Proof of where such material has been acquired (invoice or letter from supplier) must be available at all times during the fair, and submitted with the project Registration. These animal tissues may only be displayed at the fair if they are prepared and sealed (lamella, plastination).
Regulations for Animal Experimentation in Science Fairs
Biological experimentation is essential for an understanding of living processes. Such studies should lead to a respect for all living things. Capable students, anxious to pursue a career in biological sciences, must receive the necessary encouragement and direction. All aspects of the project must be within the comprehension and capabilities of the student undertaking the study.
While student investigations of biological processes are to be encouraged, they are subject to the same laws, ethics, and regulations as any other research. In the Criminal Code of Canada and the Animals for Research Act of Ontario, all vertebrates are afforded protection. Also, schools and science fairs are explicitly included in the definition of research facility in Ontario. The regulations described here, based on CWSF rules, are written in view of these laws. Guidelines for the care and use of experimental animals are available from the Canadian Council on Animal Care .
Biological experimentation is subject to legal restrictions including, among others:
- Criminal Code of Canada, Section 446, Cruelty to Animals
- Convention for International Trade on Endangered Species
- Canadian Wildlife Service
- Health of Animals Act, Bill C-66 Guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care
- Animals for Research Act (Ontario)
An adult familiar with current regulations should review all research involving animals. A Non-Human Vertebrate Animal Form is included in the forms section. If vertebrate animals are used in any way in your science project, this form must be completed and included with the project Registration. Projects involving non-human animals that are deemed to be unethical shall be disqualified. If you are unsure about the status of any proposed project, please contact us, and we will help put you in touch with appropriate authorities familiar with current regulations and relevant aspects regarding scientific merit, and for guidance and suggestions in performing the work.
Lower orders of life (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, insects, plants and invertebrate animals) can be used in experimentation to reveal valuable basic biological information.
Vertebrate animals (birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians) are not to be used in any active experiments which may be deleterious to the health, comfort or physical integrity of the animals. This permits observation of wild animals, animals in zoological parks, farm animals and pets.
Observation of wild animals falls within the definition of hunting in some jurisdictions. Students should obtain advice and permission from conservation authorities to ensure that they are not interfering with the animal's life, and to ensure that their project is permissible. A permit may be required. Behavioural experiments with positive rewards are permissible only if the animal is not placed in a stress situation. Training an animal to travel through a maze to receive a food reward is stressful, particularly if the animal is hungry, and is therefore not permissible. However, allowing an animal to make a free choice (of food, for example) is permissible, so long as the animal is not stressed before offering the choice (e.g. by withholding food).
Studies of embryos are similarly restricted to observation, without intervention with drugs or other chemicals, or manipulations of physical condition to test the resiliency of the animal. If eggs are hatched, the offspring must be reared normally. Otherwise all embryos must be destroyed by freezing before 85% of normal incubation.
Cells and animal parts (including organs, tissues, plasma or serum) purchased or acquired from biological supply houses or research facilities may be used in science fair projects. Evidence of the source of the materials (e.g. bill of sale) must be available at the display.
The acquisition of animal parts should involve either the services of biological supply houses or research facilities, or involve salvage from sources where the animal has been killed for other legitimate purposes in a legal and humane manner. Salvage from found carcasses (e.g. road kills) is discouraged due to serious health risks. If the acquisition involves salvage from a research project, then the disposition to the science fair project must be part of the original research proposal, and such disposition must have been approved by the Research Committee or the Animal Care Committee of the institution involved. Reference to the original project should be made on the science project. If the acquisition involves salvage from the food industry, then the source must be acknowledged. If the acquisition involves hunting, fishing or trapping, then those activities must be done in accordance with prevailing regulations, and precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of the student(s). The taking of animals other than for food, without explicit approval, can constitute cruelty. Permits for research are available from conservation authorities and must be available at the display.
III. Display of Animals and Animal Parts:
Students working on biological projects may involve animals as outlined above. The display of the project is to be a report of completed work, and thus further restrictions are imposed. Also, science fair organizers should try to reduce the potential for adverse reaction from visitors and other exhibitors.
Live microorganisms and vertebrate or non-vertebrate animals shall not be included in the display, although appropriate photographs may be available in the report.
The only parts of vertebrate animals that may be displayed are those that are either naturally shed by an animal or parts properly prepared and preserved. Soft tissue specimens are not acceptable if they are preserved in formaldehyde, a dangerous chemical excluded under the chemical safety sections of these guidelines. Sealed tissue samples on microscope slides are permissible. Thus, porcupine quills (safely contained), shed snake skin, feathers, tanned pelts and hides, antlers, hair samples, skeletons and skeletal parts are permissible, while organ and tissue samples are not. However, photos, videos or slides of organ and tissue samples may be made available for viewing upon request but are not permitted to be placed on display.
Guidelines for Research Involving Human Subjects
The following rules and guidelines for research and/or science fair projects involving human subjects are adapted from those of the Youth Science Foundation Canada Guide for Ethics Review of Human Research.
I. Statement of Ethics Review Requirements:
The Foundation requires that all research involving human participants conducted as a project competing in the Canada-Wide Science Fair, or an affiliated Regional Science Fair, satisfy ethical and safety rules. This ensures that the safety and welfare of the participants as well as the researchers are considered and protected. The ethics review process should involve the student's supervising teacher, members of a bona fide research institution or hospital practised in the ethics of human research, or the Ethics, Animal Care and Safety Committee of the Youth Science Foundation Canada. This will provide the researchers with an appreciation of the requirements and safeguards existing in law regarding experimentation in humans.
Note: Projects dealing with forensic science topics must preserve the anonymity of any human victims, and project displays must avoid sensational or gratuitous, macabre images.
II. Ethics Review:
The Foundation's Ethics, Animal Care and Safety Committee invites inquiries regarding the ethics of any planned human (or animal) research project. It will assist in the development of an acceptable research design. It also reviews all projects entered in the Canada-Wide Science Fair to ensure they are ethically approved and thus eligible for competition.
III. Definitions of Human Research, Researcher, and Participant.
Human research refers to any project which involves the generation of data about persons beyond that which is necessary for the person's well-being. This includes non-invasive methods such as: surveys, interviews, observations of, or field work with, individuals, administration of psychometric and other tests, examination of records, and exercise testing. It may also involve invasive procedures, such as blood sampling, tissue sampling, and insertion of cannulae.
A researcher is a student data or information collector, or assistant, involved in research activities involving humans.
A participant is a person, who by virtue of his/her participation in a data-generating situation or activity, is a source of primary data, and bears any risk as the research is being carried out.
IV. The Application Form:
Supervising teachers or other adults are responsible for ensuring the safe and ethical operation of projects dealing with human subjects. An Application For Review of Research with Human Participants is included in the forms section. This form must be completed and included with the project Registration. Projects involving human participants that are deemed to be unethical may be disqualified. If you are unsure about the status of any proposed project, please contact us, and we will help put you in touch with appropriate authorities familiar with current regulations and relevant aspects regarding scientific merit, and for guidance and suggestions in performing the work.
The following instructions will provide assistance in completing the form as well as providing additional guidelines for conducting research involving humans.
Student Researcher(s): The student researcher(s) will collect the data. All students involved must be listed, even if assisting the principal investigators.
Title of Project: The title of project should be succinct, yet clearly describe the focus of the project.
Supervising Adult: The supervising adult supervises and accepts responsibility for the safe and ethical conduct of the project. The name, address and telephone number of the supervising adult must be given.
Purpose and General Procedure: The purpose describes the reason for conducting the project, and briefly outlines literature which has shaped the project proposal. The general procedure to be used in the research is to be outlined.
Participants and Procedural Details: The participants who will be involved should be described with respect to age range, gender, numbers required and other identifying characteristics. Special consideration is needed for the involvement of children or other vulnerable participants. Describe the source of the participants and the manner in which they will be recruited. Attach a copy of any covering letter. Studies involving students and/or teachers often require the explicit permission of Board of Education officials. Researchers are reminded of the potential for certain participant groups to experience or perceive undue pressure to volunteer as research participants, and are to minimize this perception. Members of distinct cultural groups, legally incompetent people and children are examples of special populations which require special effort to ensure that informed consent is being given. Include details of any compensation for participation in the study. It should not be so high as to induce a person to volunteer, or cause a person to continue in a study past the point at which he/she would otherwise stop.
Describe procedures in detail and in terms which can be understood by reviewers without specialized knowledge of the research area. For invasive procedures, indicate awareness of, and willingness to follow, universal precautions for proper handling of blood and body fluids. If invasive procedures are used, give the name and title of the person conducting these procedures, as well as information about his/her training. When materials are to be ingested, give information on dosage, frequency and possible side effects. Drugs, whether prescription or otherwise, are not to be used. Oral or topical applications of test materials are the only acceptable methods of administration. Studies involving exercise testing must include a description of all tests, a copy of the medical screening form used to determine that the potential participants are in good health, and a statement about exclusion criteria. Describe arrangements for medical supervision of the testing. The 1986 American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines for Exercise Testing chart is a common guideline. For non-invasive studies, attach a copy of all test materials and indicate the time required for participation in the study.
Risks and Benefits to Participants: A complete and clear description of all known or anticipated risks and benefits of participation, whether physiological, psychological, economic and/or social in nature must be provided. Indicate how risk will be minimized to the extent reasonably possible. In cases of tasks involving psychological risk, indicate preparations to deal with any negative impact attributable to participation in the study. All studies must have some benefit in order to justify their conduct. Thus, a description of known and/or potential benefits to the participants and/or society, is required.
V. Informed Consent:
Participants must give informed consent to participate in any science fair project before it begins, and this is normally obtained in writing. Parental approval is required for the participation of minors as research subjects.
If the research involves physical activity, invasive procedures, tasting, smelling or exposure to any abnormal factors, such as noise, temperature, dust, etc. then you MUST obtain written informed consent from every participant.
Details which must appear in the consent letter to ensure the participants have been properly informed and thus given free consent, without pressure to participate include:
name(s) of investigator(s), school, supervising adult, telephone number;
description of the procedures;
description of risks and benefits from participating;
details of time commitment;
details of any plan to re-contact participants;
details of remuneration;
plans to ensure confidentiality of data;
details about their right to withdraw at any time without fear of reprisal;
information about how to communicate a decision to withdraw from the study, and
a statement that the project has been reviewed and received ethics approval from whatever authority was consulted. A sample Informed Consent form is provided.
Note: There may be circumstances under which written, informed consent cannot be reasonably collected. For surveys only, consent may be assumed by the completion of the survey. In these circumstances a detailed explanatory letter should accompany the questionnaire, and provide identical information as listed above.
Anonymity of Participants: The confidentiality and anonymity of all participants must be maintained. Use coded systems of references; no identifying information may be used. Also, appropriate safeguards for storage and access to data, or destruction of data, must be planned.
Feedback to Participants: Feedback of the findings to the participants, their parents and/or teachers should be part of the plan. If deception is used, provide details about the nature of the deception and why it was needed. Participants in such a study must receive adequate and immediate debriefing at the end of their participation. This debriefing, provided orally and as a written handout, should tell why the deception was required, offer the opportunity to answer any questions and then seek their written consent to use all information obtained from them.
Additional Attachments: Sample letters of consent, parent permission letters and pre-exercise medical screening forms should be included as appendices to the form.
Display of Previous Awards
Awards, certificates, prizes etc. won by you or your project at previous science fairs or competitions are not to be displayed or discussed at the BASEF on Judging day. We are pleased that you have done well, but do not want to bias our judging process.
You may display previous awards only at the Public Viewing on Saturday.