BASEF is affiliated with Youth Science Canada (YSC) and the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), and because of this our rules and policies must also incorporate the rules of these other organizations. All Students are eligible to win a trip award to the Canada-Wide Science Fair, and Intermediate/Senior Students (Grades 9-12) are also eligible to win a trip award to ISEF.
Eligibility and Ethics
For a list of Student Eligibility, School requirements, and Ethics Rules, check out:
Science Fair Participation Rules
For detailed rules refer to the appropriate project level:
Junior Level (Grade 7/8)
- Junior (Grade 7/8) Rules Page
- To help determine which policies and forms apply, use the Junior Rules Wizard
- Details of Forms that may be required are in the Junior Forms Listing
Intermediate/Senior Level (Grades 9-12)
- Intermediate/Senior (Grades 9-12) Rules Page
- To help determine which ISEF policies apply to your project, use the ISEF Rules Wizard
- Details of forms that may be required are in the Intermediate/Senior Forms Listing
Project Display and Backboard
When creating the project display and backboard for entry in the Science Fair, a number of safety regulations and display rules apply:
- BASEF Project Display Guidelines
- Projects that win trip awards to the Canada-Wide Science Fair and International Science and Engineering Fair will be subject to different rules that may be more or less restrictive, and may require students to modify their backboards or backboard materials.
Rule Spotlight: Research Involving Human Subjects
BASEF requires all projects that involve human participants to comply with the Youth Science Canada Policy on Low-Risk Human Participation and the Youth Science Canada Policy on Significant-Risk Human Participation. Human Participation includes surveys, skill tests, food or drink, applying substances to the skin, and any other projects where tests on people are involved. This would include classmates, family members, even testing of the student doing the project. If your Project involves Human Participation then you will have to complete and obtain signatures for the appropriate forms. Keep these forms safe, and they may be requested to be faxed or emailed by the BASEF Registrar prior to the fair.
Proper Risk Assessment is very important; if you need help, please contact BASEF, and we will advise you. Include a copy of the forms in your project notebook, onsite at the BASEF fair. If you are a High School student, remember to follow both YSC and ISEF Rules, and use ISEF Forms.
Rule Spotlight: Firearms, Explosives and Hazardous Materials
Youth Science 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 may be required to provide proof 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. You must also be familiar with, and in compliance with, Youth Science Canada Policy on Hazardous Materials. 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.
Rules Spotlight: Microorganism Safety and Biohazards
Experimentation involving biohazards must be carried out under controlled laboratory conditions and supervision. Evidence of this supervision, including the supervisor’s name, institution, and qualifications must be included in the Contribution From a Recognized Institution form.
Rules Spotlight: 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 supervisor’s name, institution, and qualifications must be included in the Contribution From a Recognized Institution form. You must also be familiar with, and in compliance with, the Youth Science Canada Policy 4.2.2 on Recombinant DNA and Biological Safety. 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. These animal tissues may only be displayed at the fair if they are prepared and sealed (lamella, plastination).
Rule Spotlight: 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. All aspects of the project must be within the comprehension and capabilities of the student undertaking the study. BASEF requires all projects that involve animal experimentation, both vertebrate and invertebrate, to comply with the current version of Youth Science Canada Policy 4.1.2 on Animals in Research. If your project uses vertebrate animals, Cephalopods, animal embryos, or animal tissues, document your compliance by completing the appropriate forms, signed by the student(s) AND their Adult Supervisor. If your project is likely to be classed as complex under the policy, also ensure the form is signed by an appropriately qualified Scientific Supervisor. Also include a copy of this form in your project notebook, onsite at the BASEF fair.