The Central Utah STEM Fair is an affiliate of the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair and as such we are required to abide by the experimental rules they have established. These rules were developed to help pre-college student researchers adhere to federal regulations governing professional scientists and to, therefore, protect the welfare of the test subjects and the student researchers.

Most Common Disqualifications:

Bacteria, mold, fungi, viruses/parasites, human or animal fresh tissue, blood or bodily fluids MUST be performed in a BSL1 lab or above as required. Culturing bacteria, mold, fungi or other hazardous agent CANNOT be cultured at home, doing so is an automatic disqualification. Contact us via email for help coordinating a lab space,

Ethics Statement

Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. Such practices include plagiarism, forgery, use or presentation of other researcher’s work as one’s own and fabrication of data. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition in affiliated fairs or the Intel ISEF.


Rules for all projects
International Rules and Guidelines FAQ

Experimental Rules for Human Subjects
Based upon the Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR 46), the definition of a human subject is a living individual about whom an investigator conducting research obtains (1) data or samples through intervention or interaction with individual(s), or (2) identifiable private information. These projects require IRB review and pre-approval and may also require documentation of written informed consent/assent/parental permission.

Experimental Rules for Vertebrate Animals
Vertebrate animals, as covered by these rules, are defined as live, non-human mammalian embryos or fetuses, tadpoles, bird and reptile eggs within three days (72 hours) of hatching, and all other non-human vertebrates (including fish) at hatching or birth.

Experimental Rules for Hazardous Chemicals, Activities or Devices
These rules apply to research that involves the use of hazardous chemicals, devices and activities. The rules include substances and devices that are regulated by local, state, country, or international law, most often with restrictions of their use by minors such as DEA-controlled substances, prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco and firearms and
explosives. Hazardous activities are those that involve a level of risk above and beyond that encountered in the student’s everyday life.

These rules are intended to protect the student researcher by ensuring that the proper supervision is provided and that all potential risks are considered so that the appropriate safety precautions are taken. Before beginning research involving hazardous chemicals, activities or devices, be sure to check with your school, local, or regional fair as more strict rules and
guidelines may be in effect.

Experimental Rules for Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents
The use of potentially hazardous microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, viroids, prions, rickettsia, fungi, and parasites), recombinant DNA (rDNA) technologies or human or animal fresh/frozen tissues, blood, or body fluids is allowable under the conditions set forth by the rules. All of these areas of research may involve potentially hazardous biological agents and require special precautions.

Experimentation involving culturing of potentially hazardous biological agents, even BSL-1 organisms is prohibited in a home environment. However, specimens are allowed to be collected at home as long as they are immediately transported to a laboratory with the appropriate level of biosafety containment.

Classification of Biological Agents Risk Groups

BSL-1 The BSL-1 risk group contains biological agents that pose low risk to
personnel and the environment. These agents are highly unlikely to
cause disease in healthy laboratory workers, animals or plants. The
agents require Biosafety Level 1 containment. Examples of BSL-1
organisms are: Escherichia coli strain K12, Agrobacterium tumifaciens,
Micrococcus leuteus, Neurospora crassa, Bacillus subtilis.
BSL-2 The BSL-2 risk group contains biological agents that pose moderate
risk to personnel and the environment. If exposure occurs in a
laboratory situation, the risk of spread is limited and it rarely
would cause infection that would lead to serious disease. Effective
treatment and preventive measures are available in the event that an
infection occurs. The agents require Biosafety Level 2 containment.
Examples of BSL-2 organisms are: Mycobacterium, Streptococcus
pneumonia, Salmonella choleraesuis.
This risk group contains biological agents that usually cause serious
disease (human, animal or plant) or that can result in serious
economic consequences. PROHIBITED
This risk group contains biological agents that usually produce
very serious disease (human, animal or plant) that is often
untreatable. PROHIBITED

Levels of Biological Containment

There are four levels of biological containment (Biosafety Level 1 – 4).
Each level has guidelines for laboratory facilities, safety equipment and
laboratory practices and techniques.

BSL-1 BSL-1 containment is normally found in water-testing laboratories, in
high schools, and in colleges teaching introductory microbiology
classes. Work is done on an open bench or in a fume hood. Standard
microbiological practices are used when working in the laboratory.
Decontamination can be achieved by treating with chemical
disinfectants or by steam autoclaving. Lab coats are required and
gloves recommended. The laboratory work is supervised by an individual
with general training in microbiology or a related science.
BSL-2 BSL-2 containment is designed to maximize safety when working with
agents of moderate risk to humans and the environment. Access to the
laboratory is restricted. Biological safety cabinets (Class 2, type A,
BSC) must be available. An autoclave should be readily available for
decontaminating waste materials. Lab coats, gloves and face protection
are required. The laboratory work must be supervised by a competent
scientist who understands the risk associated with working with the
agents involved.
BSL-3 containment is required for infectious agents that may cause
serious or potentially lethal diseases as a result of exposure by
inhalation. PROHIBITED
BSL-4 containment is required for dangerous/exotic agents that
pose high risk of life-threatening disease. PROHIBITED