Eligibility & Rules

Eligibility

All students younger than 20 years old who attend school in Santa Clara County in grades 6–12 are eligible to enter (if they have not competed in any other Intel ISEF-affiliated fair in the same school year).

Homeschooled students who attend home school in Santa Clara County are eligible to enter, even if they participate in online classes from other locales. Students who attend school in Santa Clara County, and who complete their projects at a Registered Research Institution in another locale are eligible to enter.

A student may participate in only one project. A fee of $15 per student is required or $30 per team.

  • Individual entries—A student may enter one project.
  • Team entries—A team of two or three students may enter one team project. SCVSEFA strongly recommends teams be limited to two students.
  • All projects will be judged for scientific merit using the same criteria regardless of the number of individuals preparing the project.

General Rules

  1. The Synopsys Championship is an Intel ISEF affiliated fair. We follow the Intel ISEF Rules and Guidelines and expect all students to read and abide by the following 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 the Synopsys Championship and subsequent affiliated fairs. SCVSEFA reserves the right to revoke recognition of a project subsequently found to have been fraudulent.
    Students who have their projects removed from competition for fraud or misconduct may not enter the Synopsys Championship the following year.
  2. The  Application Forms can be downloaded from our website, www.science-fair.org. We require the application be submitted by the student’s teacher in its entirety as a single stapled document in page number order, with all extra forms stapled behind the completed 8-page Application, the Detailed Research Plan, plus the relevant additional required forms.
  3. Projects requiring SRC preapproval before beginning experimentation must be submitted by the appropriate deadlines. Our only deviation from the Intel ISEF Rules is that, for safety reasons, we request that projects involving hazardous chemicals, activities, and devices or regulated substances also seek preapproval. See Handbook pages 4–5 for guidance.
  4. Additional forms are required for some projects, and the checklist on Page 5 of the Handbook provides information. These forms may be downloaded from our web site www.science-fair.org.
  5. Both our web site and the Intel ISEF web site: http://www.societyforscience.org/isef/ have significant amounts of additional and very useful information.
  6. A copy of the project Minimum Quality Standards can be obtained from the Application & Handbook page of our website. Please adhere to these standards or your project will fail to qualify for competition.
  7. All additional forms should be submitted by the teacher along with the Application in a single document (in Application page number order). The Adult Sponsor Checklist (Form 1 on page 4 of the Application) should be used to ensure that the Application is complete.
  8. Projects that are a continuation of a previous year’s research will require SRC preapproval. They must involve significant new work and additional paperwork is required (see Form 1A of the Application form). Only the current year’s research may be on the project board.
  9. Projects must comply with all local, state and federal laws as well as SCVSEFA and Intel ISEF Rules. We reserve the right to fail to qualify the project of any student who does not follow these.
  10. For the 2017 Synopsys Championship the research work has to be done between Jan 1 ’16 and  March 2017.  ( with no more than 12 months total time)
  11. All MIDDLE SCHOOL projects (grades 6-8) must be done in the school, home, or field.  No projects will be admitted for work done in a research institution.
  12. HIGH SCHOOL projects (grades 9-12) may be done in a Regulated Research Institution (RRI) such as a university, college, or professional research institution, provided all rules regarding their use are followed.   High school students should list their Teacher/Adult Sponsor as their sponsoring high school teacher.  The RRI project supervisor should be listed as the mentor or qualified scientist.

 

Parent sponsored projects (PSP) at high schools with a participating teacher are NOT allowed.

The Student Researcher(s)

Use of a non-school research site or Regulated Research Institute.

Projects done at Regulated Research Institutions (RRI) will be judged for Category Awards with other RRI projects.  Projects done at school or home will be judged against non-RRI projects.

The student researcher is responsible for all aspects of the research project including enlisting the aid of any required supervisory adults (Adult Sponsor, Qualified Scientist, etc.), obtaining necessary approvals (SRC, IRB, etc.), following the Rules & Guidelines of the Synopsys Championship, and performing the experimentation, engineering, data analysis, etc.  High school students should list their Teacher/Adult Sponsor as their sponsoring high school teacher.  The RRI project supervisor should be listed as the mentor or qualified scientist.

Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. This includes plagiarism, forgery, use or presentation of other researcher’s work as one’s own, and fabrication of data.  SCVSEFA reserves the right to revoke recognition of a project subsequently found to have been fraudulent. Students who have their projects removed from competition for fraud or misconduct may not enter the Synopsys Championship the following year.  Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for competition in the Synopsys Championship and the Intel ISEF. Society for Science & the Public reserves the right to revoke recognition of a project subsequently found to have been fraudulent.

CHANGES FROM LAST YEAR’S RULES
1. Earlier SRC postmark deadline dates.  Applications to the Synopsys Championship which require SRC pre-approval must be submitted with a postmark deadline of  Nov 23, or the Nov 30  hand delivery deadline of 6pm.

2. No human studies (involving survey or direct human participation) will be accepted after the Nov 23 postmark deadline or Nov 30 hand delivery deadline.

3.  Expanded definition of RRI (see website).

4. New Middle school limits  (30 projects/school).

5.  New SSP forms for some projects.

 

Rules of Note:

  1. Students must choose a Category and Field of Study for their project. An accurate choice of the Field of Study increases the likelihood that the project will be assigned to judges who understand and appreciate the project. A science project involves a study, hypothesis and experiment.  An engineering project involves an application, design or device and an engineering goal.

 

The codes used to assign project numbers have changed. For more information on Categories, Fields of Study and project numbers, go to link.

 

  1. For Category Awards, projects will be judged by category in groups of about 8 to 12 projects by a team of at least two judges. Projects are judged with projects from similar fields of study.

 

Projects done at home, school or in the field (non RRI) continue to be judged by grade and category. Projects (grades 9 to 12 only) done at Regulated Research Institutions (RRI) are judged by category only. (Category judging in the California State Science Fair and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is also not done by grade).  Awards will be given in four categories. The overall % category awards given remains the same (about 30%) total.