The following Questions are answered below:

What is the SRC? What is the IRB?

The term SRC is actually used two ways. The acronym SRC stands for Scientific Review Committee. One meaning refers to the group of people who form a committee that reviews each project application to ensure that all safety and legal requirements will be met and that the appropriate forms have been completed. The committee also reviews the completed project displays during check-in at the Synopsys Championship. A Scientific Review Committee is composed of at least three people: a biomedical scientist, a physical scientist, and a science teacher.

SRC also refers to the process of a project being reviewed. You may ask if a project “requires SRC approval” or if it has “met SRC requirements.”   Projects involving humans are reviewed by a subcommittee of the SRC called the Institutional Review Board (IRB). This ensures the project will not present an excessive amount of risk to the human subjects involved in the study. An IRB is composed of at least three people: a science teacher, a school administrator and a psychologist, doctor (M.D.) or nurse (R.N.).

The SCVSEFA SRC/IRB consists of >15 people with expertise/credentials in various subjects who work together to review each of the project applications for the Synopsys Championship. SSP (The Society for Science and the Public) requires that those signing off on application paperwork do not have a conflict of interest.

Do I need SRC approval BEFORE I can begin my project? What are the SRC guidelines and rules?

The Synopsys Championship follows the rules of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with one change: the Synopsys Championship would like to pre-approve ALL projects in the Hazardous Agents, Activities and Devices category. These projects require that you submit a Form 3 with your application.

There is a diagram to help determine if a project requires SRC/IRB pre-approval. This will be true for most projects involving human participants, vertebrate animals, and potentially hazardous biological agents. Note: If a project involves the testing of a student designed invention, prototype or concept by a human, an IRB review and approval may be required prior to experimentation. The ISEF Rules Wizard can help you determine which forms to complete. Forms may be downloaded from our Forms page.

Are there special rules for Model Rockets?

Yes. Rockets are hazardous devices. You will need to follow the Model Rocket Safety Code and submit the Model Rocket Launch Certificate that it contains. LUNAR, the Livermore chapter of the National Association of Rocketry, posts their launch schedule on their web site and is willing to help students launch their rockets safely.   Population density in the Bay Area makes it difficult to find safe rocket launch sites. Contact the three local NAR chapters in the Model Rocket Safety Code before you launch your rocket for a Synopsys Championship experiment. Do not launch a rocket yourself.

Which additional forms are required for projects and papers?

The ISEF Rules Wizard can help you determine which additional forms to complete.

Form (1C)Regulated Research Institutional / Industrial SettingTo be completed by the Supervising Adult AFTER an RRI project is complete.
Form (2)Qualified ScientistRequired for any project involving humans, vertebrate animals, potentially hazardous biological agents and controlled substances. Submit BEFORE experimentation begins.
Form (3)Risk AssessmentRequired for any project using hazardous chemicals, activities or devices, and microorganisms that are exempt from pre-approval. Submit BEFORE experimentation begins.
Form (4)Human ParticipantsRequired for SRC-pre-approval of any project involving human participants. Submit BEFORE experimentation begins.
Human Informed Consent FormSample consent form is required for ANY project involving humans
Forms (5A) and (5B)Vertebrate AnimalRequired for SRC pre-approval of any project involving animals with bones
Form (6A)Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Risk AssessmentRequired for SRC pre-approval of any project involving microorganisms, rDNA, tissue, blood, or body fluids; submit BEFORE experimentation begins.
Form (6B)Human and Vertebrate Animal TissueRequired for SRC pre-approval of any project involving tissue, blood, or body fluids; submit BEFORE experimentation begins.
Form (7)Continuation/Research Progression ProjectsRequired for SRC pre-approval of any project that continues in the same field of study as a previous project.

Where can I get the additional forms required for SRC/IRB projects?

The Intel ISEF forms are linked to our Forms page.

How will I know when my project has been approved?

Check the Project Status link on this web site. Select your school and teacher and then look up your name. You can begin experimentation only after your project status is listed as Project Approved.

What if I need to make a change in my project after I have received SRC approval to begin?

STOP!!! Contact the Scientific Review Committee and explain what you need to change. Do not proceed with your project until you have received further approval from the SRC. Approval is usually given in less than 24 hours.

Why are we so strict about the forms and SRC approval?

  1. Student safety
  2. Compliance with federal and state laws
  3. Compliance with the Intel ISEF rules. Adherence to the Intel ISEF Rules allows selected winners from the Synopsys Championship to compete in:  Intel International Science &Engineering Fair (grades 9–12) California State Science Fair (Grades 6-12) Broadcom MASTERS (Grades 6–8)
  4. Avoidance of legal/litigation issues