Project Display Rules



  • Not to exceed 15 inches (38 cm) deep, front to back; 48 inches (122 cm) wide, side to side; and 5 ft (150 cm) high above the table top.
  • Display materials must fit on the table in front of your board. This space is approx. 15″ x 24″.
  • Display boards of 3-4 ft height (vs 5 ft) are recommended for readability by the judges.


  • Use size 24-point or larger font.
  • Position your main points at eye level.


  • Student name(s) should not appear on the display board; they will be printed on the poster location label.


  • References (Bibliography) are required on the display board.
  • If the bibliography is very long, include “Selected References” on the board and have available copies of the complete list.


  • Display your abstract and original notebook (kept during your work) with your project.
  • Bring 10-15 copies of your abstract for handouts to the judges.


  • Display Forms 1C and 7 if your project requires them.
  • Have signed copies of Informed Consent Forms from human subjects available but do not display them.


  • ❌ Research Institution logos
  • ❌ School names or logos
  • ❌ Formal Project Summaries for distribution (only Abstracts may be distributed)
  • ❌ PowerPoint® presentations or digital equivalents on a laptop (other than demos or videos of data that cannot be displayed in any other way)
  • ❌ Acknowledgements (names of mentors, university labs, etc.)
  • ❌ Awards, medals, business cards, flags, endorsements or acknowledgements from previous fairs.
  • ❌ Photographs of people other than student presenter(s) unless signed Form 4 is available.
  • ❌ Photographs or other visual presentations depicting vertebrate animals in surgical techniques, dissections, necropsies, other lab techniques, improper handling methods, improper housing conditions, procedures, etc.

Use photos or drawings instead of these disallowed physical objects:

  • ❌  All liquids, including water
  • ❌ Human or animal food (e.g., popcorn, M&Ms, etc.)
  • ❌ Living organisms (including plants, fungi, and bacteria)
  • ❌ Soil or waste samples, toxic waste samples
  • ❌ Dried plant materials
  • ❌ Taxidermy specimens or parts
  • ❌ Preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals or their parts
  • ❌ Human/animal parts or body fluids (blood, urine)
  • ❌ Laboratory/household chemicals
  • ❌ Batteries with open-top cells
  • ❌ Poisons, drugs, controlled substances, hazardous substances or devices (for example: firearms, weapons, ammunition, reloading devices, model rockets)
  • ❌ Dry ice or other sublimating solids (solids which vaporize to a gas without passing through a liquid phase)
  • ❌ Sharp items (for example: syringes, needles, pipettes, knives)
  • ❌ Any flames, open or concealed, or highly flammable materials
  • ❌ Gases or empty tanks that previously contained combustible liquids or gases, including butane and propane


Proper attention to safety is expected of all participants, including compliance with the following requirements:

  • No hand-held laser pointers of any power. No operation of Class III or Class IV lasers.
  • No operation of unshielded belts, pulleys, chains, or moving parts with tension or pinch points.
  • Any exhibit producing temperatures that could cause physical burns must be adequately insulated.
  • Properly fasten all wiring. Nails, tacks, or unshielded staples are not acceptable.
  • Electrical power: Only supplied to projects which cannot be displayed any other way. NOT FOR LAPTOPS alone.
  • Electrical power supplied to approved projects and, therefore, the maximums allowed for projects is 120 or 220 Volt, A.C., single phase, 60 cycles. Maximum circuit amperage/wattage available is determined by the electrical circuit capacities of the exhibit hall and may be adjusted on-site by the Display and Safety Committee. For all electrical regulations “120 Volt A.C.” or “220 Volt A.C.” is intended to encompass the corresponding range of voltage as supplied by the San Jose Convention Center.
  • All electrical connectors, wiring, switches, extension cords, fuses, etc. must be UL-listed and must be appropriate for the load and equipment. Connections must be soldered or made with UL-listed connectors. Wiring, switches, and metal parts must have adequate insulation and over-current safety devices (such as fuses) and must be inaccessible to anyone other than the Championship participant. Exposed electrical equipment or metal that may possibly be energized must be shielded with a non-conducting material or with a grounded metal box to prevent accidental contact.
  • Wiring that is not a part of a commercially available UL-listed appliance or piece of equipment must have a clearly visible fuse or circuit breaker on the supply side of the power source and prior to any project equipment.
  • There must be an accessible, clearly visible on/off switch or other means of disconnect from the 120 or 220 Volt power source.
  • Digital demos or videos can be made from battery powered laptops only, and are allowed only to provide data unavailable in any other format. At its discretion, the compliance committee may restrict the operation of the project, or exhibition of specified items, to the time of judging only. Failure to follow these restrictions can result in project disqualification after judging is completed.
  • If applicable, Forms 1C and/or Form 7 should be displayed on the project board. Each signed Form 4 should be available, but not displayed.

The Santa ClaraValley Science and Engineering Fair Association will disqualify any exhibit which, in its opinion, does not comply with all preceding Project Display Rules.

Loss or Damage

The Santa ClaraValley Science and Engineering Fair Association assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to any project or project part. Valuable items should be simulated or removed when the student is not present at his/her project.

Projects not removed by 6:30 PM on Fair Day may be destroyed.