University of Southern Indiana

For Exhibitors (9-12)

Senior Division (9-12)

Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair (HSEF) Advancement Track Timeline for Senior Division Projects

What is the Senior Division HSEF Advancement Track for the TSEF?

This registration track is for those exhibitors wishing to compete for Grand Awards, advancement to the 2019 Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair (HSEF), and ultimately, advancement to the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).  Non-HSEF Advancement Track participants are still eligible for local, national, and Honorable Mention Grand Awards.
It will be assumed that exhibitors submitting appropriate paperwork prior to the October 12th deadline are participating in the HSEF Advancement Track. All others will be placed in the Non-HSEF Advancement Track but will still be required to adhere to all International Science and Engineering Fair research safety protocol. Rules for all projects can be investigated at Research papers are required in order to compete in the Senior Division HSEF Advancement Track. 

What is the Senior Division Non-HSEF Advancement Track? 

This registration track is for those exhibitors wishing to compete in the Tri-State Science and Engineering Fair but are unable to meet the October 12th SRC pre-approval submission deadline. Exhibitors competing in this track are still required to follow all ISEF rules and submit paperwork, however ISEF forms and paperwork will not be subject to the scrutiny that those of the HSEF Advancement Track will be.  Research papers are not required for the Non-HSEF Advancement Track. 

Why were the two tracks developed? 

The two tracks were developed to ensure that those wishing to compete for advancement to the HSEF are on track to do so and that their paperwork has been completed properly over the course of their research and that ISEF rules have been followed.  When mistakes are made and forms are overlooked, disqualification at the state level is imminent.  Two tracks gives fair coordinators focus in mentoring students early and often in the process to ensure no one is disqualified after advancement. 

Tip for All Exhibitors: Do not plan to experiment using vertebrates, humans, or potentially hazardous substances if you are not prepared to work under the direct supervision of a qualified scientist in an appropriate facility and gain SRC or IRB approval beforehand. There are many avenues of research that do not require heavy oversight. 

August – October

  • Using, teachers/adult sponsors sign potential exhibitors up for the Tri-State Science and Engineering Fair. This will generate a username and password for each potential exhibitor so that they may log-in later and to upload forms necessary for Safety Review Committee (SRC) approval and to complete registration.
  • Exhibitors should come to a final determination on their project topic and method. 
  • Exhibitors should complete the “Rules Wizard” found at: https://apps2.societyforscienceorg/wizard/index.asp.
  • If necessary, exhibitors should work to locate a qualified scientist to oversee work on the project.            

October 12, 2018 - PRE-EXPERIMENTATION REVIEW                   

Senior division projects, especially those involving human subjects (including anything you are testing on yourself), vertebrate animals, or potentially hazardous chemicals, activities, devices, or biological agents, are required to apply for an SRC pre-experimentation review. Exhibitors wishing to enter the HSEF Track involving any of the aforementioned items, must have the following pieces completed and turned into the TSEF Safety Review Committee via the portal prior to experimentation and prior to October 12, 2018. Exhibitors unable to meet this deadline should plan to compete in the TSEF in the Non-HSEF Advancement Track and are highly discouraged from conducting experiments involving human subjects (including anything you are testing on yourself), vertebrate animals, or potentially hazardous chemicals, activities, devices, or biological agents.  USI’s Safety Review Committee will notify students of approval or rejection within two weeks of submission. If you do not hear back from USI's SRC in two weeks, please follow up at  Experimentation cannot begin until SRC approval has been gained.  Schools are allowed to set up their own SRCs to expedite the approval process if they wish.  Those interested in doing so should contact Allison Grabert, TSEF Director.

  • Research Plan/Project Summary
    1. RATIONALE: Include a brief synopsis of the background that supports your research problem and explain why this research is important and if applicable, explain any societal impact of your research.
    2. RESEARCH QUESTION(S), HYPOTHESIS(ES), ENGINEERING GOAL(S), EXPECTED OUTCOMES: How is this based on the rationale describe above?
      • Procedures: Detail all procedures and experimental design including methods for data collection Describe only your project. Do not include work done by mentors or others.
      • Risk and Safety: Identify any potential risks and safety precautions needed.
      • Data Analysis: Describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results.
    4. BIBLIOGRAPHY: List major references (e.g. science journal articles, books, internet sites) from your literature review.  If you plan to use vertebrate animals, one of these references must be an animal care reference.
  • Checklist for Adult Sponsor (Form 1) –Form must be completed by the adult sponsor to show that the project has been reviewed by them BEFORE THE START OF EXPERIMENTATION.

  • Student Checklist (Form 1A) - Form should be entirely completed by exhibitor.

  • Approval Form (Form 1B)
    1. One form is required for each team member.
    2. Exhibitor and parent must complete box #1.
    3. Dates in box #1 must reflect that approval was given prior to the start date of experimentation and prior to SRC approval in box #2a and 2b.
    4. School-based SRC or USI SRC will sign and date box #2a or #2b.
    5. USI’s SRC will sign box #3 if exhibit advances to the fair and if final approval is met.

October 2018 – February 2019       

  • Exhibitors conduct experiments and work with their qualified scientists, if required, to complete all necessary forms per the “Rules Wizard.” Note that many of the additional forms require signatures prior to the start of experimentation.  Know your forms!
  • Exhibitors complete research paper (required for HSEF track; recommended for non-HSEF track.)
  • All experimentation must be completed by February 8, 2019.
  • Teachers and adult sponsors must enter students into the portal as exhibitors so that students may begin completing their profiles and registration.  Do NOT wait until the February 8 deadline to begin doing this. It is a multi-step registration process. Leave yourself plenty of time to prevent last minute stress. 

February 8, 2019  

  • All Senior Division registrations must be completed by 4pm (CST) via All forms and abstracts are due at this time. Note: Research papers should accompany exhibits at the fair during the judging session.  Research papers are not mandatory for exhibitors competing in the Non-HSEF Advancement Track but are recommended. 

March 7, 2019 

  • Tri-State Science and Engineering Fair Judging

March 30, 2019 

  • Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair, Indianapolis, IN

May 12 – 17, 2019 

  • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Phoenix, AZ

Contact Allison Grabert


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