For a project to be suitable for SBC, it must fall within the area of biotechnology or health sciences, including but not limited to the following fields:

Worried that your project doesn’t quite fit? If your project falls outside of the biotechnology or health sciences spheres, or if the methodology violates any rules and regulations below, you’ll be given an opportunity to make changes. Please contact us should you have any questions during the application process.

Your project must also conform to all of the following regulations. Please read them carefully below.

  • Healthcare and medicine;
  • Agriculture and agri-food;
  • Forestry and mining;
  • Food processing;
  • Environmental science and climatology;
  • Biochemistry;
  • Molecular biology;
  • Cellular biology;
  • Microbiology.

Regulations about research involving humans or animals

For safety and ethical reasons, the use of humans or other living vertebrate animals as research subjects for SBC is restricted. Student investigations of biological processes are subject to the same ethics, laws and regulations as any other research. SBC projects that attempt to use humans or animals as subjects in an unregulated manner are prohibited.

HUMANS

Where human subjects are involved, every care must be taken to protect the privacy of the individuals. Students may undertake research that involves non-invasive protocols under supervision and according to appropriate ethical/legal guidelines. Some examples of non-invasive methods include interviews or surveys, administration of psychometric and other tests, examination of records, and even exercise testing. Invasive procedures such as the collection of blood, secretions, cells or tissues from individuals are not permitted. It is possible for students to analyze data from such materials if they have been collected as part of a sanctioned research project by professional researchers. Established cell line cultures would be a good example of such material.

Vertebrate Animals

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, the Animals for Research Act of Ontario, and similar legislation in other provinces, all vertebrates used for research are afforded protection. Valuable biological information that is relevant to the higher orders of life can be obtained by investigating lower orders (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, insects, plants and invertebrate animals). SBC projects that propose the use of vertebrate animals (birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians) as subjects in experiments are prohibited.

Cells and animal parts (including organs, tissues, plasma or serum) purchased or acquired from biological supply houses or research facilities may be used in science fair projects, but must not be displayed at the competition. Evidence of the source of the materials (e.g., bill of sale) must be available at the display. If the acquisition involves salvage from another research project, where the animal has been killed for other legitimate purposes in a legal and humane manner, then the disposition to the science fair project must be clearly outlined in the project proposal, and such disposition must have been approved by the Research Committee or the Animal Care Committee of the institution involved. Reference to the original project should be made on the SBC project display. If the acquisition involves salvage from the food industry, then the source must be acknowledged.

Restrictions on the display of subject materials or organisms

Public safety is a primary concern for SBC. While subject organisms and materials may be used in your research under the supervision of your mentor and his/her institution, they cannot be exhibited at the SBC competition. Simulations or photographs must be used instead. The following are regulations regarding hazardous biological and chemical materials that will be enforced:

  • Live micro-organisms and vertebrate or non-vertebrate animals are prohibited. Use photographs or other visual media instead.
  • Cells and animal parts (including organs, tissues, plasma or serum) purchased or acquired from biological supply houses or research facilities may be used in science fair projects, but are prohibited at the competition itself. Evidence of the source of the materials (e.g., bill of sale) must be available at the display.
Continued investigations

Participants may not present the same project at more than one SBC competition. If a student chooses to participate in subsequent years, he/she must declare how his/her project improves or significantly differs from a past submission. Any continuing research must document substantial expansion of investigation and students will be judged on the current year’s work only.