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Program Information
Rules and Regulations

Intel STS

Make sure you read and understand the following rules and regulations before you start your entry. You might want to review them with a teacher or advisor.

For the complete set of rules, regulations, and instructions click the Document Library link to the left.

Please read these Web pages carefully. Follow rules and complete forms as required: failure to do so may disqualify your entry.


  1. Any student who is enrolled in and attending their last year of secondary school (public, private, or parochial) in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Wake and Midway Islands, and the Marianas; or
  2. Any American student (a United States citizen) enrolled in their last year of secondary school attending:
    1. a Department of Defense Dependents School or an accredited overseas American or International School; or
    2. a foreign school as an exchange student; or
    3. a foreign school because his/her parent(s) are temporarily working and living abroad.
  3. Entrants must have completed the high school courses required for college applications and must not have entered any previous STS. Check with a counselor to verify; have them complete Part IV.
  4. Sons and daughters of Society for Science & the Public employees, Science Talent Search Evaluators or Judges are not eligible to enter the Science Talent Search.


  1. Each student may enter only once, must be able to attest to all statements in the signature block on p. 3 and submit a signed entry to be eligible for judging.
  2. The research project must be the work of a single student. There is no time limit on the length of research. Student group or team projects are not eligible.
  3. Each student’s report, including title page, text, and all appendices, tables/charts, etc., may not exceed 20 pages total. Students should select a report format which suits their research. At their discretion, judges may disqualify reports that exceed the 20-page limit.

    The entire entry must be submitted on 8 ½ X 11 inch single-sided paper. Your name must appear in the upper right-hand corner of each page, which must have at least a one-inch margin and be double-spaced in a legible text font of 12 pt. STS records and proceedings remain the sole property of Society for Science & the Public.
  4. Each entry must include the STS Entry Form. Students must complete Parts I and II. Part III must be completed by one (but no more than three) teacher/advisor(s). Part IV must be completed by the guidance office and signed by the principal and submitted in a sealed envelope that also contains an official signed/sealed copy of the student’s high school transcript and standardized test scores to-date. (SAT, ACT, etc.)

    A student who attended a summer or pre-college research program, or worked in a scientist’s laboratory, and based an Intel STS entry on that research, must have the Supervising Scientist complete Part IIA, which addresses the student’s independence and creativity. Other Supplemental Forms, also to be signed by the Supervising Scientist, may be required due to research.
  5. No projects involving live non-human vertebrate animal experimentation will be eligible.

    Live vertebrates are defined as any live, non-human vertebrate, mammalian embryo or fetus, bird and reptile eggs within three days (72 hours) of hatching, and all other vertebrates at hatching or birth.

    Excluded from the above rule are:
    1. Projects involving animals in their natural environment that are non-invasive and non-intrusive studies (i.e. observational, behavioral) that do not affect an animal’s health or well-being by causing stress, discomfort or pain and in which the student will have no physical contact with the animal(s).
    2. OR
    3. Projects being conducted in a registered institution or laboratory where animal experimentation is taking place and in which the student will have no physical contact with the animal(s); and
      1. the student works only with non-living material (e.g., tissue, blood) that has been supplied to the student by the supervising scientist; and
      2. the animal(s) involved is sacrificed for a purpose other than the research being done by the student.
    All of the abovementioned projects MUST have a Non-human Vertebrate Animal Exception Form completed by the Supervising Scientist, which attests to compliance with this rule. The completed form may be enclosed with the entry or sent separately, but MUST arrive at Society for Science & the Public no later than 8:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday, November 19, 2008.
  6. All research involving human subjects, including any revisions, must be reviewed and approved by an appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to the start of research.

    A human subject is defined as a person about whom an investigator (professional or student) conducting scientific research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the person or (2) identifiable, private information.

    It is incumbent upon the student researcher and newly-forming Institutional Review Boards to consult authoritative resources on human subject study guidelines. Ongoing education in proper research methodology and risk/benefit determination is paramount. Student researchers should weigh all factors when considering research in human behavior or biomedical research; protection for themselves and their subjects from risk should be a primary consideration.

    Completion of the on-line certificate-granting training at is strongly recommended for students prior to planning any human subject study and for new high school IRBs or any new IRB members. Additional resources may be found at the websites: and


Once a study population is chosen, the student researcher must assess any potential physical and/or psychological risks when developing the research plan. In evaluating risk, students and IRBs must use the following federal definition of minimal risk as a guide:

No more than minimal risk exists when the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater (in and of themselves) than those ordinarily encountered in DAILY LIFE or during performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.

The following risk groups require additional safeguards because they have been judged as vulnerable to coercion or undue influence:

    1. Any member of a group that is naturally at-risk (e.g., pregnant women, individuals with diseases such as cancer, asthma, diabetes, cardiac disorders, psychiatric disorders, dyslexia, AIDS, etc.)
    2. Special vulnerable groups that are covered by federal regulations (e.g. children/minors, prisoners, pregnant women, mentally disabled persons, or economically or educationally disadvantaged persons)
    The following are examples of activities that contain more than minimal risk:
    1. Physical
      1. Exercise other than ordinarily encountered in DAILY LIFE by that subject.
      2. Ingestion of any substance or exposure to any potentially hazardous materials.
    2. Psychological
      1. Any activity (e.g. survey, questionnaire, viewing of stimuli) or experimental condition that could potentially result in emotional stress. For example, answering questions related to personal experiences such as sexual, physical or child abuse, divorce and/or psychological well-being (e.g. depression, anxiety, suicide) must be considered more than minimal risk. Additionally, research activities that involve exposing subjects to stimuli or experimental conditions that could potentially result in emotional stress must also be considered more than minimal risk. Examples include violent or distressing video images, distressing written materials or activities that could potentially result in feelings of depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem in subjects.
      2. Any activity that could potentially result in negative consequences for the subject due to invasion of privacy or breech of confidentiality. When research activities involve collection of personal information (e.g. history of abuse, drug use, opinions, fingerprints) or health-related data (genetic material, blood, tissue) the researcher must consider risks related to invasion of privacy and possible breech of confidentiality. Ways to reduce these risks include collecting data anonymously or developing data collection procedures that make it impossible to link any identifying information (e.g. subject’s name) with his/her responses or data.


The process of obtaining informed consent provides information to the subject about the risks and benefits associated with participation in the research study and allows the subject to make an educated decision about whether or not to participate. Informed consent is an on-going process, not a single event that ends with a signature on a page. It must incorporate procedures that do not involve coercion or deception.

Documentation of informed consent is required:

    1. When the IRB determines that a research study involves physical or psychological activities with more than minimal risk;
    2. When the IRB determines that the project could potentially result in emotional stress to a research subject;
    3. When the IRB determines that the research subjects belong to a risk group.


An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee that, according to federal regulations (45-CFR-46), must evaluate the potential physical and/or psychological risk of research involving human subjects. All proposed human research must be reviewed and approved by an IRB before experimentation begins. This includes any surveys or questionnaires to be used in a project.

An IRB at a school level must consist of a minimum of three members. Teachers and advisors who oversee a specific project must not serve on the IRB reviewing that project. Additional members are recommended to help avoid this conflict of interest and to increase the expertise of the committee.

A school level IRB must include: (1) a science teacher and (2) a school administrator (preferably, a principal or vice principal) and (3) one of the following who is knowledgeable and capable of evaluating the physical and/or psychological risk involved in a given study: a physician, psychiatrist, physician’s assistant, registered nurse, licensed psychologist, or licensed social worker.

IRBs exist at federally registered institutions (e.g., universities, medical centers, NIH, correctional facilities). The institutional IRB must initially review and approve all proposed research conducted at, or sponsored by, that institution.
  1. Completed, signed entries for the 67th Annual Science Talent Search (2007-2008) must be received at Intel Science Talent Search, Society for Science & the Public, 1719 N Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036-2888 no later than 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 14, 2007. We recommend that students submit their entries as early as possible to avoid missing the deadline. Late and/or incomplete entries will not be accepted.

    It is strongly advised that the entire Intel STS entry book be read completely by entrants, teachers, and interested parties to ensure that rules and expectations are thoroughly understood and met. Entry in the Intel STS involves the time and effort of many people, all working to meet the aforementioned deadline. An appreciation of the investment made on behalf of STS entrants annually by teachers, administrators, mentors and counselors adds to the experience of students who enter the Intel STS in subsequent years.


The Science Talent Search, like colleges and universities across the nation, expects that students hold themselves to rigorous ethical standards, both academic and personal, as created by shared expectations of the educational community. Responsibility for integrity in scholarship is inherently the scholar’s, including the student scholar.

Students must review all aspects of their work’s authenticity: research, writing and entry application essays. The required signature box, on p. 3 of the Entry Form, asks each student to attest to every statement, and by their signature, claim each one to be true or understood. The responsibility to present independent work and adhere to STS rules rests with the student, with the guidance of faculty and adult advisors.

Intellectual Property

Your independent research project for the Intel STS may have produced findings that are your Intellectual Property (IP), with rights and implications attached. Your participation in STS will require disclosure of your methods and results; they will be made available to the public. If you have any concerns that your IP will be compromised in any way, please review these issues with supervising scientists and qualified adult advisors to make an informed decision before entering STS.


The Intel Science Talent Search scholarship conditions are currently being redrafted and will be posted when completed this summer.

© 2008 Society for Science & the Public. All Rights Reserved.
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