The State Science Review Committee (SRC) reviews each project entered into the TXSEF for eligibility. Each project must be cleared by the SRC prior to project setup. The volunteer-based SRC includes at least one biomedical scientist, one science educator, and one other member. Members of the SRC are knowledgeable about research subject matter and regulations, review required forms for entries, and address any problems before projects are allowed to set up. The SRC looks for “red flags” that may require additional forms or project eligibility. The goal of the SRC is to ensure that all projects are safe and meet the guidelines set by the ISEF.
What are common SRC red flags?
- Human Subjects
If your child used human subjects, a consent form for each subject must be obtained.
- Vertebrate Animals
If your child used vertebrate animals, the vertebrate animal form must be completed.
- Hazardous Materials
- Certified Laboratories
Experimentation involving the culturing of potentially hazardous biological agents, even BSL-1 organisms, is prohibited in a home environment. However, specimens may be collected at home as long as they are immediately transported to a laboratory with the BSL containment determined by the affiliated fair SRC. For more information about Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Rules please review ISEF rules.
The following types of studies involve BSL-1 organisms and are exempt from prior SRC review and require no additional forms:
- Studies involving baker’s yeast and brewer’s yeast, except in rDNA studies.
- Studies involving Lactobacillus, Bacillus thuringiensis, nitrogen-fixing, oil-eating bacteria, and algae-eating bacteria introduced into their natural environment. (Not exempt if cultured in a petri dish environment.)
- Studies involving water or soil microbes not concentrated in media conducive to their microbial growth.
- Studies of mold growth on food items if the experiment is terminated at the first evidence of mold.
- Studies of slime molds and edible mushrooms.
- Studies involving E. coli k-12 (and other strains of E. coli used solely as a food source for C. elegans) that are performed at school and are not subject to additional rules for recombinant DNA studies or use of anitbiotic resistant organisms.