FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

ISEF

Eligibility

Application Process

Working on the Project

If I’m Selected to the Team


Regeneron ISEF

What are the dates of Regeneron ISEF?

Regeneron ISEF 2023 will take place from May 13-19 in Dallas, Texas. Team Canada-ISEF will participate in-person.


Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply to Team Canada-ISEF?
Any Canadian student (citizen or Permanent Resident) in grades 9 to 12 (secondaire III, IV, V and Cégep I or II in Quebec) and who has not reached the age of 21 on May 1 is eligible to participate in that year’s Regeneron ISEF. All individual applicants, and at least one member of a pair application to Team Canada-ISEF must have either (a) previously attended at least one Canada-Wide Science Fair, YSC Online STEM Fair or ISEF, (b) attended at least one national Sanofi Biogenius Canada event, or (c) have approval from Youth Science Canada.

Who receives an invitation to apply?
All past CWSF, YSC Online STEM Fair and Team Canada-ISEF finalists who are currently in high school receive an invitation by email. Finalists whose email address has changed since the CWSF may not receive the invitation.

How many students are invited to apply for Team Canada-ISEF?
Approximately 1000 email invitations are sent to past CWSF and ISEF participants each year.

Can I apply in French?
Youth Science Canada welcomes applications for Team Canada-ISEF in both official languages. Applicants and candidates may submit their materials (i.e., the Research Proposal, Project Report, and PowerPoint presentation) in English or French; however, the ISEF forms provided must be completed in English.The Team Canada Screening and Selection Panels will evaluate and interview applicants and candidates in either English or French. At least one Team Canada-ISEF adult supervisor will be fluent in French. Please note: As a U.S.-based competition, the primary language of Regeneron ISEF is English. Regeneron ISEF organizers will provide translators during judging for students who prefer to present their project in another language; however, most Regeneron ISEF judges speak English only.

Can I apply for Team Canada-ISEF with my CWSF project from last year?
The Regeneron ISEF 2023 Rules state that projects will be judged on work carried out during any continuous 12-month period between January 2022 and May 2023. This means that a project started in January 2022 and exhibited in the Canada-Wide Science Fair in May 2022 can be continued up to December 2022, and then exhibited at ISEF in May 2023. This rule is strictly enforced by Regeneron ISEF and all projects are carefully screened to ensure that the work falls within the required dates. Be sure that you can document, via your project notes, that you did your project within a twelve-month period. If the project is a continuation of a previous project, in-depth documentation of the previous project will be required, and the continuation must show substantial new work.

Are all projects evaluated by the Team Canada-ISEF Selection Panel?
No. Experience shows that the Selection Panel can evaluate a maximum of 30 projects in the time available. Project proposals, which must be submitted by midnight Pacific Time at the end of December 15th, will be reviewed by January 15 and a short-list of candidates will be prepared. All applicants will be notified of their status by early February. Projects that are not selected to the short-list are still eligible for participation in their regional science fair and for selection to the CWSF.

How good does my project have to be?
Experience has shown that projects need to be of CWSF medal quality to be selected to Team Canada-ISEF. This also explains our remarkable level of success at ISEF. If your project didn’t win a medal at the CWSF, but you believe you have improved it so that it is now at that level, you are welcome to apply. CWSF finalists learn a lot from participating and seeing top projects.

Are Sanofi Biogenius Canada projects eligible?
Yes. Youth Science Canada will accept applications from students who have competed in Sanofi Biogenius Canada; however, only individuals and teams of two will be considered for selection. Note: Starting in 2022, the national Sanofi Biogenius Canada competition was part of the Canada-Wide Science Fair and the regional competitions took place at YSC-affiliated regional STEM fairs.


Application process

Should I apply to both Team Canada-ISEF and my regional science fair?
Yes. We expect that all students who enter the Team Canada-ISEF competition will also enter their regional science fair, ensuring that all unsuccessful applicants for Team Canada-ISEF have the opportunity to compete for a place at the CWSF. The decision regarding which students and projects represent a region at the CWSF rests solely with the regional science fair committee; Team Canada-ISEF finalists are not eligible to participate in the CWSF during the same year.

If my region sends finalists directly to ISEF, can I compete for a place at ISEF through Team Canada AND my region?
No. Students may apply for a place at Regeneron ISEF through Youth Science Canada OR their regional organization, but not both. Your region will be informed if you are selected as a short-listed Team Canada-ISEF Candidate. Regeneron ISEF rules specify that you may only have one chance to be selected for Regeneron ISEF.

How are finalists selected?
Candidates selected to the final short-list in January are required to submit a project report and completed application forms by the deadline in March. The Selection Panel reviews the reports and conducts a 20-minute telephone interview with each short-list candidate. It is important to understand that this is a high-level competition and only a small number of team members are selected.

Who is on the Selection Panel?
The Selection Panel includes academic specialists from scientific and technological fields, as well as Team Canada-ISEF alumni, who are well prepared to evaluate the projects presented. The Youth Science Canada Executive Director provides administrative support.

When will I be notified of the results?
The Selection Panel calls all applicants by telephone the same day final selections have been made – usually between 5:00PM and 6:00PM.

What are the requirements for the Project Report?
The requirements are almost identical to the CWSF project report. Prepare a project summary that is concise, clear, and of the highest quality. It is a key part of the judging process and includes the following:

  • a maximum of 5 letter-size pages, including graphs, diagrams, and charts, plus an appendix of up to two extra pages for references and bibliography
  • single spaced in a minimum of 12 point text
  • background, purpose and hypothesis (why the project was done)
  • procedure (brief outline of the significant materials and methods used)
  • results and conclusions (no raw data are to be included)
  • acknowledgments (recognition of those who provided significant assistance in the form of guidance, materials and facilities)
  • an appendix of one or two pages, in addition to the five pages above, may be included for for references and bibliography
  • a footer on each page in 8 point text giving the date, your name, project title and page number

Working on the project

Which forms need to be signed before research begins?
Read the Application Process page as well as the Regeneron ISEF International Rules & Guidelines.

Can I work with a new partner who has not participated at the national level?
Yes, as long as one of the team members has participated at the national level, so that the team is aware of what is expected and the project meets competitive standards.

Where can I get help to make sure I am following the Regeneron ISEF rules?
For questions on projects involving human subjects, non-human vertebrate animals, recombinant DNA, pathogens, human and animal tissue and controlled substances, please contact Patrick Whippey – SRC Chair.

Do I have to finish my project by the time the final application is due?
In most cases, yes. While we realize that on the selection date, you may still have work to do on the project, the Selection Panel must base its decision on the scientific merit of the results and analysis presented in your report, presentation and interview. If your results and/or analysis are significantly incomplete, it is unlikely that your project will be selected.


If I’m selected to the team…

Is the trip all-expenses paid?
Youth Science Canada and its sponsors, including Youth Can Innovate, cover all costs associated with participation, other than personal incidental expenses. Canadian students living outside Canada are responsible for their travel to a Canadian airport.

How does Team Canada-ISEF travel to ISEF?
Team Canada-ISEF finalists travel to the host city by air from a Canadian airport. Travel details vary depending on the location of each finalist.

Can a parent/guardian attend ISEF with me?
While parents/guardians are welcome to attend ISEF as visitors, participation in the event, as well as travel and accommodation as part of Team Canada is not permitted. Travel to an international event as part of a national team is an experience of a lifetime – one that requires the team members to be independent and to focus on the experience and the competition. Highly qualified adult supervision is provided at all times and the team is expected to travel, eat and participate in activities as a group. Parents/guardians who want to be part of the team create additional stress for the finalists and the adult chaperones, particularly when the needs and plans of the Team and those of the parents/guardians conflict. Parents/guardians who choose to travel to ISEF must make their own arrangements for travel (flights and local transportation), accommodation and meals. Parents/guardians can arrange with the Fair Director to meet up with their son or daughter a few times during the week, such as at public ISEF events. The Fair Director can indicate in advance those days and times that would work best.

Can I participate in the Canada-Wide Science Fair if I am selected for Team Canada-ISEF?
No. If you are selected to Team Canada-ISEF your region will be notified and you will be ineligible for selection to the CWSF.

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