Northeast Indiana
Regional Science and Engineering Fair 

Serving students in Allen, Whitley, Miami, Adams, Kosciusko, Huntington, Wells, and Wabash Counties

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AQUA Indiana

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Huntington University

For Junior Division (Grades K-5)

Categories | Safety | Prohibited | Informed Consent | Registration | Display Rules | Additional Resources


Research projects in grades K-5 are eligible to advance from the school level to NEIRSEF. Projects may be submitted by an individual or a team of up to three people. All K-5 researchers are eligible for Fair and Special Awards. One project in grade 4 and one project in grade 5 will be advanced to the Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair (HSEF).


Decide what type of project you are doing. Click this link to see the types of projects you can enter in NEIRSEF. Projects in grades K-5 are judged by grade level rather than category. Special award judges may use categories to decide whether to interview you for Special Awards.


It is important that your pursuit of science be safe for all involved. For this reason, there are guidelines for students to follow at each level.

Students in grades K-8 do NOT submit ISEF paperwork. The expectation is that your teachers will provide you the rules for a safe and acceptable research project. They will use the Rules for Indiana Elementary and Middle School Science Research to do this. See p. 4 of the document for more on prohibited and restricted research.

Bacteria and Fungi Studies

Per Indiana State Fair rules, no K-5 student projects involving bacteria or fungi can be accepted for entry to an Indiana Regional Fair. There are no exceptions to this rule. (Rules, 2020, p. 9).

Prohibited - No Exceptions

(Jr. Rules, 2020, p. 4)

Informed Consent

(Jr. Rules, 2020, p. 5)

In order for a grade 4 or 5 project involving Human subjects to be eligible for advancement to the Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair, the researcher must complete two ISEF forms (Form 4 and the Human Informed Consent Form) and must submit to review before experimentation begins. This must be done through a properly established Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the school level. If your school has questions about this new policy, please ask them to contact the Fair director.

Informed consent forms must include:

Human subject projects in grades 4 and 5 that are not reviewed by a school level IRB in advance of the start of research may be admissable to NEIRSEF and earn Local and Special awards, but will be ineligible for advancement to HSEF


(Jr. Rules, 2020, pp. 9-10)

All student research projects at NEIRSEF must be advanced by their school or homeschool group. A teacher, principal, or designee must first register as a teacher at the SEFI web site and create a student account for you. NOTE: Only students advanced to the Regional Fair will be entered at the SEFI web site. Your school can only advance a limited number of projects, so this will occur after your school-level fair.

Once your student account is generated, they will be give you a username and password so you can login and add the following details. Your teacher or parent may help you. This information is kept private and used to determine eligibility and to communicate with you before and after the Regional Fair.

You will also be asked to write a Research Plan. This includes:

Students in grades K-3 only need to add their research title and hypothesis/goal. Students in grades 4-5 should also add their experimental design and references. The abstract is optional for K-5 students competing at NEIRSEF. Should you advance to HSEF, you will need to write an abstract before that competition.

Rather than typing this information into the web site, you may choose to download, print, and fill in the Indiana Junior Division Form. You will need to scan and upload this to the site before the competition.

All projects competing at NEIRSEF will be reviewed by the SRC/IRB prior to the competition. Your project cannot be reviewed if you have not completed this paperwork. Project review begins after student registration ends on the Friday two weeks before the fair. In 2024, this date is Friday, February 9, 2024  at 5:00 pm. If you already know your school fair will not be complete by this date, email the Fair Director to reserve spots for your school.

Display Rules

(Jr. Rules, 2020, pp. 6-8)

The NEIRSEF display rules must be followed by all exhibitors at the regional fair, regardless of the rules used at the student's local fair. Fair personnel will inspect all exhibits for compliance with these rules and any non-conforming items must be removed from the display. For a full description of official display rules, review the ISEF Display and Safety Regulations.

Additional Resources

There are several resources available to help guide you as you prepare your research project. NEIRSEF will be adding some support videos soon. Remember, your goal is to do something as original as possible, so use any kits or experiment ideas as a starting point and list them in your references. Here are a few web sites you might consider:

NEIRSEF - Celebrating 69 years in 2024

Purdue University Fort Wayne