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  1. Any 6th through 12th grade student who has not attained the age of 21 in a public, private, parochial, or home school in Douglas, Sarpy or Washington Counties may enter a project in the Metropolitan Science and Engineering Fair (MSEF). MSEF is the only means for students in the Eastern Region to qualify for the Nebraska Junior Academy of Sciences (NJAS).

  2. MSEF accepts projects from either individuals or teams of two. An individual or team may enter only one project and it must be the personal work of that individual or the members of the team. Refer to MSEF Rule 5 for additional rules and regulations relating to team projects.

  3. All MSEF/NJAS project entries are expected to comply with entry rules of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). NEW: Middle School projects have the option of completing the “NJAS Junior Division” Approval Form.

    This includes a Research Plan/Project Summary (Form 1A) and Approval Form (Form 1B). Forms 1A and 1B, a Research Plan and projects requiring Safety Review Committee (SRC) MUST have forms completed BEFORE experimental research begins! Research plans involving humans, vertebrates, and potentially hazardous biological agents MUST receive Safety Review Committee (SRC) approval BEFORE actual experimental RESEARCH BEGINS! The contact information for the MSEF SRC is Start with ISEF Rules Wizard: This wizard includes clickable form links and also helps with rules questions.  Use the following only for retrieving ISEF forms after use of the ISEF Rules Wizard.

  4. Any projects involving live vertebrate animals or human subjects must comply with ISEF Life Research Rules. Projects involving DNA, tissue, pathogenic agents or controlled substances require additional forms, which may be downloaded from the ISEF web site

  5. Team Projects consist of two members. A team project cannot be converted to an individual project without authorization. A new member may not be added to a continuing Team Project. Both members of the team should be able to serve as spokesperson, be fully involved with the project, and be familiar with all aspects of the project. The final work should reflect the coordinated efforts of both team members and will be evaluated using the same rules and judging criteria as individual projects.

  6. Registration:

    • Individual project submissions due by February 12:

      • Electronic submissions:

        • MSEF Digital Registration Form (includes student's name, title, and abstract)

        • Form 1 (Checklist for Adult Sponsor), Form 1A (Student Checklist), Form 1B (Approval Form). Projects from Grades 6-8 can opt to use the “NJAS Junior Division” Approval Form in lieu of Forms 1, 1A, and 1B.

        • Research Plan (a 1-2 page outline composed by the student) ▪ other required forms as determined by ISEF Rules Wizard

        • $10 entry fee (payable to MSEF)

    • Team project submissions requirements due by February 12

      • Electronic submission:

        • One MSEF Digital Registration Form (includes both partners' names, title, and abstract)

        • Form 1B (Approval Form) for Partner #1, Form 1B (Approval Form) for Partner #2, Form 1 (Checklist for Adult Sponsor), Form 1A (Student Checklist). Projects from Grades 6-8 can opt to use the “NJAS Junior Division” Approval Form in lieu of Forms 1, 1A, and 1B. ▪

        • Research Plan (a 1-2 page outline composed by the team; Include in the outline each person's tasks)

        • Other required forms as determined by ISEF Rules Wizard

        • $20 entry fee (payable to MSEF)

    • Forms and a non-refundable registration fee of $10.00 per student MUST be received by February 12, 2024. Schools may request an invoice if submitting entry fees for their participating students. Individuals must pay by check (payable to MSEF, Inc.). Applications received after this date will not be accepted unless the MSEF Rules Chair is contacted before then.

    • While electronic submissions are requested, correspondence and individual fees must be sent to:

      • MSEF 2001 S. 6th St. Omaha, NE 68108

    • Forms or additional information may be obtained by contacting the MSEF Rules Chair, Dave Dow, at, or visiting MSEF website at

  7. Categories of Projects: Participants’ projects must be classified into one of the following categories on the registration form.

  8. Category selection is the responsibility of the student and teacher. ISEF category descriptions are detailed at . The MSEF Judging Chair may change category designation to allow similar types of projects to be judged together. On the day of the fair, if the judges feel that a particular project is misclassified, it may be transferred to a more appropriate category with the approval of the judging teams involved and the fair director.

  9. Display Guidelines:

    • A. Project Display exhibit size is limited to 76 centimeters deep (front to back), 122 centimeters wide (side to side), and 274 centimeters high (floor to top).

    • B. Technical Rules

      • (1) NO plants, chemicals (including water unless supplied by MSEF/NJAS), live animals, flames, flammable materials, or other potentially hazardous or unsafe materials are permitted at the fair. See checklist on next page.

      • (2) Except for certain basic supplies (e.g. tables, 110 volt power supply link-up, etc.), all materials should be supplied and set up by the participant. The participant is responsible for the cost of such materials and supplies and their protection and care. The MSEF/NJAS assumes no responsibility for loss of or damage to projects. Secure or remove valuable items.

      • (3) All technical rules of the current International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) will be followed whenever applicable, except as noted in the preceding rules.

  10. Judging will be done within the specific procedures announced to the entrants. Entrants must be present for judging to be eligible for awards.

  11. Projects will be rated according to the following criteria used by Nebraska Junior Academy of Sciences:

    • 60% Scientific Method or Engineering Goals

    • 20% Communication Skills (oral, written and visual)

    • 20% Personal Growth (relevance of project, creative thinking, age-appropriate understandings, attitude)

  12. MSEF awards presentation, including the announcement of NJAS qualifiers, will occur on Tuesday, March 27, 2024 at Lauritzen Gardens. Invited participants are highly encouraged to attend with a family member.

  13. All participants will receive a certificate. Superior projects will be awarded a plaque, trophy or other honor for the participant

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