Junior Division

Project Restrictions     School Registration for SEFI     NIRSEF Registration

Overview of registration process for local fair coordinators, teachers, parents, and/or sponsors. More details on each step are further down this page.

  1. Log into the Science Education Foundation of Indiana (SEFI) website before the end of the calendar year to let us know your school is participating this year
  2. Enter in names of all students participating in your local fair
  3. Select students to attend NIRSEF. Help the student enter their project title, category, and an abstract (short description of project). Returning schools can send as many projects as they've sent in previous years. In general, schools can send twice as many students as the number of grades participating in the school science fair. Schools with large participation can request additional spaces.
  4. When project and student information is complete, check "Advance to Regionals" within SEFI website
  5. Register students for NIRSEF through the Notre Dame website. They must register through this website or they will not receive a virtual check-in time.

Project Restrictions


  • Projects should be evaluated for potential safety risk using the linked Rules Wizard. See below for prohibited research.
  • Forms 1-Checklist For Adult Sponsor, 1A, 1B along with any SRC or IRB forms MUST be completed and brought to the NIRSEF.

The following are prohibited in K-8 Science Fair Projects with NO Exceptions

  • Radioactive substances or equipment that emits any form of ionizing radiation
  • Hazardous Chemicals or reagents, DEA Controlled substances, tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, firearms or explosives.
  • Biological Agents Experiments at Home projects that use or study microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, prions, fungi and parasites. Some research may be possible if conducted in a high school under the supervision of a properly trained teacher.
  • Vertebrate Animal Research involving pain, withholding of food or water.All Vertebrate animal research should be reviewed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Class IV Lasers (All use of lower class lasers must be under direct supervision of a qualified adult)

The following types of research are discouraged but can be permitted with advanced permission. Students must have their projects approved by our Safety Review Committee BEFORE starting their research (check if a project requires pre-approval)!

  • Junior level students (Grades 6 - 8) are DISCOURAGED from conducting research using hazardous biological materials (bacteria, DNA, fungi, molds, etc.) where the materials must be cultured. If you plan to do this research, you must do it in a BioSafety Level 2 laboratory and have all correct forms submitted to the NIRSEF Safety Review Committee (SRC) BEFORE experimentation.
  • Human Subjects may be used only if all experimentation is conducted under adult supervision and student researchers have notified parents of the conditions of the experiment and provided the opportunities for subjects to opt out of participation. All guidelines for human participants research must be followed and forms submitted to an IRB committee BEFORE experimentation begins.
  • Animal Behavior Studies Research projects should be reviewed by a Veterinarian to ensure the safety of the student and animal. All Vertebrate animal studies MUST be of an observational nature and not be done with any animals other than family pets. 
  • If you wish to do an animal research project, please use invertebrates!

All Safety Review Committee (SRC) or Institutional Review Board (IRB) forms can be completed on the SEFI Project registration site or can be downloaded from the Society for Science and the Public site.

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School and Project Registration


All teachers should read through the following information about registering your school and student projects for the NIRSEF.

  1. Register your school by logging in to the SEFI website to activate your account for the current school year by January 1, 2024.
    • Returning Local Fair Coordinators select "Teacher Login" and reactivate your account by entering your school email address and password from the last year you sent students (you may also retrieve your password online). 
    • New Local Fair Coordinators select "New Teacher Registration," select Northern Indiana, then your school, and enter your information.
  2. Enter the names of all students participating in your local fair into the SEFI website. If you have a large number, you can send an excel spreadsheet of names to NIRSEF.
  3. February 15, 2024 is the last day for Local Fair Directors to Register Student Projects for NIRSEF via the SEFI website - this means ALL information must be finalized and each student must be selected to advance to the Regional. After you have decided which students will advance to NIRSEF, enter the student's project title, category and abstract. Once student and project information is finalized, check "advance to regionals". If you need to edit something after, you will have to uncheck the box, edit, then recheck the box.
  4. You may advance 2 students for each grade level in your school to NIRSEF. For example, if your school is grades 6-8 you can send 6 students, but they could all be from 8th grade. Additional spaces may be granted on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration the number of projects you will be judging at your Local Fairs. This is another reason to input all of your students participating in your local fair and not just those advancing to NIRSEF!
  5. Once registered, teachers who want to check on their students' progress in entering project information can login at http://www.sefi.org/register/ and do so. Click on "Student Listing" and you will see a list of your students. When you click on "View", you will can check on each section of your student's information.


Exhibitors are required to include an abstract with their projects. The purpose of having an abstract is to provide judges at the NIRSEF and the Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair an opportunity to evaluate projects early for potential safety risks and judging assignments. 

Abstract Writing Tips

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NIRSEF Registration

All exhibitors attending the NIRSEF should register online as soon as possible so we can provide information about the virtual platform check-in. The $15 fee may be paid online by the participant or the school. If your school is paying the $15 per student registration fee, please pay online and advise your students to select ‘my school is paying my fee’ when they register for NIRSEF. Students still need to register even if the school is paying. If your school does not allow online payment by debit, credit, or electronic check, please contact the NIRSEF Executive Director for an invoice.

Student registration

School payment


See the SEFI website for a full list of rules. Questions about project eligibility and registration can be directed to NIRSEF.

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