Why should I participate in SVSEF?

A STEM project is one of the most authentic “real world” work you can do as a middle or high school student. In a work environment, you’ll be given projects that require you to create solutions, meet deadlines, and explain your project. Many of SVSEF’s participants from previous years' fairs reported that discussing their projects with the judges was their favorite part of the process. Being a SVSEF participant also means you’ll get to see the work done by both your friends and students from other schools. Moreover, since less than 6% of K-12 students participate in a science fair, your inclusion makes it a “stand out” item on your college applications.

Click here to hear how Dr. Daly's high school science fair project not only changed his life but is now paving the way for planetary defense.

What's the process for entering SVSEF?



(B)  Check the UNACCEPTABLE PROJECTS LIST FIRST, then do a background search to get an idea and pointers for designing your project. 

(C)  ATTEND 1 OR MORE SVSEF CLINICS: We will have these virtual student training sessions on how to do science and engineering projects. There will also be a separate virtual teacher clinic that covers these science and engineering project guidelines and general guidance on helping students do successful projects.

(D)  After you have decided on a project, go to the SVSEF ENTRY FORM to complete an application. SVSEF’s STEM Science Review Committee (SRC) reviews each application for safety, ethics, and grade-level appropriateness.

(E)  If everything in your application is complete, you’ll receive an email that says “Approved.” If your project is incomplete (some projects require additional forms from ISEF to be completed), or has grade level, safety, or ethics issues, an email will be sent to you saying “Needs additional work.”

(F)  Once your application is approved, then you’ll begin work on your project.

(G)  If you need help with your project, contact to find a mentor.

(H)  You’ll need a bound notebook AND a science and engineering fair trifold poster board.  The notebook is where you record ALL of your data, designs, and project ideas. Take pictures, make sketches, graph your data, and analyze your results with the statistics you learned by attending the clinic. Then, write them up for your display board (see Project Display Rules and Helpful hints) and summarize them for your abstract.

Do I have to work alone?

No, you may either work alone or with ONE partner. If you do a team project, be sure you divide the work equally between the two of you.

What are the key deadlines for SVSEF?

While we will be accepting project registrations starting November 4, 2022, the Entry Application deadline is 5:00 PM on December 15, 2022. (Note: SRC approval in the process is OK.)

Your completed project board drop-off will be at Live Oak High School Gym, 1505 E. Main  Monterey Road, Morgan Hill, between 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM on February 8, 2023.

If you miss these deadlines, you can’t participate in SVSEF!

I'm interested in robotics. What if I'd rather do an engineering project?

SVSEF has categories for experiments and investigations. Engineering, math, and computer science projects are examples of work that go into the Engineering category. If you have a goal rather than a hypothesis, then your project probably belongs in the investigation category. See the Science & Engineering Practices Diagram and the Engineering Clinic Presentation links for help.

What is the Synopsys Championship?

It’s the Santa Clara County Science and Engineering Fair for all 6th-12th grade students; it’s held in March at the Santa Jose McEnery Convention Center. Many students within the county also choose to compete in this fair. The top winners of the Synopsys Championship go on to compete at ISEF and/or CSSEF.


What if I want to participate in the Synopsys Championship too?

As a “feeder” fair to the Synopsys Championship, SVSEF wants you to! SVSEI will even provide a voucher so you don't have to pay the Synopsys Championship's registration fee.

There’s the time between the two fairs to take what you’ve learned during SVSEF judging to make improvements in your project for the county competition. But remember, there are separate applications and deadlines for the Synopsys Championship. See for this information.