Qualified Scientist User Manual
You have been identified as the Qualified Scientist for a student who has registered for the science fair. Congratulations and thank you for your support of the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the students participating in the fair!
Qualified Scientist Role
A Qualified Scientist is defined as a person who has earned a doctoral/professional degree in a scientific discipline related to student’s area of research and/or has extensive experience and expertise in the student’s area of research and is thoroughly familiar with the regulations that govern the student’s area of research. The Adult Sponsor (Teacher, Homeschool parent, club leader) is rarely a Qualified Scientist as defined by ISEF, especially in the junior and intermediate divisions. If you do not fit the description of a Qualified Scientist above, please contact the student or the Adult Sponsor and ask them to remove you from the project.
In cases where the Qualified Scientist supervises a laboratory in which the study is taking place, but is not the person who will be directly supervising the student, the Qualified Scientist also has the right to appoint a Designated Supervisor.
A Qualified Scientist is not required for most projects. In most cases, a Qualified Scientist is only required is the student is working in a regulated research institution or is working with potentially hazardous biological agent.
Depending upon the topic of the project and the proposed location of experimentation, the Qualified Scientist will need to complete and/or sign Form 2: Qualified Scientist Form, Form 3: Risk Assessment, Form 5A/B: Vertebrate Animal Form, Form 6A: Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Form, Form 6B: Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form and/or Form 1C: Regulated Research Institution/Industrial Setting Form.
In order to sign the required form(s) for the student(s), you will need to log in to your account at https://www.STEMisphere.org/PRSEF.
An account was created for you when the student or their Adult Sponsor added your name to the student’s profile. You should have received an email from CSC STEMisphereInfo at STEMisphereInfo@CarnegieScienceCenter.Org with information about how to log in. Please check your junk mail folder if you do not see this email.
Use the link in the email to set your password and log in. If you cannot find the email, navigate to https://www.STEMisphere.org/PRSEF and use the Forgot your Password link to generate a new email.
Once you have logged in, you should see the name(s) of the student(s) whose project(s) you have been assigned to and their project title(s). If you have been assigned to more than one student’s project, you will see them each listed on your screen. For each student, you should also see a list of forms each designated by a number.
The Qualified Scientist may need to sign Form 2: Qualified Scientist Form, Form 3: Risk Assessment Form, Form 5A/B: Vertebrate Animal Form, Form 6A: Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Form, Form 6B: Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form and/or Form 1C: Regulated Research Institution/Industrial Setting Form.
All forms will remain in Required (red background) or Pending Completion status (yellow background) until the required fields have been completed and the appropriate signatures have been added successfully. Once the required information and signatures have been added, the form will be promoted to Ready for Review status (purple).
Filling multiple roles
If you are filling more than one role for one student (parent and qualified scientist for example) or if you are filling different roles for different students (designated supervisor for one and qualified scientist for another), you will need to switch between profiles to access all of the applicable forms. To move between profiles, log in and the look to the horizontal menu just below the black and white speckled area. Click on “Registrations / Forms” and then on “Manage Role Name Forms” to switch to a new role.
Reviewing the project
Before you sign any form which has been assigned to you, review the student’s research plan and the responses to the questions on the form with them. The research plan should include a rationale (background research), a research question, a hypothesis, a procedure, a risk analysis, a proposed method of data analysis and a bibliography with at least five (5) sources.
Once you are familiar with the project, review the PRSEF rulebook and the ISEF rulebook. Both can be found at http://carnegiesciencecenter.org/educators/stemcenter-science-fair-teachers-and-students/.
Completing Form 2: Qualified Scientist Form
This form is to be used by students who are conducting research conducted in a regulated research institution) and/or under the supervision of a Qualified Scientist.
A regulated research institution is an industrial laboratory, professional research/teaching institution which is regularly inspected by the USDA, college/university laboratory, hospital or medical center, federal laboratories like those of the NIH, CDC and veteran’s affairs, pharmaceutical and biotechnology company laboratory, or research institution that utilizes research animals that is not covered by the Animal Welfare Act but has an operational Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and is in compliance with U.S. federal laws – not a middle school or high school science classroom or laboratory.
The purpose of this form is to collect information about the Qualified Scientist and the regulated research institution, to determine if the project requires pre-approval and additional forms, and to ensure that all parties involved have reviewed and agreed to the rules of the competition. This form must be completed and signed by the Qualified Scientist or Designated Supervisor before the start of student experimentation. The form will remain in Pending Completion status until it has been signed by the Qualified Scientist and, when applicable, the Designated Supervisor.
Completing Form 3: Risk Assessment Form
This form is required for ALL projects regardless of the subject and division. It is designed to uncover any risks to the safety of the student or others involved in the project and to ensure that those risks are addressed in a way which ensures the safety of all parties. This form is required for all projects regardless of the level of risk involved.
The student researcher should complete this form. The Qualified Scientist may provide guidance and assistance. Encourage the student to remember that all activities, and all experiments, involve some risk. Even simple everyday activities involve some risk. For example, taking a shower in the morning before going to school involves the potential risk of burns if the water is too hot or slipping on a wet surface.
If the student has responded “N/A” or similar to all of the questions, please do not sign the form. The Scientific Review Committee will not approve the project if the form is completed in that manner. Instead, work with the student to approach the question of risk from a position of curiosity. Some risk can be found in just about any project.
This form will remain in Pending Completion status until all required signatures are provided.
Completing Form 5A/B: Vertebrate Animals Form
Form 5A form is required for all research involving vertebrate animals conducted in a school/home/field research site. Form 5B is required for all research involving vertebrate animals conducted in a regulated research institution. A regulated research institution is an industrial laboratory, professional research/teaching institution which is regularly inspected by the USDA, college/university laboratory, hospital or medical center, federal laboratories like those of the NIH, CDC and veteran’s affairs, pharmaceutical and biotechnology company laboratory, or research institution that utilizes research animals that is not covered by the Animal Welfare Act but has an operational Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and is in compliance with U.S. federal laws. A middle school or high school science classroom or laboratory is not a regulated research institution.
Vertebrate animals, as covered by these rules, are defined as: 1. Live, nonhuman vertebrate mammalian embryos or fetuses, 2. Tadpoles, 3. Bird and reptile eggs within three days (72 hours) of hatching, 4. All other nonhuman vertebrates (including fish) at hatching or birth. Exception: Because of their delayed cognitive neural development, zebrafish embryos are not considered vertebrate animals until 7 days (168 hours) post- fertilization.
As stated in the ISEF rulebook (https://www.societyforscience.org/isef/international-rules/)
“The Society for Science & the Public strongly endorses the use of nonanimal research methods and encourages students to use alternatives to animal research, which must be explored and discussed in the research plan. The guiding principles for the use of animals in research include the following “Four R’s”:
- Replace vertebrate animals with invertebrates, lower life forms, tissue/cell cultures and/or computer simulations where possible.
- Reduce the number of animals without compromising statistical validity.
- Refine the experimental protocol to minimize pain or distress to the animals.
- Respect animals and their contribution to research.”
You will need copies of applicable wildlife licenses or approval forms and copies of IACUC forms and protocol numbers to complete these forms.
Completing Form 6A: Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Form
This form is required for all research involving microorganisms, rDNA, fresh/frozen tissue (including primary cell lines, human and other primate established cell lines and tissue cultures), blood, blood products and body fluids. Refer to the International Rules for Pre-College Science Research: Guidelines for Science and Engineering Fairs at https://www.societyforscience.org/isef/international-rules/ for information about applicable rules regarding biosafety.
Form 6A must be completed by the Qualified Scientist or Designated Supervisor in collaboration with the student researcher(s). All questions are applicable and must be answered; additional page(s) may be attached.
Completing Form 6B: Human Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form
This form is required for all research involving fresh/frozen tissue (including primary cell lines, human and other primate established cell lines and tissue cultures), blood, blood products and body fluids.
If the research involves living organisms, the proper human forms (Form 4 and HIC) or animal forms (Form 5A or 5B) are required as well. All projects using any tissue listed above must also complete Form 6A. Refer to the International Rules for Pre-College Science Research: Guidelines for Science and Engineering Fairs at https://www.societyforscience.org/isef/international-rules/ for information about applicable rules regarding tissue studies.
You will need copies of applicable local IRB/IACUC/SRC approval forms to complete this form.
Completing and signing other forms
Provide information: Open each form which is assigned to you by clicking on the red or yellow box with the number of the form. See the form descriptions and instructions for each question for help completing each form. You may need copies of your institution’s IRB/IACUC or other internal review committee’s approval forms to complete these forms.
Save and Sign Form: Once you have completed each form, click on the Sign Form button. On Form 6A and 6B, you may need to click on Save Form, then re-open the form and click on Sign Form.
Confirm responses: Wait for the system to load the form in the gray box before continuing. Review the form which has loaded in the gray box and confirm that your responses were recorded correctly. Click in the box next to the word “Yes” to confirm your responses.
Add signature: Click in the space below the word Signature and above the signature line. Use your mouse or touch pad to add your electronic signature in the box. If your signature is not legible, click on the Clear button to try again. If you are happy with your signature, click on the Accept button. You must click on the Sign button to confirm your signature.
Date of Approval: Enter the date when the idea for the project was first reviewed with the student researcher and experimentation was approved by the Qualified Scientist or Designated Supervisor. This does not need to be today’s date. The Qualified Scientist or Designated Supervisor must review and approve the project before the student begins experimentation.
Experiments which were completed over the summer or for a school science fair will have experimentation dates which are before the date this form was completed. Use this field to enter the date the project was reviewed and approved by the Qualified Scientist or Designated Supervisor, not today’s date. The Date of Approval must be before the tentative start date or actual start date listed by the student on Form 1A.
How to check your signature
Once you have completed and signed the form, click on “Return to forms manager” in red font or on “Registrations / Forms” and then on “Manage Scientist Forms” on the horizontal menu just below the black and white speckled area of the screen. Click on the form you want to check, you should see a red Form Status box on the right side of the screen. Click on “View PDF of Form” in the Form Status box. Check to be sure your signature appears in the right place.