Rules and Guidelines
Biotechnology can be defined as the use of the knowledge of biological systems to solve problems and to produce goods and services.
1. Suitable Topics
A project is deemed relevant if its content relates to the various applications of biotechnology such as health care, agriculture and forestry, food processing, mining and the environment, etc.; and it applies the knowledge and techniques of the current courses at school and/or other scientific studies such as biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology and biotechnology.
2. Regulations about research involving humans or animals
Students’ ability to use humans or other living vertebrate animals as research subjects for the SBCC is restricted. Student investigations of biological processes are subject to the same ethics, laws and regulations as any other research. The intention of the SBCC is to prohibit students from attempting projects using humans or animals as subjects in an unregulated manner.
In the case where human subjects are involved, every care must be taken to protect the privacy of the individuals. Under supervision and with the appropriate ethical/legal approvals satisfied, students may undertake research that involves non-invasive protocols. Some examples of non-invasive methods might result from interviews or surveys, administration of psychometric and other tests, examination of records, and even exercise testing.
Examples of invasive procedures include the collection of blood, secretions, cells or tissues from individuals. It is possible for students to analyze data from such materials if they have been collected as part of a sanctioned research project by qualified researchers. Established cell line cultures would be a good example of such material.
In the Criminal Code of Canada, the Animals for Research Act of Ontario, and similar legislation in other provinces, all vertebrates used for research, are afforded protection. The Act also covers animal use in educational exhibits, classroom and laboratory teaching. Valuable biological information that is relevant to the higher orders of life can be obtained by investigating lower orders (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, insects, plants and invertebrate animals).The SBCC Proposal Evaluation Committee will also reject any submissions that propose the use of vertebrate animals (birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians) as subjects in experiments.
Biological experimentation is subject to legal restrictions including, among others in various jurisdictions:
- Criminal Code of Canada, Section 446, Cruelty to Animals;
- Convention for International Trade on Endangered Species;
- Canadian Wildlife Service;
- Health of Animals Act, Bill C-66;
- Guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care;
- Animals for Research Act (Ontario).
Cells and animal parts (including organs, tissues, plasma or serum) purchased or acquired from biological supply houses or research facilities may be used in science fair projects, but must not be displayed at the competition. Evidence of the source of the materials (e.g., bill of sale) must be available at the display. If the acquisition involves salvage from another research project, where the animal has been killed for other legitimate purposes in a legal and humane manner, then the disposition to the science fair project must be part of the original research proposal, and such disposition must have been approved by the Research Committee or the Animal Care Committee of the institution involved. Reference to the original project should be made on the science project display. If the acquisition involves salvage from the food industry, then the source must be acknowledged.
3. Restrictions on the display of subject materials or organisms
The primary concern at the SBCC competition is that of public safety. Many subject organisms and materials that may be used acceptably in your research under the supervision and approval of your mentor and his/her institution, are not permissible for exhibition purposes at the SBCC competition. Simulations or photographs can be substituted.
The following are regulations regarding hazardous biological and chemical materials that will be enforced.
- Live micro-organisms and vertebrate or non-vertebrate animals are prohibited. Use photographs or other visual media.
- Cells and animal parts (including organs, tissues, plasma or serum) purchased or acquired from biological supply houses or research facilities may be used in science fair projects, but must not be displayed at the competition. Evidence of the source of the materials (e.g., bill of sale) must be available at the display.
4. Scientific Process
The project must include scientific experiments that recognize and control all significant variables and demonstrate excellent collection, analysis and presentation of data.
5. Continued Investigations
An exhibitor may not display an identical project at any subsequent SBCC Competition and must declare in his/her application how an improved proposal differs from one that was approved in a previous year. Any continuing research must document substantial expansion of investigation and students will be judged on the current year’s work only.