Frequently asked questions
If a student completed a science or engineering research project this year, they are on their way! There are a number of other factors that contribute to eligibility.
Geography – For PreK-4th grade, any Arizona student is eligible. For 5th-12th grade, Arizona students south of the Gila River are eligible.
Qualification – PreK-8th grade students must register through their school. Schools are given an allotment of how many projects they are able to send to the SARSEF Regional Fair and hold a fair at the school level to determine which projects will be selected to represent them. High School students may register themselves and do not need to qualify at the school level.
Students win over $100,000 in cash, prizes, and scholarships at the SARSEF Regional Fairs. Grand Awards are cash prizes given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place projects in every grade level and category. Class projects compete separately from individual and team projects and are also awarded Grand Awards.
Students can also win one of hundreds of Sponsored Awards from different organizations and individuals. These prizes range from cash awards to college scholarships to physical items and experiences. Some examples include tickets to Biosphere 2, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, or Tucson Comic-Con, real meteorites, unique trophies, internships, tours, graphing calculators and other research equipment, etc. Sponsored Awards are given to encourage students to pursue science and often a particular field of interest. They have a wide variety of criteria to make their decisions separate from the Grand Awards judges.
The 2023 SARSEF Regional Fair will be a hybrid event. All project submissions, however, are digital. There will be in-person events, including in-person interviews at the High School level, as well as an in-person Community STEM Expo event on March 11, 2023, accompanying the in-person Awards Ceremonies at Reid Park in Tucson.
There is a suggested fee of $15 per project registration, which supports the sustainability of the SARSEF Fair, however, you may pay whatever works for your learning community. We do not want project fees to become a barrier for participation.
On our Project Registration Fee Payment Form, you do not need to pay for each project individually. If you would like to pay for multiple projects at once, you are able to adjust the total as desired.
SARSEF has a new registration system as part of a multi-year build that will serve SARSEF, teachers, and students for years to come, but it is still in its building phase. Part of that is there is no login associated with project registration.
We know that the ability to login, access, and edit your submissions is an important feature, and it will be integrated into the system in future years.
For 2022, if you need to edit your project registration or replace uploaded files, please email email@example.com with your requests. Once registration closes, registrants will have the opportunity to review their submissions and send any additional corrections that may be necessary.
Once you submit one project, you’ll get a link to “submit another project” and all of the school-specific information should automatically populate for subsequent projects. You’ll only need to enter the project-specific info for those additional projects.
There are ways to reduce the file size or compress photos as you export through Google Slides, PowerPoint, or another program.
If you are unable to do so, you can always use a pdf compression tool. One free tool available online is through Adobe.
The biggest tip we can give is for students to do a project that they care about! There are some projects that judges see year after year and they love seeing original ideas. Students shouldn’t just google “science fair ideas” and go with the first one that pops up. Encourage students to take projects to new heights and unique directions, adding an original spin. Students can brainstorm questions or problems that they experience in their world. These ideas usually lead to a compelling project idea.
We have example projects at every level on our SARSEF Example School Fair virtual exhibit hall. To view, head to our School Fairs site and choose “SARSEF Example School Fair” from the dropdown menu.