The Florida Foundation for Future Scientists (FFFS) continues their longstanding commitment to stimulating student, teacher and public interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) with the Annual State Science Engineering Fair of Florida (SSEF) held each year in Lakeland, Florida.

More than 900 aspiring engineers, scientists and mathematicians from across Florida compete in the SSEF STEM Competition. Students have an opportunity to win $1.2 million in awards, prizes, scholarships and internships. The top senior projects will advance to the Intel International Science and Engineering (ISEF) STEM Competition 

The efforts to introduce more students to careers in STEM through SSEF cannot take place without the help of the community. The SSEF STEM Competition sets its sights on reaching more students and showing more businesses how their monetary donations have a positive impact on the growth of SSEF and the opportunities they provide to Florida students. 

The Florida Foundation for Future Scientists (FFFS) is a statewide, non-profit organization authorized by the 1957 Legislature of the State of Florida to discover scientific and technical talent in the schools of Florida and to encourage the pursuit of careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).  In meeting its obligations, the FFFS promotes and administers the following:

  • State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida
  • The establishment of guidelines, rules, and procedures for local, regional, and statewide competitions
  • The awarding of scholarships and prizes
  • The coordination of industrial, professional, and educational activities related to careers in science and engineering
  • STEM leadership youth programs
  • The affiliation with the Society for Science and the Public programs including but not limited to the International Science and Engineering Fair; the Broadcom MASTERS for middle grades; and the STS Regeneron competition.

Mission Statement

A primary mission of the Florida Foundation for Future Scientists (FFFS) is to foster and encourage Florida’s talented young people to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) research.  It is an accepted belief that recognition and reward provide a significant impetus to youthful researchers in academic pursuits. The annual State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) of Florida is an appropriate vehicle through which to accomplish this mission.

SSEF of Florida Objectives

The State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) of Florida is a three-day display of science project exhibits prepared by aspiring scientists and engineers in grades six through twelve.  More than 900 Finalists display projects illustrating their research in competition for awards.

The main objectives of the SSEF are to:  1) Recognize scientific talent in young people; 2) Introduce students to organized research; 3) Provide teachers a forum for the exchange of ideas; and 4) Focus attention on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics),  thus stimulating student, teacher, and public interest.

During the event, students have the opportunity to share their ideas with one another, increase personal development in scientific and technological areas, gain self-confidence in problem-solving skills, and participate in educational field trips and tours of local areas of interest.

General requirements for an affiliated Regional Science and Engineering Fair (RSEF)

  • The RSEF must serve a geographic territory that is not covered by another affiliate fair.
  • The SSEF is open to all students in grades 6th – 12th.  Public, non-public, and home school students are eligible to participate in both the SSEF and the RSEF that incorporates their geographic location.  The RSEF Director must notify and invite the participation of all public and Florida Department of Education – registered non-public schools. Please be aware that to enter the State Science & Engineering Fair of Florida or the Intel ISEF, students must first compete at an affiliated regional fair.
  • The RSEF must have a designated Fair Director and is expected to form an operating committee that will oversee and manage RSEF operations
  • The RSEF must operate under the Intel ISEF Rules and Guidelines and the SSEF of Florida Supplemental Rules and Guidelines and must ensure that students and teachers are aware of these requirements as they begin research projects. 
  • The RSEF Director agrees to hold the Affiliated Fair by the given deadline in February.
  • The RSEF Director (and any other representatives) are required to attend the RSEF Director/FFFS Board of Directors Fall Workshop/Meeting and the Spring SSEF of Florida Scientific Review Committee (SRC) Workshop/Meeting  
  • The RSEF must  meet the requirements of the affiliation agreement with the SSEF

Number of projects that an affiliated fair can send to the SSEF of Florida

The Florida Foundation for Future Scientists Executive Committee will determine the quota for the number of entries allocated.  New affiliations will be given a minimum quota the first year.

Registration fees

The registration fees for the SSEF are due according to the SSEF Affiliation Agreement (November) and the RSEF commitment to the project quota for the year.

The Affiliated RSEF is allocated a specific number (quota) of PROJECTS. Affiliation FEES will be determined by this quota.    For 2017, Individual Finalist entries will be $50 each and $100 for each 2-Member Team Project. A 3-Member Team will be $150.  An INVOICE will be provided upon signing the Affiliation Agreement (by both parties) and committing to the following structure for the Affiliated RSEF PROJECT Quota.  AFFILIATION FEES are DUE by NOVEMBER 1st

Intel ISEF Rules/SSEF Rules/SRC (scientific review committee):

It is a requirement that affiliated fairs adhere to the International Rules for Precollege Science Research: Guidelines for Science and Engineering Fairs (Intel ISEF Rules) and the SSEF of Florida Rules and Guidelines Supplement and that students, teachers and parents are informed about these requirements so that they use Intel ISEF forms from the start of research. Students that do not receive the appropriate approvals or complete the necessary Intel ISEF forms in the proper timeline may not qualify for competition at the SSEF of Florida.

The fair director must appoint a Scientific Review Committee (SRC) that consists of a minimum of three members. The SRC must include at least one each of: a) biomedical scientist (e.g., Ph.D., M.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., D.O.), b) science educator, and c) another member which may, but is not required to be, a biomedical scientist or a science teacher.

These SRC members must be registered with the SSEF of Florida. Fair directors are required to fill out a form after their fair stating information about the SRC’s activities, such as the group’s meeting schedule and any problems the SRC encountered during reviews.

Judging and student eligibility

Affiliated RSEF fairs must recruit and manage a team of judges to select the projects to advance to the SSEF of Florida. The judging process must be transparent and avoid any appearance of partiality or conflict of interest. Projects may be individual or team projects in any combination. 

Any student in grades 6 through 8 (Junior Section) and grades 9 through 12 (Senior Section) is eligible.

Each student may enter only one project that covers research done over a maximum, continuous 12-month period between January and May of the current SSEF year. Team projects are limited to two or three members.

Students may compete in only one SSEF-affiliated fair.

Official Party/ required documents

Registration to attend the SSEF must be submitted through the director of the RSEF affiliated fair according to the terms of the agreement.

Fair directors are responsible for ensuring that all SSEF forms are complete and contain appropriate signatures, and that projects are reviewed in accordance with the Intel ISEF Rules and SSEF Rules. All paperwork from fair directors and finalists is due in the SSEF office within 7 calendar days after the fair is held and no later than the established date in February. SSEF holds fair directors responsible for all paperwork.

Cost for finalists to attend the SSEF

It is expected that the affiliated RSEF, through sponsors or other funding, will make all travel arrangements for the RSEF Delegation to travel to the SSEF and participate in all activities during the three-day event. Finalists must be escorted by the RSEF Fair Director and/or designated adults.

If a team project is selected to compete, all team members must be granted the opportunity to attend the SSEF.

SSEF Affiliated RSEF Fair Guidelines and Expectations

Categories

The categories listed below are those that will be used at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida. Regional fairs may or may not choose to use these new categories, dependent on the needs of their area. Please check with your affiliated fair(s) for the appropriate category listings at that level of competition.

It will also be required that the OFFICIAL SSEF ABSTRACT be used for entry into the SSEF of Florida.

Category Selection Advisement:

Many projects could easily fit into more than one of these categories. We highly recommend that you review the entire listing of the new categories before choosing the category that most accurately describes your project. You don’t need to compete in the same category as in your regional or school competition. 

Ask yourself the following questions to help in the selection of a category:

  1. Who will be the most qualified to judge my project? What area of expertise is the most important for the judge to have? (For example, a medical background or an engineering background?)
  2. What is the emphasis of my project? What characteristic of my project is the most innovative, unique or important? (For example, is it the application in medicine or the engineering of the machine? Is it inserting the proper gene or the method of computer mapping to demonstrate the results?)