Project categories

Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Sciences

A Biotechnology project is the application of biological systems to solve a problem, create a product or provide a service. Biotechnology projects will fall into one of three subject fields: crop development, animal science and microbials. Pharmaceutical sciences projects study the interaction of chemical substances with living systems. Substances with medicinal properties - the potential to cure or reduce symptoms of an illness or medical condition - are considered pharmaceuticals. Projects could include studies on drug composition and properties, interactions, toxicology, therapy, medicinal applications and antipathogenic capabilities.

Computing and Informational Sciences

Computing and information technology projects concentrate primarily on the development of computing hardware, software or applications, including programming languages and algorithms, software design and databases as well as the storage, transmission and manipulation of information. Projects using computers to store and analyze data are normally entered in the division suggested by the focus of the experiment or study. However, if the project's focus is primarily on the application of computing to the problem and the data are of secondary significance, the project should be entered in this division.

Earth & Environmental Sciences

Earth and environmental sciences projects focus on topics relating to planetary processes, the relationship of organisms to those processes, or the relationships between or among organisms.Projects in this division can include issues in any of the following scientific disciplines: geology, mineralogy, physiography, oceanography, limnology, climatology, seismology, geography, and ecology. Earth and environmental sciences includes the study of pollution, its sources and its control. It can also involve studies of biotic and/or abiotic factors in an environment, where such studies enhance our understanding of biological relationships and abiotic cycles. Studies dealing with resource management or sustainable development usually fall into this category. Examples of such studies might include capture/recapture studies estimating population densities, determining bioproductivity in a specific ecosystem or niche, plate tectonics studies or examinations of mineral cycles (e.g., salt mills in the oceans).

Engineering Sciences

An engineering project applies physical knowledge to solve a problem or achieve a purpose. A complete engineering project will include an outline of the need, the development of the innovation and some work on introducing the innovation to the community; however, many engineering projects focus on just the development phase. Engineering projects normally focus on a new process, or a new product. A study of Bernoulli’s principle would be Physical Science, while the application of such a principle to improved aerodynamics and wing design would be engineering.

Health Sciences

A health sciences project examines some biomedical and/or clinical aspect of human life or lifestyle and its translation into improved health for humans, or more effective health services and products. Projects related to the health of specific populations, societal and cultural dimensions of health, and environmental influences on health are also included in this division. Health sciences projects include those related to human aging, genetics, cancer research, musculoskeletal health, arthritis, circulatory and respiratory health, nutrition, neurosciences, mental health, psychology, metabolism, human development, infection and immunology. Projects involving animal research that have a direct application to humans are included in this division.

Life Sciences

A life science project examines some aspect of the life or lifestyle of a non-human organism. Life science projects include botany and zoology, as well as psychology and kinesiology of non-human organisms. Examining plant growth or animal behaviour are examples of life science. Some phenomena, such as digestion, involve both life science and physical science. The selection of division will spend on whether the young scientist’s intent was to study the chemistry of the process, or the role of the process in the life of the animal (eating, production of enzymes, handling of wastes, etc.)

Physical & Mathematical Sciences

A physical and mathematical sciences project studies abiotic phenomenon to understand the relation between identified factors, perhaps including a cause and effect relationship, or the use of mathematical models or mathematics to solve theoretical problems. Physical science projects include fields such as physics, and chemistry and astronomy. Comparison testing of products is included in this division. Mathematical science projects seek to demonstrate applications of mathematics (i.e. the search for a mathematical model) or to solve a theoretical problem. For example, in attempting to predict the shape of cacti, the use of mathematics would be central to the project. The problem provides a context for the exploration of pattern and the search for a mathematical model. Some areas of investigation in this category include algorithms, operational research (applications of mathematical and computing science to solve planning or operational problems), and statistics.

Automotive Sciences (an interdisciplinary category)

At the Canada-Wide Science Fair, projects will be entered as one of the above seven categories but may also qualify for the Interdisiplinary Automotive Sciences Category. Projects in this interdisciplinary category deal with one of six key research themes:

  • Health, safety and injury prevention
  • Societal issues and the future automobile
  • Materials and manufacturing
  • Powertrains, fuels and emissions
  • Design processesIntelligent systems and sensors


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