2022 NWRSTF

Health and Safety, and Ethics
It is really important that all students consider the health and safety risks associated with their projects, and ensure that all their experiments comply with good ethical practice and standards.

Health and safety

Research projects and activities should not put students in situations where their health or safety is at risk. Before you undertake any experiments for your project you should consider the risks associated with your project that could put you, or others, in harms way.

The following links and guidance are good places to start to understand how to consider health and safety considerations within your project:

Health and safety within schools
Safety and ethical considerations from TKI.

Safety and science
Revised Edition (2007)

Safety and technology education: a guidance manual for New Zealand schools

Ethics

The NIWA Wellington Regional Science and Technology Fair follows the guidelines set out by the Royal Society Te Apārangi and the National Association of Science Educators guidelines for research.

Understanding whether your experiments require ethical approval is an important part of your project planning. You can find more information on the  New Zealand Association of Science Educators website..

The section on CREST projects on the Royal Society Te Apārangi website is very similar to the science fair in terms of ethics practice and standards and provides information and templates that are useful.

Animal ethics

Any project involving animals (other than invertebrates) that affect or changes their normal routine requires approval from the ethics committee of the New Zealand Association of Science Educators. For more information download Ethics Information of Students and Teachers.

If you need animal ethics approval you must apply for and obtain approval before you begin your investigation

The need to have ethics approval is a legal requirement under New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act and is there as a protection to animals used in research. Your project will not be able to be included in judging if you do not plan for, and have, the correct ethical approval.

The ANZCCART website is also very informative and has useful resources (they also sponsor a prize for a project in which appropriate animal ethics protocols have been observed). The New Zealand Association of Science Educators website also has a lot of information about animal ethics. Use this flowchart to help determine if ethics committee approval is required.

Human ethics

If you are conducting experiments  using people you will need to get permission from those involved in the form a signed consent form. For projects involving children under 16 years old you will need to have the permission of their parents or guardians as well. For more information refer to the section on CREST projects on the Royal Society Te Apārangi website.

You can find a human ethics planning form here, and a good example of the type of human consent form you could use or adapt.