Judging Criteria for NAVS Humane Science Award


This award is designed to advance science through the use of alternatives to animal experimentation, especially through the replacement of live animals with non-animal methodologies or through the use of noninvasive projects using animals in an observational setting. This award will be presented on an annual basis to a student project that exemplifies one or more of the objectives listed below, in recognition of the contribution the student has made in promoting scientific advancement through methods that do not harm animals. The award consists of a certificate and a scholarship award in the sum of $5,000.

This award is proposed for inclusion in the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).  Projects will be assessed by a National Anti-Vivisection Society judging team based on criteria established by a panel of experts, including representatives of the National Anti-Vivisection Society.  The award will be considered a Special Award.


Projects selected for awards must meet one or more of the following objectives:

  1. Document epidemiological, case study, and experimental research that advances human health without harming animals.  For example, such research may investigate human case studies instead of conducting animal experimentation.
  2. Develop and use alternatives to animals in research.  For example, students may use models, computers, tissue and cell cultures and other methodologies in lieu of using live animals. Students may develop a methodology to validate a specific alternative to the use of animals.
  3. Projects involving animals in their natural environment that are non-invasive and non-intrusive studies (i.e. observational, behavioral) in which the student will have no physical contact with the animal(s).
  4. Demonstrate the interrelationship among human life, animal life and the environment by using existing data or identifying novel observational techniques. An example of such an interrelationship might be the social impacts caused by a reduction of one species (native) by the introduction or increase of another (non-native).
  5. Develop a plan to improve the quality of life for animals living in captivity. For example, such a plan might include enrichment activities, social structure or habitat modifications for animals living in laboratories, zoos, or sanctuaries or for companion animals.
  6. Investigate the variables affecting different threatened or endangered species by observing animals in their natural habitat or in a zoological setting, using existing field study data, viewing video or satellite footage or using computer modeling or other interdisciplinary methodologies.


IF ANIMALS ARE STUDIED as part of this project, it should be through naturalistic observations only.

  1. No animal should be procured specifically for this project. In accordance with the Intel ISEF rules, the location(s) of the animals(s) both before and after the project must be documented.   Animals may not be captured from or released into the wild.
  2. Invasive, manipulative, or intrusive studies on animals will not be considered for this award. Invasive techniques include cutting, binding or mutilating any part of an animal’s body, injecting any substance into the animal’s body or causing an animal to ingest a substance not part of a normal diet for that animal that might cause harm to the animal.
  3. The animals’ fundamental biological and social needs must not be disturbed in any way.  For example, a project that denies food to an animal is not acceptable. In contrast, a project in which an animal is offered a choice of species-appropriate foods would be acceptable.
  4. Projects involving animals in the secondary school classroom will not be considered for this award.