2020 - 2021 Competition Guidelines

Welcome to the 2020-2021 eCYBERMISSION Competition! Please carefully review the competition rules and reach out to our Mission Control help desk if you have any questions. Mission Control is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday – Friday. Mission Control may be reached at 1-866-GO-CYBER (462-9237) or missioncontrol@ecybermission.com.

Download the eCYBERMISSION Rules and Regulations here!

Table of Contents

1 - Code of Conduct

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Team Advisor and Student Responsibilities

Once a team registers for eCYBERMISSION, they agree that they have read and will adhere to the following code of conduct:

  1. Team Advisors are responsible for the behavior and ethical conduct of their students, both inside and outside of the classroom. This includes, but is not limited to, postings in Discussion Forums, Chat Rooms, Team Talk and social media, as well as during investigations conducted by the team (see below for information about testing on vertebrates, Mission Folder content and during any events associated with eCYBERMISSION).
  2. Team Advisors are also responsible for verifying the validity of the team members (i.e. all team members are in the same grade and live in, or attend a school in, the state in which the team is competing; team members are U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S.)
  3. Team Advisors and students are responsible for following safety rules and taking safety precautions throughout the entire experimental process including demonstrations at all levels of competition. All teams are required to follow Lab safety protocols set forth by their school or classroom. If the team is not affiliated directly with a school we recommend the following as safety guidelines during work on their Mission Folder: NSTA Middle School Safety Acknowledgment.
  4. Students and Team Advisors may not be permitted to use any item(s) that might be determined by their school district to be banned, prohibited or contraband.

Team Advisors and students must review and understand these statements while participating in the eCYBERMISSION competition:

  1. I understand the project my team members and I plan to work on (or are working on) must be original work and that the resources and references used in our project will be noted throughout our research. Additionally, all work on the project for the 2020-2021 competition began after April 1, 2020.
  2. I will not give out any personal or identifying information without my parents’ or guardians' permission, including, but not limited to, my name, email address, home address, telephone number, parent's work address/telephone number or the name and location of my school (other than the information required for registration).
  3. I will tell my parent or guardian right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable. I will also tell my Team Advisor and ask them to inform eCYBERMISSION Mission Control.
  4. I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without first checking with my parents. If my parent or guardian agrees to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my parent or guardian along.
  5. I will treat other students, volunteers, eCYBERMISSION Staff and Team Advisors with respect while participating in eCYBERMISSION. This includes always using appropriate language and never being rude or disrespectful when interacting on Discussion Forums, Live CyberGuide Chats, Team Talk and social media, as well as during investigations conducted by the team or while attending any eCYBERMISSION event.
  6. I will conduct myself ethically and in compliance with the eCYBERMISSION competition rules stated below when using the Live CyberGuide Chats, Discussion Forums, Team Talk and social media, as well as when conducting investigations or attending an eCYBERMISSION event.
  7. I understand that if I do not follow the guidelines of this Code of Conduct, my team members and I may be disqualified from the competition.

2 - General Competition Rules

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  1. Schedule and Deadlines
    1. The online registration period is open from August 12, 2020 through January 11, 2021. A complete team, three to four students and a Team Advisor, must be registered and assigned to a team by January 11, 2021, at 11:59PM Eastern Time, in order to compete in the 2020-2021 competition. After the registration deadline, teams may no longer register to participate in the current eCYBERMISSION competition unless the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) deems it necessary to extend the end of the registration period.
    2. The competition work may begin any time after April 1, 2020, but registration will not open until August 12, 2020. Teams have until March 10, 2021, at 11:59 PM Eastern Time, to submit their Mission Folders (all submission components) on the eCYBERMISSION website. Mission Folder content or attachments will not be accepted by other means. After this deadline, no other Mission Folders or Mission Folder attachments will be accepted. AEOP and eCYBERMISSION reserves the right to extend the deadline. Any changes to the deadline will be publicized on the eCYBERMISSION website and communicated through email and/or text communication.
    3. Virtual Judging takes place period March 16-31, 2021 and the Regional Judging period takes place April 26 – April 30, 2021. Regional and State Winners will be notified by mid-May. Scores submitted by the Virtual and Regional Judges are final.
    4. The National Judging & Educational Event (NJ&EE) will be held June 20-25, 2021 in the Washington, D.C. metro area. NJ&EE is a week of educational activities and National Finals. STEM-In-Action Grant recipients will also be invited to participate in NJ&EE.

3 - Team Make-up and Eligibility

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  1. To compete in eCYBERMISSION, participants must be part of a complete team. A complete team includes three or four students in the same grade, competing for the same state and one adult Team Advisor who is over the age of 21. (Please see Section 5 for Team Advisor Eligibility Requirements). Team Advisors must assign students to a team by the close of registration on January 11, 2021. Since this is a web-based competition, there may be different situations as far as residency of students compared to where the school is located. The state the team competes for must be the state in which the school, organization or group is located, be it brick and mortar OR virtual. All team members must be in the same grade and compete for the same state. Carefully read the following three scenarios to determine which scenario best fits your team(s):
    1. Students that are from the same state as their school must register the state of their school at registration.
    2. Students who attend the same school but reside in different states may compete on the same team, provided that they compete in the state where the school is located, not where the individual students reside. Students may not compete for more than one state.
    3. Students all live in the same state, but the school is in a different state. The team must register to compete in the state in which the school is located.
  2. All students and Team Advisors who wish to participate must register and have a complete team prior to the close of registration. A Team Advisor may register more than one team. All registered teams must be complete and registered by the close of registration on January 11, 2021.
  3. For competition purposes, the number of participants on a team is determined at 11:59 PM Eastern Time on the registration deadline date (January 11, 2021). Teams may not add or drop students after this time. If the team number falls below three students at any point after registration is completed, the team will become disqualified.
    1. If a team of four students loses a member due to extenuating circumstances (proof of circumstances may be required) team eligibility will be determined by eCYBERMISSION staff. Any team with less than three students and one Team Advisor will automatically be disqualified regardless of the circumstances.
  4. Each student team member must make significant contributions for the success of the team, be a full participant in the development of the Mission Folder, participate in Regional Judging and attend NJ&EE in June in order for the team to compete for a National Prize. If the original team (all team members determined at the time of registration excluding any exceptions granted as determined by eCYBERMISSION) cannot attend Regional Judging or NJ&EE because a student is unable to participate or attend or has left the team, the team will not be eligible to compete and will forfeit its ability to compete for a Regional Prize or a National Title. If a student or Team Advisor must leave before the completion of NJ&EE, the team must forfeit. The Team Advisor must be present at both Regional and National Judging for the team to be eligible to compete.
  5. As a courtesy to those who serve, the following rule only applies to dependents of military service members on active duty status. Should a student of a military dependent relocate after a complete team is registered (composed of three or four students) and wishes to continue working with this team, they may do so as long as the student can significantly contribute to the team’s overall project. The Team Advisor should be able to verify that the relocated student contributed significantly to the final project.

4 - Student Eligibility Requirement

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  1. A team’s competing region is determined by the address of their school/organization.
  2. Students must be officially enrolled in either sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth grade at a U.S.-based public, private or home school, Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) or a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school abroad. Students who are residing in one of the U.S. Territories, DoDEA or DoDDS schools should use the proper registration code and should not use the "International" code unless their location is not represented.
  3. All U.S. Citizens* and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) ** are eligible to participate in eCYBERMISSION. Reporting U.S. Citizenship or LPR status is not required; however, only those students with a valid Social Security number or that are able to prove LPR status are eligible to receive an eCYBERMISSION award. For administration of awards, competition winners must provide the Social Security number of the registered student and must be able to set up a minor-linked Treasury Direct Account (which will be kept confidential). eCYBERMISSION awards are distributed via U.S. Savings Bond through Treasury Direct for the U.S. Department of Treasury. Students without a Social Security number cannot be issued a U.S. Savings Bond.

* The definition of a U.S. citizen from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website:

U.S. Citizen

  1. An individual born in the United States.
  2. An individual whose parent is a U.S. citizen. ***
  3. A former alien who has been naturalized as a U.S. citizen.
  4. An individual born in Puerto Rico.
  5. An individual born in Guam.
  6. An individual born in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
**Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) is defined as the following by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: "Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing the in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Also known as "Permanent Resident Alien," "Resident Alien Permit Holder," and "Green Card Holder". F1-Visa holders are not eligible for the eCYBERMISSION competition.

***The Child Citizenship Act, which applies to both adopted and biological children of U.S. citizens, amends Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to provide for the automatic acquisition of U.S. citizenship when certain conditions have been met. Specifically, these conditions are:

  1. One parent is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization;
  2. The child is under the age of 18;
  3. The child is residing in the United States as a lawful permanent resident alien and is in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

5 - Team Advisor Eligibility Requirement

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To sponsor an eCYBERMISSION team, the Team Advisor must meet each of the below requirements.

  1. A Team Advisor must be at least 21 years of age.
  2. Team Advisors must be one of the following: a teacher, coach, counselor, leader in a youth organization or parent who meets the eligibility requirements of a Team Advisor.
  3. Team Advisors must have access to the Internet and an active email address in order to communicate with eCYBERMISSION Mission Control.
  4. Team Advisors can mentor as many student teams as they choose but must ensure that students are only participating with one team per competition year.

6 - Participant Responsibilities

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  1. Student Responsibilities
    1. Students should conduct themselves ethically and in compliance with the eCYBERMISSION competition rules and be mindful of online etiquette when using the Mission Folder, Live CyberGuide Chats, Chronus and social media, as well as when conducting investigations and surveys or participating in any eCYBERMISSION event.
    2. Students are only allowed to participate as a member of one team. Duplicate registrations are not accepted by eCYBERMISSION.
  2. Team Advisor Responsibilities
    1. Team Advisors are responsible for the behavior, safety, and ethical conduct of themselves and their students, both inside and outside of the classroom. This includes, but is not limited to Mission Folder content, Live CyberGuide Chats, Chronus, social media, during investigations and while conducting surveys or while attending any eCYBERMISSION event. Team Advisors are responsible for demonstrating and encouraging respect and teamwork within their own teams and towards others in the eCYBERMISSION competition. Should a team qualify to travel to eCYBERMISSION National Judging and Educational Event (NJ&EE) responsibilities for the Team Advisor would also include being responsible for the students at all times during NJ&EE beginning when the team leaves their home until the time the team returns from the event (unless otherwise stated).
    2. For teams to be eligible to compete in eCYBERMISSION, Team Advisors must ensure and verify that all students on a team are from the same grade and compete for the same state (see 3-1 above for clarification). A student may only be on one team, and that team may only submit one Mission Folder.

7 - Mission Challenges and Mission Folders

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  1. Mission Challenges
    1. Teams must select a problem that is related to one of the Mission Challenges listed on the eCYBERMISSION website. Teams may change their Mission Challenge during the competition any time prior to the Mission Folder submission deadline. There is no requirement to notify eCYBERMISSION staff about a change in the Mission Challenge.
  2. Mission Folders
    1. Utilizing either Scientific Practices or the Engineering Design Process, teams must select a Mission Challenge and answer all of the questions in their Mission Folder. Answers must be entered in the space provided or as an attached document. Each field must contain a written statement (for example, "See attached document.") in order to submit a completed Mission Folder. Information about each of the processes can be found on the eCYBERMISSION website. Teams are encouraged to reference supporting files, such as graphics, photos or tables for the Virtual Judges to review. Supporting files must be uploaded to the Mission Folder and must be clearly named and referenced in the text fields. The maximum allowable size for uploaded files is 10 MB each. Files NOT acceptable for uploading include, but are not limited to, .exe, .mdb, .scr, .tif Google documents and links to other online documents. It is the responsibility of the team to verify all allowable files are correctly uploaded. Teams cannot attach video files, but it is recommended that any videos that pertain to the Mission Folder be uploaded to a video sharing website and that the link to the video be provided in the Mission Folder.
  3. Completing and Submitting the Mission Folder
    1. Complete Mission Folders must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on March 10, 2021. Teams are not permitted to made edits, additions or changes in any way to their Mission Folders after the deadline. A completed entry contains answers to all Mission Folder questions, any supporting files (this includes the IRB Approval form and Risk Assessment Form) and must be electronically signed by the Team Advisor. Partial Mission Folders will be deemed incomplete and disqualified.
    2. Team Advisors will be asked to verify the start date of their project before a team can complete their Mission Folder.
    3. Teams may continue a project from a previous year; however, significant new work must be documented including new experiments and/or engineering design process steps. New results must be achieved. All new work on the project must begin no earlier than April 1, 2020. Students may use the same topic as in previous years (provided they were not Regional Winners in previous eCYBERMISSION competition years) but must do completely new research and experimentation for the 2020-2021 competition. Failure to abide by this rule will result in team disqualification. If the work is the continuation of a previous year’s project or the same topic, the Mission Folder from the previous year must be attached to this year’s Mission Folder.
    4. Teams may NOT duplicate or replicate a project submitted by another team in a previous competition year. Students may focus on the same problems, but submitted work must contain new research, new solutions and new outcomes.

Please ensure each of the subsequent steps is followed in order to submit and complete a Mission Folder for each of the levels of competition:

  1. State Winners:
    1. Team Advisors are required to submit Mission Folders prior to the submission deadline (March 10, 2021).
    2. Once the Team Advisor submits the Mission Folder, it can be withdrawn by the Team Advisor if changes need to be made. It must be re-submitted by the Team Advisor by the submission deadline (March 10, 2021) in order for it to be judged.
    3. Once the submission deadline has passed, a panel of Virtual Judges will review the Mission Folders based on the competition's judging criteria. Once all Mission Folder submissions are scored, eCYBERMISSION will announce potential State Winners.
    4. Potential State Winners must be validated by the specified due date in order to be confirmed as a State Winner and be considered for Regional Judging. A team is considered validated after Team Advisors confirm that each member of the team participated, each team member is confirmed to be a U.S. Citizen or LPR and eCYBERMISSION confirms that the team has complied with all competition rules.
    5. All U.S. Citizens and LPRs are eligible to participate in eCYBERMISSION; however, only those students with a valid Social Security Number are eligible to receive any monetary award. For administration of awards, competition winners must provide the Social Security Number of the registered student and must be able to set up a minor-linked Treasury Direct Account (which will be kept confidential). eCYBERMISSION awards are distributed via U.S. Savings Bond through Treasury Direct for the U.S. Department of Treasury. Students without a Social Security Number cannot be issued a U.S. Savings Bond.
  2. Regional Finalists:
    1. The top three teams from each grade in each region will be notified of their opportunity to compete at the regional level.
    2. The Regional Finalist Teams will be required to test the system requirements of the selected platform for Regional Judging during a designated time prior to the beginning of Regional Judging. If a team does not test the system requirements prior to Regional Judging, the team is subject to disqualification or point penalty.
    3. All team members and the Team Advisor must be present during Regional Judging to be eligible for a Regional Finalist Award. If any team member is not present, the team forfeits the Regional Finalist Award and is disqualified from Regional Judging.
    4. The top three teams in each grade in each region will participate in be Regional Judging in late April. Regional Judging consists of a four-minute presentation (via video chat) followed by a five-minute question and answer session with the Regional Judges in order to help the judges determine Regional Winners and ensure that the team projects were completed by all participating team members. The Regional Judges will have reviewed the Mission Folders in advance of the live Regional Judging Event. Announcement of National Finalists will be made by eCYBERMISSION and AEOP.
    5. All U.S. Citizens and LPRs are eligible to participate in eCYBERMISSION; however, only those students with a valid Social Security Number are eligible to receive any monetary award. For administration of awards, competition winners must provide the Social Security Number of the registered student and must be able to set up a minor-linked Treasury Direct Account (which will be kept confidential). eCYBERMISSION awards are distributed via U.S. Savings Bond through Treasury Direct for the U.S. Department of Treasury. Students without a Social Security Number cannot be issued a U.S. Savings Bond.
  3. National Finalists:
    1. If a team becomes a National Finalist, an NJ&EE packet will be emailed to the Team Advisor. At that time, it is the team’s responsibility to review and abide by the contents of the packet. The team will be required to submit all documents required for NJ&EE by the specified due dates.
    2. All team members and the Team Advisor must be able to attend the entire NJ&EE. If a team becomes a National Finalist, the team will need to prepare a 4-minute verbal presentation for the National Judges followed by a judge-led 10-minute question and answer session. Teams will also deliver a 4-minute presentation during the National Showcase.
    3. If a team chooses to bring their prototype to the National Judging & Educational Event, the total value of the prototype cannot exceed $250 (U.S. dollars). For teams that develop a website or app as part of their project, please note that the website and/or app developed by the team is the prototype and the technology used to display the website or app is not considered part of the prototype. Teams wishing to demonstrate a website or app during National Judging will have the option of using either a computer or tablet they provide or using a computer provided by eCYBERMISSION. Cell phones are NOT permitted in the room during National Judging. The total cost of developing a website or app prototype must not exceed $250 (U.S. dollars). The Team Advisor must include an itemized list and receipts for the prototype as part of the registration process.
    4. All U.S. Citizens and LPRs are eligible to participate in eCYBERMISSION; however, only those students with a valid Social Security Number are eligible to receive any monetary award. For administration of awards, competition winners must provide the Social Security Number of the registered student and must be able to set up a minor-linked Treasury Direct Account (which will be kept confidential). eCYBERMISSION awards are distributed via U.S. Savings Bond through Treasury Direct for the U.S. Department of Treasury. Students without a Social Security Number cannot be issued a U.S. Savings Bond.

8 - Contents of Application and Entry

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  1. General
    1. Each team member must make significant contributions to the success of the team and be a full participant in the development of the final Mission Folder.
    2. While students are encouraged to seek guidance from parents, Team Advisors, friends, published sources, scientists, engineers, CyberGuides, other collaborators and the Internet, the students must do their own work on the Mission Folder and must not permit any person (other than student members of the team) to perform such work.
    3. Teams must not copy the words or images of others, except as permitted in Section 8.2 "Use of Copyrighted Materials."
    4. The Mission Folder content must be unique and directly relate to the Mission Challenge. Students should identify a problem within the community and either investigate the problem through the use of scientific practices or design a solution through the use of the engineering design process.
    5. The Mission Folder, as well as other communications submitted to eCYBERMISSION, must be written in English.
    Failure to meet these requirements could result in the team being disqualified from the competition.

  2. Use of Copyrighted Materials
    1. Entries must be the original work of the students. The word "material" as used in this section includes text, images and data included in the entry or otherwise published on the Internet.
    2. An entry may include supporting materials that were created by another person if an accurate citation of the quoted material is included in the entry. If citations are not included, this is a form of plagiarism. Plagiarism will result in the Mission Folder being disqualified. In addition, no entry may include material that was created by another person without permission to quote such materials by the creator or owner of such intellectual property, (such as unpublished documents or documents that explicitly state obtain permission to use), and a copy of such permission must be made available to eCYBERMISSION.
    3. Quotations from materials printed in newspapers, magazines or books are permissible if an accurate citation is included.
    4. No entry may include any trademarked material(s) without the written permission from the owner(s) of the trademarked material(s).
  3. Previous Competition Entries
    1. All work on the project must begin after April 1, 2020. Students may use the same topic as in previous years (provided they were not Regional Winners in previous eCYBERMISSION competition years), but must conduct completely new research and experimentation for the 2020-2021 competition. New research includes new data collection, new resources, new experimental designs, and/or new prototypes. If the project is a continuation of a previous submission, the previous submission must be attached. Failure to abide by this rule will result in team disqualification.
    2. A team may submit a project that they entered in another science competition (such as Christopher Columbus, FIRST Robotics, etc.) as long as research and experimentation for the Mission Folder began no earlier than April 1, 2020.

9 - Safety

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  1. Risk Assessment: All teams are required to complete the Risk Assessment form before beginning any testing to identify any potential risks and the identify safety precautions planned. Teams must attach the Risk Assessment form and submit the completed form with their Mission Folders. Teams that do not submit a completed Risk Assessment form will be disqualified. Teams that do not implement and follow safety procedures when using any of the materials outlined in the Risk Assessment form will be disqualified.
  2. Human Research Participants: When students conduct research with humans, the rights and welfare of the participants must be protected. Teams must follow federal guidelines to protect the human research participants and the team. Many studies will require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.
    1. Studies Exempt from IRB Review/Approval: The following are the ONLY human subject type projects that are exempt from IRB pre-approval and informed consent:
      • When the testing of a student-designed invention, prototype, or computer application is done ONLY by the team AND where the testing does not pose a health or safety hazard.
      • Data/record review studies where the data are taken from pre-existing data sets that are publicly available and/or published and do not involve any interaction with humans or the direct collection of any data from a human participant.
      • Behavioral observations of unrestricted, public settings in which all of the following apply:
        1. The team has no interaction with the subjects being observed; AND
        2. The team does not manipulate the environment in any way; AND
        3. The team does not record any personally identifiable data about the subjects being observed.
      • Projects in which the team receives pre-existing data in a de-identified/anonymous format and complies with both of the following conditions:
        1. The professional providing the data certifies in writing that the data have been appropriately de-identified before being given to the team and are in compliance with all privacy and HIPPA laws, AND
        2. eCYBERMISSION ensures that the data were appropriately de-identified by review of the written documentation provided by the Team Advisor.
    2. Studies Requiring IRB Review/Approval All human subject projects not listed above REQUIRE an IRB review and pre-approval and may require written informed consent/minor assent/parental permission. An IRB Approval form can be found here. The form must be attached and submitted with Mission Folder. Mission Folders requiring an IRB that do not include the form will be disqualified. Examples of such studies include, but are not limited to:
      • Subjects participating in physical activities.
      • Subjects ingesting any substance.
      • Subjects participating in any medical procedure.
      • Subjects participating in any psychological, educational and/or opinion studies (surveys & questionnaires).
      • Studies where a team member (or members) is/are the subject of the research and the study might pose a health risk.
      • Subjects test student-designed inventions, prototypes, applications, etc. This includes surveys conducted regarding potential use, review of the product and/or opinions regarding the project.
      • Data/record review projects that include data that are not de-identified/anonymous.
      • Behavioral observations that involve any interaction with the observed individual(s);
      • Where the team has modified the environment;
      • Occur in non-public or restricted access settings; and/or
      • Involve the recording of personally identifiable information.
  3. Non-Human Vertebrate Testing: ALL vertebrate animal studies REQUIRE an IRB review prior to beginning experimentation. An IRB Approval form can be found here ... The ONLY exception to this is as follows in regards to behavioral observations. Vertebrate animals are defined as: Live, nonhuman vertebrate mammalian embryos or fetuses; Tadpoles; Bird and reptile eggs within three days (72 hours) of hatching; and all other nonhuman vertebrates (including fish) at hatching or birth. The complete IRB form MUST be attached to the Mission Folder.
    1. A project is considered a tissue study and NOT a vertebrate animal study if the tissue is obtained from an animal that was euthanized for a purpose OTHER THAN the team’s project. In these cases, teams may observe the vertebrate animal study, but may not have any direct involvement with the vertebrate animal experimental procedures.
    2. Studies involving behavioral observations of animals are exempt from prior IRB review as long as ALL of the following apply: there is NO INTERACTION with the animals being observed; there is NO MANIPULATION of the animal’s environment in any way; AND the study meets all federal and state agriculture, fish, game and wildlife laws and regulations.
    3. If any of the animal(s) could be harmed in any way, the Team must have a veterinarian review safe practices with the team and check the condition of the animal(s) prior to and after conducting the research and submit the certification of both to the IRB along with the IRB Review and Approval form. The student(s) cannot begin work on the project until IRB approval is obtained.
    4. If it is obvious that the animal(s) will not be harmed in any way students must submit an IRB Review and Approval form to the IRB. The student(s) cannot begin work on the project until IRB approval is obtained.
  4. DEA Controlled Substances: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regulates substances that can be diverted from their intended use to make illegal drugs. DEA controlled substances and their schedule number are available at the DEA website (https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/). The use of DEA-controlled substances is prohibited in the eCYBERMISSION competition.
  5. Drones: Studies involving unmanned aircraft systems/drones must follow all federal, state and local laws. Typically a permit or registration of the aircraft will be required for certain sized drones/unmanned aircraft to be flown outside. Check out the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website for more details. (https://www.faa.gov/registration). If a permit is required, it must be attached to the Mission Folder.
  6. Prescription Drugs: Prescription drugs are drugs regulated by federal laws to protect against inappropriate or unsafe use. Special precautions must be taken when team utilize prescription drugs in a project:
    • It is the responsibility of the Team Advisor to properly acquire the drugs from a doctor or pharmacist, using a prescription written out specifically for research ONLY and NOT to an individual.
    • All prescription drugs used in a student research project must be kept in a locked cabinet, accessible by the Team Advisor ONLY, when not being used by the team.
    • Any unused prescriptions drugs must be disposed of in a proper manner by the Team Advisor.
    • This must all be documented in the Mission Folder.
  7. Alcohol & Tobacco: The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulates the production of alcohol and distribution of alcohol and tobacco products. The use of alcohol and tobacco are prohibited in the eCYBERMISSION competition.
  8. Weapons, Firearms and Explosives: The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulates the purchase and use of firearms and explosives. The use of weapons, firearms, and explosives is prohibited in the eCYBERMISSION competition.
    • A firearm is defined as a weapon from which a projectile is fired by gunpowder.
    • An explosive is any chemical compound, mixture or device whose primary purpose is to function by explosion. These include, but are not limited to, dynamite, black powder, pellet powder, detonators and igniters.
    • Studies involving a fully assembled rocket motor, reload kit or propellant modules containing more than 62.5 grams of propellant are allowed, but are subject to the permitting, storage and other requirements of federal explosive laws and regulations.
    • Potato guns and paintball guns are not considered firearms or weapons unless they are intended to be used as weapons, but they must be treated as hazardous devices.
  9. Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents: Research using microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, viroid, prions, rickettsia, fungi, and parasites), recombinant DNA technologies or human or animal fresh/frozen tissue, blood, or bodily fluids may involve potentially hazardous biological agents. When dealing with potentially hazardous biological agents, it is the responsibility of the team and ALL of the adults involved in the project to conduct and document a risk assessment (using the Risk Assessment Form) to define the potential level of harm, injury, or disease to PLANTS, ANIMALS, and HUMANS that may occur when working with biological agents. The risk assessment determines the biosafety level (BSL, see below), which in turn determines if the project can proceed, and if so, the laboratory facilities, equipment, training and supervision required.
  10. All projects involving potentially hazardous biological agents must be reviewed and approved BEFORE experimentation begins by the appropriate review board: IBC (Institutional Biosafety Committee for studies done at a research institution) or school administration (for studies done in a school setting). If a project is being reviewed by a school administrator, they must complete the PHBA Permission Form and the team must attach the completed form to their Mission Folder.

10 - Disqualification

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  1. Disqualification of Applications, Entries, Participants or Teams
    1. The eCYBERMISSION Staff may decide to disqualify a team or disqualify an entry if it is of the opinion that:
      1. There is a violation of any portion of the rules. Violations include, but are not limited to, failing to submit required IRB and Risk Assessment Approval Forms that are signed and dated prior to testing; falsification of student information; violating the eCYBERMISSION Code of Conduct (found in Section 1); a team consists of less than three completely registered team members; plagiarism; or inappropriate conduct or misuse of the eCYBERMISSION website or server by gaining access to areas that the user does not have explicit right to use or by using the server for purposes not related to the development and deployment of an entry. For example, a team, individual team member or user will be immediately disqualified if the team, individual team member or user gains unauthorized access to an area of the server other than the area designated for students or teams.
      2. If an entry contains materials that appear to violate any of the competition rules, eCYBERMISSION, at its discretion, may disqualify the entry in its entirety, remove the materials from the entry which violate such rules or requirements and/or withdraw an award that has been previously paid out to the team.
    2. A final decision to disqualify a team or an entry may only be made by eCYBERMISSION and AEOP.
  2. Disqualification of Virtual Judges
    1. In order to avoid an actual or apparent conflict of interest, a Virtual Judge must not be closely related to team members or a Team Advisor of a team that the Virtual Judge is screening, evaluating or judging. Accordingly, no one may act as a Virtual Judge with respect to an entry of a team if he or she is closely related to any member or Team Advisor of that team or otherwise feels that he or she might be, or appear to be, biased. Parents, Team Advisors and CyberGuides cannot also serve as Virtual Judges in the same competition year. Violations of this rule may result in disqualification for the team.
    2. A final decision to disqualify or remove a Virtual Judge may only be made by eCYBERMISSION.

11 - Competition Changes and Intellectual Property

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  1. Extensions of Contest Deadlines
    1. AEOP and eCYBERMISSION may extend any competition deadline and will post any such extension on the eCYBERMISSION website.
  2. Ownership of Intellectual Property and the Rights and Duties of Parties
    1. An entry will remain the property of the submitting team. By submitting an entry, each individual team member grants eCYBERMISSION a perpetual, irrevocable, fully paid-up and royalty free right and license to use the entry in whole or in part for any purpose whatsoever, beginning with the submission of the entry and continuing until September 20, 2026. Such right and license includes, but is not limited to, improving, modifying, making derivative works, enlarging, distributing and making such entry available for use by any person or organization. During such license period eCYBERMISSION will also keep such entry on its website, or any successor website, and can distribute such entry to any person or organization in any manner.
    2. eCYBERMISSION shall have the right, but not the obligation, to take actions it deems appropriate to prevent misuse of an entry. The team members and their parent(s) or guardian(s) may take such steps or actions to prevent misuse of the entry, as submitted, as they deem appropriate.
  3. Finality of eCYBERMISSION Decisions
    1. Each decision made by eCYBERMISSION, with respect to any matter related to any eCYBERMISSION contest, shall, in all respects, be final and binding on the team member(s), his, her or their parent(s) or guardian(s), the school(s) and the Team Advisor, and shall not be subject to review.
  4. Modification of the Rules
    1. eCYBERMISSION and AEOP reserves the right to modify the rules to the extent that is fair and appropriate. Modifications will be posted on the eCYBERMISSION website.

12 - Awards

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  1. General Award Terms
    1. eCYBERMISSION will adhere to all applicable tax laws and regulations relating to the payment of awards, including any applicable required withholding. All taxes on awards, if any, will be paid by the winners. Before presentation of awards, all winners must supply eCYBERMISSION Mission Control with their Social Security Numbers, (which will be kept confidential) in addition to the awardees’ parents and/or guardians opening a Treasury Direct account (minor-linked account) to process the U.S. Savings Bonds awards upon request. Students and Team Advisors who do not provide correct and complete information by the deadline provided are seen as refusing to comply with the rules and regulations of the competition and are forfeiting their claim to an award.
    2. There is a one-year statute of limitations on receiving awards. If incorrect personal information (e.g. Social Security Number, Treasury Direct Account Number, etc.) is provided to eCYBERMISSION that leads to the inability to purchase the savings bond, it is the responsibility of the award recipient (or parent/guardian) to contact eCYBERMISSION within one year of winning in order to rectify the situation. Any claims made after one year of winning the award will not be honored, and the winner will forfeit any and all awards.
  2. State Awards
    1. First Place State Winning Teams will receive up to $1,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond (Matured Value) per student.
    2. Second Place State Winning Teams will receive up to $500 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond (Matured Value) per student.
  3. Regional Awards
    1. All Regional Finalists Teams additionally receive up to $1,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond (Matured Value) per student.
    2. First Place Regional Winning Teams will additionally receive up to $2,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond (Matured Value) per student.
    3. Students on teams that score First-Place in Regional Judging will attend NJ&EE, paid for by eCYBERMISSION. This year’s NJ&EE will be mid-June, 2021. Exact location, dates, and times will be announced later.
  4. National Awards
    1. First Place National Winning Teams will additionally receive up to $6,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond (Matured Value) per student.
  5. Honorable Mention
    1. Third Place Teams at each grade level in each state will receive Honorable Mention recognition.
  6. eCYBERMISSION State Winning Teams
    1. First and Second-Place Winning Teams, at the State Level of competitions, will be subject to validation as a legitimate team. Validation of the team includes reviewing the Mission Folder for any rules violations and confirming that award recipients are U.S. Citizens or LPRs. If a team cannot be validated per competition rules, then ALL team members on that team will forfeit their position as a First or Second Place Winner. Monetary awards, in the form of a U.S. Savings Bond, will be awarded to all team members with a valid Social Security Number. If a member of the team does not have a valid Social Security Number, that person forfeits their monetary award. If a First-Place Winning Team at the State Level is not legitimate, then the Second-Place Winning Team may have the opportunity to earn the First-Place State Level Awards. State Winning Teams must obtain a minimum average score of 300 during the Virtual Judging phase in order to be eligible for prizes.
  7. eCYBERMISSION Regional Winning Teams
    1. Every student and Team Advisor on the original State Winning Team that advances to the Regional Level must be present and participate during Regional Judging in order for the team to qualify as a possible National Finalist. If any student or Team Advisor is not present, the team will be disqualified and will forfeit the Regional Finalist Award.
  8. eCYBERMISSION National Winning Teams
    1. Every National Finalist must contribute to their team’s national competition preparation of the team's display and presentation, as well as every team member and Team Advisor participate in the entire duration (every activity and event) of (NJ&EE. Teams who do not meet these requirements cannot attend NJ&EE and are not eligible for National Awards.
    2. If National Finalists are not able to attend NJ&EE and therefore cannot make a complete team, then the remaining team members will not be allowed to compete, and ALL team members will be asked to forfeit their Regional Award. If the National Finalist Team is unable to represent their region at NJ&EE, the next highest scoring team in the region may be invited to replace that National Finalist Team. Additionally, replacement teams may have the opportunity to earn Regional Awards if they are chosen to represent the region at NJ&EE. The team’s Team Advisor is required to accompany all students through the duration of their travel to NJ&EE, and all students/Team Advisors traveling to NJ&EE must be traveling from and returning to the same point of origin as their team members at the same time. National Finalist students cannot travel without the Team Advisor to and from NJ&EE unless given express permission to travel with their parents.
    3. Only travel to and from the team’s state of origin for National Finalist Teams and their Team Advisor will be provided for arrivals and departures to NJ&EE.