Urban Barcode Project
Project Guidelines: Rules of Participation

All participants are required to read and comply with these rules for participating in the Urban Barcode Project (UBP). Any team whose participants violate these rules will be ineligible to continue the project. The DNA Learning Center reserves the right to interpret and amend these rules at any time.

Eligibility Requirements:

Team Guidelines:

  • All entries must be made by a student team and a UBP qualified science teacher or mentor.
  • All student team members must be enrolled in grades 9-12 at a high school, public or private, in the New York City metropolitan area. Students must enroll as a team of 2-4 students.
  • Students on a team do not need to be from the same school.
  • Each student can only be a member of one team.

UBP Qualified Science Teachers:

  • Must be science teachers who are currently employed as full or part-time faculty at any public or private high school in the New York City metropolitan area to sponsor a team.
  • Must have completed the UBP DNA Barcoding Workshop.
  • UBP-trained science teachers agree to ensure students they sponsor are properly supervised for all project-related activities. If required by their school, teachers must submit parent release forms for each one of their students participating in the UBP.
  • Teachers are also responsible for enforcing all safety regulations required by the UBP as well any and all rules and regulations required by their local schools and the NYC Department of Education.
  • UBP-trained science teachers will usually sponsor students from their own schools. At their discretion, they may sponsor teams composed of students from their own and/or other schools. 

Mentor Guidelines:

A mentor can be an undergraduate or graduate student, Ph.D. researcher, or any person with a working knowledge of DNA barcoding and/or ecology who is willing to spend sufficient time with a high school student team to bring a project to completion.

  • Must be currently employed as full or part-time staff or enrolled as a student at any university or research institution/organization in the New York Metropolitan area.
  • Mentors agree to ensure students they sponsor are properly supervised for all project-related activities. If required by the students' schools, mentors must submit parent release forms for each one of their students participating in the UBP.
  • Mentors are also responsible for enforcing all safety regulations required by the UBP as well any and all rules and regulations required by their local institutions and the NYC Department of Education.
  • Mentors may sponsor teams composed of students from different schools.

Entry Requirements: Project Proposal

Students are required to submit a proposal for an investigation that satisfies the following requirements:

  1. Investigations must make use of DNA barcoding.
  2. Investigations may not make use of the collection of any samples derived from humans (blood, cells, hair, etc.).
  3. Investigations may not involve the collection of samples that are of known risk to human health including blood or other bodily fluids, clinical samples, animal droppings, etc.
  4. Reagents and materials for DNA isolation, and sequencing for a maximum of thirty samples, sequenced in both the forward and reverse directions, will be provided to each team. Any laboratory materials used outside of those provided by must be detailed in the proposal.
  5. All projects must specify in detail what samples will be collected, including: type of samples, estimated number of samples, how these samples will be collected, where these samples will be collected, and what efforts, if any, are needed to avoid damage during the collection process.
  6. No team may employ methods to collect samples that put team members or other people at risk of being harmed.
  7. The project may not involve harming or destroying any animal life (with the exception of collecting selected invertebrates not classified as threatened or endangered).
  8. The project may not involve the destruction or significant damage of plants that are public or private property, or the collection of entire plant specimens from parks or gardens. No threatened or endangered plants may be collected. In most cases, collected plant samples should not exceed a single leaf or needle.
  9. It is the responsibility of each UBP team to determine if the location of sample collection requires authorization and to obtain the appropriate permission. Any required documentation must be maintained by the UBP teacher or mentor.
  10. Teams must document authorization to collect and specify in detail the collection location, the reason they need entry, what safety hazards (if any) are present, and what safety precautions (if any) will be taken. This documentation must be signed and verified by the UBP mentor, the principal of the students' school(s), the students, and the parents of all minors on the team.
  11. Any samples collected from commercial vendors (stores, markets, etc.) must be anonymized. The names, locations, and any other identifying information about where samples (e.g. meat, fish, other foods) were purchased may only be recorded in the team’s private notes, and not released without written authorization from the vendor.
  12. No team may violate any laws or statutes as part of their participation in the UBP.
  13. Participants agree to assume any and all responsibility for all their actions connected with participation in the UBP. Participants agree to assume full liability for any damages, injuries, or liabilities connected with their participation in theUBP.

Proposal Deadlines

UBP proposals for the 2016-17 academic year are being reviewed on a rolling basis. We can only accept a limited number of projects, so we encourage teachers to submit their proposals as soon as possible. Submitting your proposal early will increase your chances of being accepted into the program.

The deadlines below are dates we have set aside for proposal review. The FINAL deadline will be December 16, 2016.

  • Deadline 1: Monday, October 17, 2016
  • Deadline 2: Monday, November 7, 2016
  • Deadline 3: Monday, December 5, 2016
  • FINAL Deadline: Friday, December 16, 2016

For Download

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