Biotechnology is the application of knowledge of biological systems to solve a problem, create a product, or provide a service. Biotechnology projects will fall into one of the following three subject fields: Crop development, Animal science, or Microbial:

  • Crop Development underscores that the interest is not in just plants, but in plants which are involved in an agricultural, horticultural or silvicultural (forestry) production. Projects in this area may investigate problems of herbicide tolerance, spacing, cultivation, irrigation, effect of soil variation, hybridization, etc.

  • Animal Science projects would pertain to animals involved in agriculture and aquaculture, those domesticated as pets, or for sport, as well as projects where humans are participating in wild animals' lives, perhaps through habitat revitalization, population management, or harvesting. All projects involving animals demand careful planning so that any experimentation is not deleterious to the health, comfort, or physical integrity of animals. Study-type projects should be considered by pupils with an interest in Animal Science. Possible topics include enhancement of animal production, reproductive technologies, genetics and transgenics, animal health, housing, training and interactions.

  • Microbial projects consider how microbials are affecting productivity in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. Possible topics include plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, biological weed and fungus control, bio-fuel cells, etc.

Projects which focus on the acquisition of knowledge about how something lives should be categorized as Life Science, not Biotechnology. The distinction is similar to that between Physical Science projects and Engineering projects. In both cases projects in the latter division deal with an application of knowledge to solve a problem. Often the discriminating factor is in the student's conceptualization of the project. There will be situations where the choice is not clear.