Donegal students encouraged to enter BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition as it moves to new format

The competition rises to a new level of science and technology

BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition

BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition goes virtual for 2021 - entries now open

The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) will go ahead but it will be in a fully virtual format.

Donegal students have traditionally done very well in the event, with many projects qualifying for the exhibition stage and taking home prizes and commendations.

Now in its 57th year, BTYSTE is Europe's longest running science exhibition. And organisers must now embrace the very innovation which it encourages in students to ensure the event goes ahead in light of ongoing safety concerns around Covid-19.

BTYSTE 2021 will run from Wednesday, January 6 to Friday, January 9, 2021. But in what is set to be an exciting new departure, students will now be exhibiting virtually with judging taking place across digital platforms. Members of the public, both in Ireland and across the globe, will be able to visit the Exhibition online and enjoy a full calendar of events including special acts, the Primary Science Fair, business events and the exhibits themselves.

Minister for Education, Norma Foley said: “The BTYSTE is one of the highlights of the calendar for students, teachers and the public and has been for the past 56 years. The exhibition continues to showcase the outstanding innovation our students have to offer society.  Today 's announcement is a demonstration of science, technology and creativity by all involved, ensuring that the exhibition can be moved to an online format so that it can proceed next January."

As always, there will be over 200 prizes to be won, including the coveted title of BT Young Scientist and Technologist(s) of the Year. This top prize which comes with a €7,500 prize fund plus a chance to represent Ireland at the EU Contest for Young Scientists in Salamanca, Spain in September 2021.

"Now is the perfect time for learners across the country to begin thinking about the great projects they will enter into the BTYSTE 2021 and The Primary Science Fair," said Minister Foley.  "STEM knowledge and skills are integral to every aspect of our lives and it is initiatives such as BTYSTE which play a crucial role in developing these in our learners. The Department of Education is proud to continue to partner with and play a role in the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and I look forward to engaging with the exhibition in its new format.”

The online entry process remains the same as previous years, with the added bonus that it will be free to all as project entry fees have been waived. Entries can now be submitted online at www.btyoungscientist.com and students are encouraged to get thinking about their projects ahead of the closing date of September 22 to qualify for the final 550 places at the Exhibition in January.

To enter, an individual or group must submit a one-page proposal outlining their project idea. Entries can be made in any one of four categories: technology; social and behavioural science; biological and ecological science; and chemical, physical and mathematical science.

More details about the format of the virtual exhibition will be revealed over the coming weeks. Students and teachers are encouraged to keep an eye on the BTYSTE website and social media channels for exciting updates.

Head of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition Mari Cahalane said: “People who have experienced the exhibition over the past 56 years understand that it is about much more than a science competition. It’s about imagining an idea and then bringing that idea to life through research and development.

"We’re going to emphasise that in its truest form by bringing the BTYSTE virtual for 2021. The BTYSTE plays a major role in inspiring thousands of young people each year to explore the near-endless possibilities in STEM and we as a team are inspired this year to do something very new and exciting with BTYSTE. We will be holding information sessions online for students and teachers over the coming months and our website is the best source for up to date information for students looking to get started on their entries.”

The Primary Science Fair (PSF) will also return to the BTYSTE in a virtual format from January 6 to 8, 2021. Open to primary-level students from Third to Sixth Classes, it will run alongside the main Exhibition online. The PSF has become an integral part of the overall BTYSTE festival of science and technology over the last 17 years. Details on how to enter can be found at https://btyoungscientist.com/ the-primary-science-fair-at- btyste/primary-science-info- exhibiting-schools/

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