Donegal's finest young innovators showcased in virtual BT Young Scientists Exhibition

The renowned exhibition goes virtual for the first time

Donegal's finest young innovators showcased  in virtual BT Young Scientists Exhibition

BT Young Scientists and Technology Exhibition goes virtual

The 57th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition is underway, with 19 innovative projects from around Donegal among those competing for the top prize.

This year for the first time the exhibition is virtual. This means that there won’t be the usual buzz of excitement in the RDS as thousands of visitors attend the exhibition each day. But it does mean that more people can enjoy the event virtually and free of charge.

President Michael D Higgins officially opens the event in a ceremony streamed from Mansion House today (Wednesday) at 1pm, showing just how significant this important annual celebration of future scientists is to the country.

President Higgins is a great supporter of the exhibition, praising it for its ability to provide a platform for young people to showcase their talents.

He said: “It is at the pinnacle of scientific achievement and discovery amongst young people worldwide.”

The projects entered by Donegal students cover a wide variety of topics, from Covid-19 and its social and environmental impacts; sustainable alternatives to everyday items; the potential of tree bark as an antimicrobial; weather; the making of uileann pipes; and many more. 

Students have set up their stands in a Covid-safe manner in school, and they will be quizzed virtually by a minimum of three judges from a pool of 80. 

Managing Director of BT Ireland Shay Walsh said: “I am excited to welcome the next wave of future scientists and entrepreneurs to the virtual 57th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Over the next few days, we’ll be speaking to all our participants in a virtual setting and providing them with a great line-up of educational events and entertainment. They will get the chance to showcase their projects to some of Ireland’s most accomplished scientists and technologists, who are part of our judging panel.

Winners will be announced at 1pm this Friday, January 8. They will be presented with a cheque for €7,500 and a perpetual trophy. As well as the overall title, there are more than 200 other prizes up for grabs for individuals, groups and teachers in a range of STEM disciplines.

A feature of BTYSE is the number of showcases and talks that run alongside the exhibition. Going online has not taken away from this experience. Throughout the three days of the exhibition, participants and virtual visitors can enjoy interviews, discussions and shows including: Professor Luke O’Neill on making vaccines in a global pandemic; The Climate Emergency; How to Become an Astronaut; and 'Our Amazing Universe: A journey of discovery.’

Taoiseach Micheál Martin had a message for students taking part in this year’s exhibition. 

He said: “I’m delighted the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is going ahead this year, and I want to congratulate BT and the Young Scientist Board who’ve pulled it together despite all of the obstacles. 

“Over the past year, we’ve seen how important science and technology are to solving our global problems, enhancing our living conditions, and helping us to adapt more rapidly to crises. 

“The strength of our scientific community has developed new vaccines and given us new treatments for Covid-19.  It is through technology we have been able to bridge the social distance we’ve been faced with.

“It fills me with immense pride and hope to see the ideas of bright, innovative and creative minds, and I wish all participants, and those supporting them on their journey, every success in the future.”

BT will host a number of fringe events in 2021 including the Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) TechStarter event where attendees can hear from a panel of change makers in the field of innovation and technology. BT Nextipedia, the business innovation symposium, will feature Aron Ralston, whose harrowing experience trapped in a southeast Utah canyon was made into the 2010 movie ‘127 Hours’, a true-life story of innovating during a crisis.

More information is available at www.btyoungscientist.com or @BTYSTE on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or Snapchat (username: BTYSTE).

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