Life Sciences and Energy

BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition winners announced

By Business & Finance
11 January 2016
BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition
President Michael D Higgins speaks during the 2016 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition

Maria Louise Fufezan (aged 16) and Diana Bura (aged 15) have taken home the top prize at the 52nd BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition for their project entitled, ‘An Investigation into the Effects of Enzymes used in Animal Feed Additives on the Lifespan of Caenorhabditis Elegans’.

The announcement was made in the BT Arena at Dublin’s RDS by Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills, and Shay Walsh, managing director, BT Ireland.

Maria and Diana were presented with a cheque for €5,000, the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 28th European Union Young Scientist competition in Brussels later this year and the BTYSTE perpetual trophy.

The showcase was open to the public from January 7th to 9th 2016 with up to 60,000 visitors, young and old, visiting over the course of the event.

There were a record number of entries for this year’s event, which highlights the need for this interest in science to be supported by a much improved career guidance service at second level.

Shay Walsh, managing Director, BT Ireland, said: “We are proud that the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition continues to act as a springboard for future entrepreneurs, academics, scientists and technologists and we have countless past winners who are proof of that. “I would like to sincerely congratulate every single student who took part this week and to the thousands of other students who submitted a project but unfortunately didn’t qualify. Of course, particular congratulations must go to Maria and Diana, who will now join a prestigious list of esteemed winners and go on to represent Ireland at the EU Young Scientist later this year.”

Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, commented: “One of the things that always strikes me about this BT Young Scientist & Technology exhibition is its timing – the beginning of a new year. For many of the participants here, this may indeed represent the beginning of a new phase in your lives, the beginning of a love affair with science, with scholarship and research. For, this event provides you with a wonderful opportunity to showcase your talent and potential. It allows you to develop your natural instincts of curiosity and as Einstein once said “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Almost 1,200 students from across the island of Ireland covering 550 projects from 29 counties competed in the RDS for the coveted title.

The award for Best Individual went to transition year student Shane Curran (aged 16) from Terenure College, Dublin for his project ‘Velodrome: The Automated Logistics Fulfilment Platform’.

The award for Runner-Up Group went to sixth year students Gabriel Barat (aged 17) and Adrian Wolniak (aged 16) from Synge Street CBS, Dublin for their project ‘A Mathematical Model of Coffee Rust’.

The award for Individual runner-ip went to fifth year student Renuka Chintapalli (aged 16) from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin for her project ‘Developing a predictive tool for identifying FLNc-associated biomarkers of oesophageal cancer metastasis’.

Elizabeth Cullen from Kildare was been named the winner of the BT Masters competition in association with the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2016. The Masters competition is open to those aged over 20 years.

Elizabeth along with two other finalists, Justin Wallace from Meath and Ina Langford from Limerick, presented their ideas to a panel of judges which included Dr Tony Scott, founder of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, Shay Walsh, managing director of BT Ireland and Aisling Judge, former BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition winner.

Elizabeth’s project, ‘A proposal to investigate the feasibility of undertaking enhanced surveillance of cancer in Ireland’ focused on recording environmental factors in people diagnosed with cancer. Elizabeth won a prize fund of €1,000.