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SciFest 2019 seeks budding STEM talents

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019 4:56pm

Are you a second-level student and think you have the STEM skills to represent Ireland in California?

Well, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh recently launched the 12th annual SciFest@College competition and you have until Friday 8 March to apply!

SciFest is the largest and most inclusive second-level STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) fair initiative on the island of Ireland. Since launching in 2008, more than 60,000 students have participated in the competition, which represents an average year on year increase of 23 per cent in participation.

SciFest aims to give students of all abilities and backgrounds the opportunity to develop research, problem solving, critical thinking, and presentation skills.

Minister McHugh said: “SciFest is a fantastic competition. As a Government, we are committed to promoting young people’s involvement in this area. An event like SciFest gets young people engaged in STEM subjects and in research and innovation.

“It drives interest and gives them a great opportunity to explore ideas and develop their skills outside their studies. The support and inspiration that teachers and parents offer is also really important.”

Speaking at the launch of SciFest 2019 at the Technological University in Dublin, Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO said: “SciFest has now been running for 11 years and 2019 will mark our 12th year of the competition. I couldn’t be happier at what the competition has become and just how many second-level students are now showcasing their interest in STEM. Last year over 10,000 students participated across the country and I look forward to seeing how much the competition grows this year.”

Margie McCarthy, Interim Director, Innovation and Education Directorate, Science Foundation Ireland said: “SciFest is a terrific initiative that enables over 10,000 school students to grow their knowledge and passion for STEM. Science Foundation Ireland are delighted to support this nationwide initiative since its inception through our SFI Discover Programme, which is working to make science accessible to all and highlights the importance of scientific inquiry.”

In SciFest, second-level students showcase STEM projects at a series of one-day science fairs held locally in schools and regionally at 16 venues in the institutes of technology, TU Dublin, DCU and St Mary’s College, Derry. The winners from each regional STEM fair will go on to compete at a national final in November 2019.

The winner(s) of the SciFest National Final 2019 will be presented with a trophy and will represent Ireland at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2020 in Anaheim, California.

SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Boston Scientific, Intel Ireland and Specsavers.

Last year’s overall national final winner was Adam Kelly, a fifth-year student from Skerries Community College, for his open source solution to simulating quantum computing. Adam will represent Ireland at the ISEF 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona later this year.

Adam was one of 63 students who went on to exhibit 37 STEM projects at the national final.

Students wishing to follow in Adam’s footsteps can log on to the SciFest website (www.scifest.ie) and enter online.

Completed entries must be submitted by Friday 8 March.

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