After a full three days of judging and exhibiting at the RDS, Dublin, Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy have been named the overall winners of the 2015 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.
Their project, Alcohol Consumption: Does the apple fall far from the tree?, wowed judges and was presented with the BT Young Scientist perpetual trophy following a ceremony that doled out more than 120 prizes to talented students and inspiring teachers.
Murphy and O’Sullivan’s social science research looked at alcohol consumption among young people and investigated how parents’ habits impact on this. The transition year students from Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk, Co Cork were inspired by their own experiences as young people at an age when decisions regarding alcohol are being made.
Murphy and O’Sullivan were flying solo at the exhibition, being the only participants from their school, and now enter the record books as the second-ever mixed-gender team to take home the top prize, following Emma Donnellan and Henry Byrne in 1987.
They may have started something of a trend, as the team of Patrick Sweeney, Chloe Daniels and Annette Moran from Carrick-on-Shannon Community School, Co Leitrim took the Best Group runner-up prize for their project on birdsong and music.
The 82-member judging panel also awarded Jack O’Sullivan the Best Individual prize for his SmartphonePC project, with the runner-up prize going to Rachael NíDhonnachadha for Brap, a handwrap to help prevent injury in boxers.
As overall winners, Murphy and O’Sullivan will receive a cheque for €5,000 and will also go on to represent Ireland in the EU Competition for Young Scientists in Milan this September. Irish students have taken home top honours in this contest 16 times, and our best wishes are with the young team from Cork for continued success.
From left: BT Ireland CEO Colm O’Neill, BTYSTE 2015 winners Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy, and Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan