Record number of students enter BT Young Scientist contest

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Students Luke Finnegan, Sinead McIntyre and Eimear O'Connell, all from Scoil Mhuire in Clane, Co Kildare, with Colm O'Neill, CEO, BT Ireland

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BT has released figures about entries to the 2013 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, which will take place in January in Dublin, with the contest having broken all previous records for entries in its 49-year history, as more than 1,800 ideas have been submitted.

According to BT, 4,189 students from 362 schools have submitted 1,879 project ideas for the 2013 competition. And entries in the technology category are also on the ascent. Apparently, there has been a 24pc increase in entries in the technology category from students since the 2012 contest, with 370 projects entered for the 2013 competition.

As well as this, 504 ideas have been entered in the biological and ecological sciences category; 308 ideas have been submitted in the chemical, physical and mathematical sciences category; and the social and behavioural sciences category received 697 entries.

BT said there has also been a significant increase in the number of students developing commercially viable projects in recent years.

Colm O’Neill, CEO, BT Ireland, described the increased engagement from secondary school students as "remarkable, especially as the contest is now in its 49th year.

"The vision of the exhibition founders and BT has become a reality – raising awareness of the sciences, unearthing new ideas, giving young people a platform to shine, and showing Ireland’s scientific skills at international competitions," said O’Neill.

Speaking today, Ireland’s Education Minister Ruairí Quinn, TD, spoke about how the exhibition continues to break new records for both the number of projects being entered and the schools competing.

"Research and innovation are critically important to our economy, and I commend everyone involved in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition for providing a platform to stimulate and showcase Ireland’s talent both on a national and international stage," he said.

The contest will take place at the RDS from 9-12 January 2013.

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Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com