31 students awarded Intel excellence medals

12 Oct 2009

Thirty-one second-level students have been awarded Intel Excellence in Science medals in recognition of their achievements at SciFest 2009.

They were handed their medals yesterday at a ceremony at Intel’s Open Innovation Lab in Leixlip by Science and Technology Minister Conor Lenihan TD.

SciFest is a national festival of science organised regionally in collaboration with the institutes of technology. It is open to all second-level students.

The aim is to encourage a love of science through project-based learning and to provide more opportunities for students to present and display the results of their scientific investigations. The SciFest initiative is jointly funded by Intel and Discover Science and Engineering as project partners.

Promotion of science education

“SciFest is an excellent example of co-operation between industry, education and government in the promotion of science education. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Intel for its generous support of science in both schools and colleges over many years and, of course, specifically for its support of the SciFest project,” Lenihan said.

“I know that SciFest also receives support from a range of other industries, such as BT and Abbott and institutions, both nationally and locally, and I’m glad of this opportunity to acknowledge their contribution to science education.”

Intel opened its Open Innovation Lab in Leixlip less than a fortnight ago. Speaking at the opening, Joe Foley, Intel Ireland Fab Operations factory manager, said: “As an innovation and technology company, Intel is committed to the education of the next generation of technology innovators.

“SciFest promotes the types of learning and skill sets that Ireland needs to succeed in the 21st century, namely collaborative learning, critical thinking, problem solving, research methodologies and communications. These skill sets need to be integrated into the education curriculum and students undertaking such project work should be rewarded in our national evaluation processes”.

The first SciFest

The inaugural SciFest was held in the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin, in 2006 and SciFest was launched nationwide in September 2007. Nine of the institutes of technology hosted SciFest fairs in 2008 and in 2009 all 14 institutes hosted a SciFest fair, reflecting the commitment of the institutes of technology to the support and promotion of science education.

In total 1,980 students from 162 schools exhibited 836 projects nationwide in SciFest 2009. This represented an increase of almost 25pc in the number of students participating compared with the previous year.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Conor Lenihan TD, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, and Dr Martin Curley, global director, Intel IT Innovation and director, Intel Labs Europe, at the official opening of the new Intel Innovation Open Lab in Leixlip.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years