The 2011 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition received the highest number of entries in its 47-year history, with a record-breaking 3,943 students across Ireland taking part.
A whopping 1,735 projects have been entered into the 2011 exhibition, which has risen by 35pc, a positive sign for the prospects of science and innovation for the future of the country.
“Science, technology, engineering and maths are considered to be engines of growth and innovation in the knowledge economy, and I am very encouraged to see higher numbers of students showing their interest and aptitude in these key subjects,” said Tanaiste and Minister for Education and Skills Mary Coughlan.
“The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, which my department continues to support, gives smart students with smart ideas a platform to shine, and I would urge students to consider these subjects when making college and career choices,” she said.
Closer look at entrants
Some 80pc of entrants are group projects and 20pc are individual entrants. The gender split of students was close, too, with 56pc of entrants being female.
The exhibition has also evolved to build on the research and hard work the students did on their projects and teach them the business skills they need to turn those ideas into commercial opportunities.
This Business of Science and Technology Programme helps bridge the gap between education and business, connecting leading business figures to the next generation.
Technology projects rose in popularity – 321 technology projects were entered for 2011, as opposed to 198 in 2010.
BT has sponsored the exhibition for 11 years and has created a bursary to financially support schools from outside of Dublin with its accommodation and travel expenses.
“After 47 years, and in the midst of these challenging economic times, it is really refreshing and uplifting to see the exhibition breaking records and attracting ideas from nearly 4,000 students,” said Graham Sutherland, CEO of BT Ireland.
“The exhibition has a pretty straightforward objective – bring science, technology, maths and engineering alive in schools across the island, and help people realise their relevance to everyday life, to career choice, and to the future prosperity of our economy.
“We need to build a sustainable future, and innovation, skills and export will play key roles,” said Sutherland.
The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition will take place in the RDS in Dublin from 12 January 2011.
Students can now interact with the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition through Facebook, Twitter and Bebo, as well as through the website or by phone.