BT Ireland has launched the 2013 Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, so students from around Ireland have until 1 October to enter their ideas and inventions.
This year’s exhibition saw 550 projects make it to the finals, with 221 schools from 30 counties taking part.
The ultimate winners of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in January were Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle. The two students from Synge Street CBS in Dublin won for their project which looked at planetary motion and how satellites can stay on the right flight path when in space.
Trends in entries over past six years
BT has been carrying out research into trends in the 3,000-plus projects that have qualified for the competition over the past six years. The aim of the research was to understand patterns in students’ thinking and from where they draw their inspiration.
And entrepreneurship appears to be on students’ minds.
According to the research, in the 2012 exhibition, 15pc of students demonstrated entrepreneurial flair. In contrast, BT said six years ago, just 2pc of projects could be considered commercially viable.
BT has called on the Patents Office to be present at exhibitions to help students protect and grow their ideas.
“In 2012, the Patents Office received queries from more than 30 entries prior to the exhibition. We are certainly seeing a trend for more of a product, innovation or invention-led project from the applications we get," said Dr Fergal Brady, examiner of Patents at the Patents Office.
Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle won the 2012 Young Scientist competition
Agri-business is another area students seem to be honing in on. In 2012, more than 60 projects focused on the agri-business sector. BT said this was a four-fold increase on the 2007 entries in this sector and shows how students are recognising how agriculture continues to be a key component of the export market.
Students are also embracing app technology, with both the 2011 and 2012 exhibitions featuring apps that were developed for the everyday consumer.
BT said there has been a five-fold increase in the number of projects investigating possible alternative and renewable energy sources.
The dangers of social media, environmental conservation and mental health appear to be other rising focus points for students in their projects.
As for the geographical distribution of entries, BT said:
- In 2007, Co Mayo submitted only one entry to the exhibition versus 11 in 2012
- Co Galway has increased its volume of entries from five in 2007 to 14 in 2012
- Kerry increased in numbers from two in 2007 to 15 in 2012
- In 2012, Cork had more than 100 projects exhibiting for the first time
- Co Kilkenny has decreased its volume of entries over the past six years, from 13 in 2007 to five in 2012
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place in the RDS, Dublin, from 9-12 January 2013.
There will be more than 120 awards, including the overall BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year. More than 30 participating students will have the opportunity to take part in the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp, an intensive innovation skills camp to equip students with commercialisation skills.