BT commits €2m to three more years of young scientist exhibition

5 Apr 2011

All-island telecoms provider BT has committed €2m to support the next three years of the Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. The event has grown to become the largest of its kind in Europe.

BT has also today announced it will increase its travel and accommodation grant by 50pc to €75,000. The grant will be a boost to schools across Ireland that require extra financial support to travel and stay in Dublin for the annual fair and competition in January.

To date, BT has provided more than €250,000 in grants to schools on the island since the scheme’s inception.

Students from the exhibition have gone on to secure awards at international events, such as the UK Young Scientist, the European Young Scientist and the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the US. The exhibition has also been the launch pad for students who have turned their innovative ideas into commercial opportunities and enterprises.

“We believe the exhibition ticks all the right boxes for the country, its students and BT – it helps stimulate STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, and gives a much-needed lift to spirits,” Graham Sutherland, chief executive officer, BT Ireland, explained.

“Innovation and skills are critical to the success of economies and major brands like BT, and through the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, we can seek to encourage bright young minds to invent new products and services, start enterprises, generate exports and ultimately create jobs.”

Getting ready for 2012

BT also called on students to begin to prepare their projects for the 2012 exhibition. The closing for entry is 3 October 2011, and the company is hoping to break a new record for entry numbers in 2012.

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn TD, said: “The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, which is now entering its 48th year, gives young people a great opportunity to move beyond the classroom and to display their originality and research skills to great practical effect.

“It provides the motivation and stimulus to encourage today’s students to strive to be at the forefront of research and innovation in tomorrow’s world and continuing to encourage our young people to be interested in science and technology is vitally important to the economy.”

“I would like to commend BT for continuing to support this important venture, as well as the students, teachers, organisers and judges who put so much energy and professionalism into this event each year.”

The next BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place in the RDS, Dublin, from 11-15 January 2012.

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