Health and AI are taking centre stage at BTYSTE 2024

6 Nov 2023

Secondary school students Alison Meylor, Basil Amin and Lily-May Ennis. Image: Naoise Culhane

BT said AI, diversity and inclusion are all emerging trends in the submissions this year, while health is the subject of 16pc of projects.

More than 2,000 project ideas have been submitted for the latest BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE), with a number of emerging trends seen from these submissions.

AI, diversity, inclusion and mental health are all emerging trends from the massive batch of project ideas, highlighting the interests of current students.

But mental and physical health is the most common focus among these projects, representing 16pc of all submissions. This includes projects about mental, menstrual, sleep, medicine, ageing and behavioural health.

Young people are becoming more concerned with vaping, as 2pc of all projects are related to the health and environmental implications of this practice.

AI has become an emerging trend with the rise of AI models such as ChatGPT. BT said 4pc of all entries are related to AI, such as projects on how these models can be used effectively in education and health.

Other entries suggest young people are becoming more interested in exploring how technology can improve the lives of neurodivergent people, while 3pc of projects are focused on developing apps and technology to improve the daily lives of those with physical disabilities.

Certain topics remain of high interest to young people, with the environment being covered in 11pc of submissions. Meanwhile, 9pc of the projects are investigating topics related to sport, while 6pc delve into education.

Minister for Education Norma Foley, TD, said the 60th BT Young Scientist event has a new health and wellbeing category, allowing students to explore their interest in this area further.

“I am looking forward to visiting the exhibition in January to see the exceptional ideas and innovations being showcased by students across Ireland,” Foley said.

BT said 550 projects from hundreds of students will be selected to present at the 2024 BTYSTE event, which will take place next year between 10 January and 13 January.

“As one of the largest STEM school exhibitions in Europe, our alumni have been recognised globally and with the standard of entries for 2024 just as high as years before, we’re very confident that trend will continue,” said BTYSTE head Mari Cahalane. “We are excited to see the 2024 BTYSTE entrants showcase their extraordinary work at next year’s exhibition.”

Earlier this year, the overall winners of the BTYSTE 2023 were recognised at one of the largest science fares in the world. Shane O’Connor and Liam Carew were awarded second place at the EU Contest for Young Scientists, for their insightful project that surveyed 2,000 Irish students about how their educational experiences impacted their social, physical and mental wellbeing.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic