BT Young Scientist winners to represent Ireland at EU contest

11 Sep 2023

From left, Liam Carew, BT Ireland MD Shay Walsh, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, TD, and Shane O’Connor. Image: Fennell Photography

Shane O’Connor and Liam Carew are aiming for a top prize at one of the largest student science fairs in the world, competing against more than 130 participants.

The overall winners of the 2023 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) are going to represent Ireland at an EU competition.

Shane O’Connor and Liam Carew from The Abbey School in Tipperary will take part in this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which is one of the largest and most important student science fairs in the world.

This event showcases some of the best young scientific achievements in the EU and beyond. O’Connor and Carew will be competing against more than 130 participants from 36 countries throughout the EU, as well as the US, South Korea and Ukraine.

O’Connor and Carew’s project is titled: ‘Assessing the impact of second-level education on key aspects of adolescents’ life and development’. It was described as a very impressive survey examining how secondary-school students perceived school to impact on their social, physical and mental wellbeing.

Prof Joe Barry, chair of the social and behavioural sciences group judging panel, said the research found that inequality is prevalent in DEIS schools, but that “exponential improvements in areas of pastoral care and physical health are quickly closing this gap”.

BT Ireland MD Shay Walsh wished O’Connor and Carew the best of luck ahead of the EU competition and praised their project.

“Their winning BTYSTE project provided invaluable insights into the impact of secondary-level education on young people – their project is an example of the exceptional talent amongst secondary-school students across the island of Ireland,” Walsh said.

“I look forward to cheering them on as they present their fantastic project to the judges in Brussels.”

Ireland has a strong track record in this EU competition, having won 17 first place prizes over the past 33 years. Last year, the overall winners of the 2022 BTYSTE – Aditya Kumar and Aditya Joshi – also won the top prize at this EU competition.

In 2021, three BTYSTE winners – Greg Tarr, Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan – took home top prizes against 150 young scientists at the EU event.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic