Country’s students descend on RDS for BTYSTE 2016

6 Jan 2016

Shay Walsh, MD of BT Ireland, with students at the launch of BTYSTE 2016. Image via BTYSTE

It’s that time of year again, folks, as the 2016 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) enters its 52nd year, with 550 projects on show for the public and judging panel to get through.

With the opening ceremony for BTYSTE 2016 taking place later this morning, 60,000 visitors are expected to descend on the RDS in Dublin when the public get their chance to take a look at what’s the country’s youth have to offer in terms of hope for the future.

Of course, this year is not just about the kids, as it marks the first time that people over the age of 20 will be able to show what they can do in a separate competition with a grand prize of €1,000 for the winner.

However, back in the main event, there’s a lot at stake for whoever is the eventual winner, with a chance to pick up a cheque for €5,000, the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 28th European Union Young Scientist competition taking place in Brussels and, of course, the BTYSTE trophy.

There’s much to live up to for this year’s event given last year’s winners, Corkonians Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy, who picked up the top prize for their research project, which looked at alcohol consumption among young people and investigated how parents’ habits impact on this.

There’s also the addition of a bonus prize for motorheads, or anyone fascinated by engineering, frankly, with the winners being taken on an all-expenses-paid trip to the home of the Formula One Williams Racing team in Oxfordshire, England.

Aside from the obvious excitement of seeing what Ireland’s youth have got going on in their minds, there are other events on which should keep visitors entertained.

Robots and space travel return

For one, the World of Robots, including TITAN the Robot, return to the RDS, for one of the biggest open robotics contest in Ireland, presented by Irish robotics company Mechatrons.

Fans of all things space will also get the chance once again to go on the Celestial Voyage 3D simulator to whisk them aboard a spaceship to transport them on a visual journey through our solar system.

Or, alternatively, you can see a literal mentalist with David Meade, who will putting attendees’ minds to the test to see if they can figure out his tricks and optical illusions.

And, don’t forget, there’s also a chance to win a number of special awards, including a prize for inventing something cool with electronic Lego with the Intellectual Ventures Insightful Invention Award.

The awards ceremony will be taking place on Friday 8 January with Aidan Power returning as host, alongside his new award-presenting partner Áine Goggins, a medical student who is also a presenter on TG4.

If you haven’t already picked up tickets to attend, you can pay at the door from Thursday, with entrance costing €6 for students, €12 for adults and €25 for a family pass, which includes two adults and two children.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic