BTYSTE 2018 finalists are tackling Ireland’s social issues

2 Nov 2017

Front row, from left: Aine Morgan, Alison Egan and Caoimhe Harrington from Castleknock Community College. Back row, from left: Keith Enright and Brandon Kenna, both from Trinity Comprehensive Secondary School, Ballymun, Dublin. Image: Colm Mahady/Fennell Photography

The 550 finalist projects for BTYSTE 2018 were whittled down from an impressive 2,031 entries.

Today (2 November), the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) finalists were told they had made it through to 2018’s exhibition.

The winner of next year’s contest will also represent Ireland in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists when it arrives in Dublin in September 2018.

The upcoming BTYSTE will take place from 10 to 13 January 2018. The winner will walk away with the perpetual trophy and a prize fund, and more than 140 prizes for individuals, groups and teachers will be up for grabs.

Social issues on the minds of Irish students

It’s clear from the entries into the competition that Ireland’s young minds are preoccupied with social issues that are affecting their friends, families and wider society in the country. While there are often entries in the Behavioural Science category that examine homelessness, transgender rights and mental health, this year’s crop of entries sees similar themes addressed in biological and ecological science as well as chemistry, physics and mathematics.

Managing director of BT Ireland, Shay Walsh, said: “The 2018 project themes highlight just how important outlets such as the BTYSTE are for students to investigate matters of interest or concern to them in their everyday life.

“It is fascinating to see such an in-depth knowledge of the prevalent issues facing Ireland, like homelessness. Addressing topical issues is something we really encourage. Our hope is that by showcasing how science and technology are in everything and how they play a role in our everyday lives, we will encourage more students to take part in the magic that is the exhibition.”

Walsh added that BT as a whole was excited to see the participants exhibit their “extraordinary work” in January.

BTYSTE is key for Ireland’s future

Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, TD, said: “I have set the ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe within a decade. Key to achieving this ambition is ensuring that our young people develop analytical skills, critical thinking and creativity.

“The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition continues to make an invaluable contribution to developing these aptitudes in thousands of students across the country each year.”

He also noted the pressing issues examined by many entrants, adding: “The project title trends always show you what is important to young people in Ireland and this year it is no different, with extremely topical themes such as equality, homelessness and health to the fore.

“That is why events such as this are so important as they allow students across Ireland to channel their talents into projects and subjects which hold significant importance to them.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects