Over 50pc of Ireland’s secondary schools put entries in for BTYSTE 2016 (video)

7 Jan 2016

Shay Walsh, managing director, BT Ireland

BT Ireland managing director Shay Walsh has revealed that the number of applications for the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) is rising continuously, prompting a higher standard every year, thanks to increased uptakes in honours subjects, especially honours maths.

This year, some 2,048 projects from 396 schools were in the competition and, for the exhibition, this was whittled down to 550 projects. These include everything from backpacks that use solar panels to generate water to home automation systems using Raspberry Pi.

“Over 50pc of schools in Ireland have put entrants into the competition,” said Walsh. “There are over 29 counties represented.

“Without a doubt, the increase in take-up in honours subjects and the extra bonus points for honours maths we can see coming through in the exhibits and the increase in the number of entries.”

Walsh said that the increase in entries for the BTYSTE and the fact that the RDS can only accommodate 550 projects is having a knock-on effect. “As the number of applications goes up the standard gets better and better.

“The themes are impressive themselves and the fact that the students are focusing on real-world projects is impressive. Climate change is a big theme, absorbing carbon dioxide, mental health issues, safety in farms and the migrant crisis are themes.”

A conveyor belt of talent helped by BTYSTE

BT has been organising and sponsoring the Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition for the past 16 years and recently committed to supporting the event up to 2018.

“When you strip it all back it’s a platform to get students interested in STEM, create entrepreneurs and create innovation among our students.

“BT is a technology company at heart, we need scientists and engineers, and it is also about giving something back and ensuring that the conveyor belt of talent is coming through.

“We employ 3,000 people on the island of Ireland and they have to be replenished and we have a huge requirement for engineers and technical staff.

“It is part of our DNA to create these great minds and move them forward,” Walsh a.

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