Irish girls win third place at EU Young Scientist awards

19 Sep 2016

Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura from Loreto Secondary School. Image: EU

Ireland’s reigning Young Scientist champions, a duo from Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan, have landed third place at the European leg of the competition.

Back in January, transition year students Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura wowed the Young Scientist judges with An Investigation into the Effects of Enzymes Used in Animal Feed Additives on the Lifespan of Caenorhabditis Elegans.

It was such an impressive project that it saw off all others to land top prize and put the students forward for the EU Contest for Young Scientists where, today (19 September), they won third place, taking €3,500 in the process.

Future Human

Young Scientist

Bura (16) and Fufezan (17) add to Ireland’s impressive list of accolades in the competition, with the country going into this year’s competition ranked fourth overall in total prizes won and second overall in terms of first-place prizes.

The duo’s project investigates what effects the enzymes found in animal feed additives have on their environment, most notably the soil.

Their idea came about when they noticed enzymes were being used to bulk up meat produce in the EU, where the use of growth hormones is prohibited.

“Ideally, this enzyme addition to animal feed should be ceased and organically reared chickens promoted, as over 90pc of the European agricultural industry uses enzymes for poultry growth enhancement,” they said.

The first-place winners announced at the Brussels showpiece event were teams from Norway, Italy and the US, with maths, computing and biology projects, respectively.

The Irish girls’ domestic win in January was recorded here:

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic