Three Irish students claim top prizes at EUCYS 2015

21 Sep 2015

Milan's Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery. This year's EUCYS was held in the northern Italian city

Three Irish students have picked up prestigious prizes at the 27th annual EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which took place in Milan over the weekend.

At today’s prizegiving ceremony, it was announced that both teams would be receiving awards for their EUCYS projects.

Eimear Murphy and Ian O’Sullivan, both 17, from Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk, Co Cork, received the Intel ISEF prize for their project, Alcohol Consumption: Does the Apple Fall Far From the Tree?, which examined the link between parental consumption of – and attitude towards – alcohol and hazardous drinking in teens.

They found that 34.2pc of adolescents can be classed as hazardous drinkers, and that this drinking behaviour stems from a father’s hazardous drinking, and from both parents allowing their children to drink on special occasions.

Their prize, the Intel ISEF award, invites Murphy and O’Sullivan to exhibit their project at Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona, next summer.

The other Irish victor, Mark O’Dowd, 16, from Glanmire Community School, Cork city, won the Expo Milan 2015 prize for his project, Injury Increasing Crop Yields, which examined the effect of mechanical injury on crop yields.

O’Dowd carried out three experiments, seeking to understand how crushing of grass seeds, barley, oats, bean and wheat seeds, and, finally, barley seeds alone would affect crop yield.

He discovered that crushing seeds like barley can increase the crop yield, but crushing oats has little effect. This indicates that, in some instances, weeding out weaker seeds can have a beneficial effect on crops.

O’Dowd won a laptop and received an invitation to take part in the closing ceremony of Expo 2015 in Milan, an event with the theme of Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life.

Main image via Shutterstock

Kirsty Tobin was careers editor at Silicon Republic