SciFest 2010 kicks off in DIT

15 Apr 2010

Today saw the launch of SciFest 2010, a national festival of science, at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Kevin Street. The festival will take place in 14 Institutes of Technology around the country over the next month, finishing in Derry on 21 May.

Some of the projects on display today at DIT Kevin Street include:

  • A study on whether gaming affects your personality, by students from Loreto College, St Stephens Green;
  • A project examining whether texting makes students’ spelling worse, by students from Gael Choláiste Reachrann;
  • Students from Alexandra College investigate if weather affects a person’s mood;
  • A project examining whether wind energy can charge a phone battery, by students from St Joseph’s Secondary School;
  • An investigation by students from Ard Scoil Rís into how to improve the safety and comfort standards of the present day Micro Hurling Helmet.

More than 2,000 second-level students are expected to compete in this year’s SciFest. It was created to provide an additional forum for students to present and display the results of their scientific investigations, following the success of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, which has been running very successfully for more than 40 years. The SciFest initiative is jointly funded by Intel and Discover Science and Engineering as project partners.

“SciFest continues to go from strength to strength with a record number of entries this year. The rapid increase in participation in the competition is a clear indication of the interest and enthusiasm among students and teachers in the investigative approach to teaching and learning science. I would like to thank all of our partners, including Intel, Discover Science and Engineering, BT, Dairymaster, Abbott Ireland and all the institutes of technology. Without their support, none of this would be possible,” says Sheila Porter, SciFest national co-ordinator.

Peter Brabazon, programme director, Discover Science and Engineering, was also enthusiastic about the event.

“It is exciting to see the creativity and enthusiasm for science among Irish second-level students at SciFest 2010. The competition epitomises the skills we seek to instill in students across the country in terms of collaborative learning and critical thinking. It is also an effective model linking education and industry, with the participation of all the institutes of technology and the support of Intel and other sponsors.”

Local and accessible

Because SciFest is locally based, it is more accessible to students and allows them to view the facilities and courses available in their local Institute of Technology.

SciFest 2010 fairs in the other Institutes of Technology will be held on the following dates: Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (20 April), Waterford Institute of Technology (20 April), Athlone Institute of Technology (23 April), Cork Institute of Technology (27 April), Limerick Institute of Technology (27 April), IT Carlow (5 May), Dundalk Institute of Technology (5 May), IT Sligo (6 May), Institute of Technology, Tallaght (7 May), Tipperary Institute (11 May), Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (12 May), IT Tralee (12 May), Letterkenny Institute of Technology (14 May), and the Millennium Forum, Derry (21 May).

As part of each SciFest ceremony taking place in the institutes of technology, there will also be an additional Discover Sensors Award. This is given to a student science project which demonstrates a high level of application of investigative science methodologies that include the innovative use of one or more digital sensors for recording of experimental data. Each project entering the Discover Sensors Award must keep a blog of their SciFest project on Project Blogger.

Photo: Twenty-eight of the 31 second-level students who were awarded Intel Excellence in Science medals by Minister Conor Lenihan TD in recognition of their achievement in SciFest 2009. Each of the 31 students had been either individual or group winners of the ‘Best Project’ awards at SciFest 2009