Irish students scoop awards at international sci-tech fair

15 Jun 2022

Hari Pravanam. Image: SciFest

Two Irish students, former finalists at STEM fair SciFest, went on to win prizes at an international sci-tech competition based in Hong Kong.

Donegal student Hari Pranavam claimed an overall grand prize at this year’s Hong Kong Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl (GYSTB).

Pravanam is a pupil at Saint Eunan’s College in Letterkenny. He received a silver award for his project, titled Building an Automatic Weather Satellite Ground Station with Data Analytics Forecast.

As well as his award, Pravanam also gets to see his project published in the STEM Fellowship Journal. The journal is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published by Canadian Science Publishing.

Pravanam was not the only Irish winner at the international sci-tech event, which was held virtually.

Grace Ní Ifearnáin from Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí in Tralee, Co Kerry, won a first-place category award for her project, Nature Takes on Nature: Investigating the Effects of Juglone on Japanese Knotweed.

Ní Ifearnáin also recently represented Ireland in the Broadcom MASTERS International science programme in Atlanta, Georgia.

Both Ní Ifearnáin and Pravanam took part in GYSTB after being named finalists at SciFest with their projects. SciFest is an all-island STEM fair for second-level students to showcase projects at events held around the country.

Pravanam paid tribute to SciFest for giving him the opportunity to compete in the Hong Kong fair.

“It is such a great honour to get to compete on a global stage against people from all over the world. This is a fantastic reward for my work on the project and it is great to see it acknowledged by international experts. I would like to thank my parents and my teacher Mr Michael Harkin for their support and encouragement throughout,” the student added.

GYSTB, which is organised by The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, attracted 84 project entries from 16 countries or regions this year. Judging took place online and the awards ceremony was broadcasted live on 12 June.

Meanwhile, this year’s SciFest National Final will take place on 25 November 2022. The competition opened its annual call for entrants in February.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic