The winners of the 59th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) have been announced. Shane O’Connor and Liam Carew, aged 19 and in sixth year in the Abbey School, Tipperary won with their project Assessing the impact of second-level education on key aspects of adolescents’ life and development. The coveted prize was presented to the winners this evening in the RDS in Dublin by Minister for Education Norma Foley TD, and Managing Director of BT Ireland, Shay Walsh.
Chair of the Social and Behavioural Sciences Group Judging Panel, Professor Joe Barry said, ‘What we are looking at here is a very impressive survey conducted in three waves over 24 months with more than 2,000 responses examining how secondary school students perceived school to impact on their social, physical and mental wellbeing. One of the key findings coming out of the research was that whilst inequality is prevalent in DEIS schools, exponential improvements in areas of pastoral care and physical health are quickly closing this gap. To quote directly from the students’ research, ‘Secondary school is a vital social outlet for students and this can be seen across our interviews, focus groups and in particular in our survey.’
The 2023 BT Young Scientist & Technology winners received the BTYSTE perpetual trophy and the top prize of €7,500. The winners will also represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, which takes place in Brussels, Belgium in September 2023. They’ll also get to attend the 64th Annual London International Youth Science Forum this summer.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD said “I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Shane and Liam on winning this truly prestigious trophy and award, in what has been another inspiring year of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. With the BTYSTE back in person for the first time since before the pandemic, I have had the pleasure to witness first-hand the level of innovation and creativity demonstrated by this year’s entrants, across a range of important and relevant topics. To every participant – you have been an excellent representative of yourself, your family and your school, and you should be incredibly proud of your achievements. The calibre of each entry is a testament to the tenacity and talent of the students behind them, and it is this constant high standard that makes BT Young Scientist one of the longest running, and most successful STEM events in Europe. From my time in the classroom, I am aware of the enormous work and support required to participate in competitions like this, and I wish to acknowledge your teachers and school communities who have also generously given their time and expertise to support you on your journey. A special thank you also to the parents and families of students for their constant encouragement and outstanding support.”
Adrian Drogomir, aged 19 and in sixth year in Adamstown Community College in Dublin won the prize for Runner-up Individual, with his project, AL-energy. Prof Orla Feely, Chair of Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Individual Judging Panel said, ‘Aluminium-based batteries could play a role in the provision of sustainable energy. This project demonstrates through very detailed experiments how the design of the electrode impacts the battery performance and points the way to future design. The judges were very impressed by Adrian’s passion for the subject and his detailed implementation of the scientific method.’
Shay Walsh, Managing Director, BT Ireland said, ‘On behalf of the entire team at BT Ireland, I wish to thank each and every student who took part in this year’s exhibition for sharing your ideas with us. After a long three years, it has been a pleasure to welcome you all back to the event in person. The past week has been truly inspiring, and I am in awe of your unique and individual talents. The level of creativity, innovation and research displayed over the last number of days has been nothing short of remarkable, and I am humbled and grateful to be a part of it.
I would also like to extend my congratulations to all our winners, who join a special group of some of Ireland’s brightest minds. I have no doubt this is only the beginning of all the brilliant work you will go on to do. To all the teachers, parents, guardians and everyone who supported the students who entered on their journeys, I express my sincere thanks. We are hugely grateful also to our panel of esteemed judges, our sponsors and partners, and of course, our own BT team, without whom this magnificent Exhibition would not be possible.’