Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. today called on second-level students across the island of Ireland to put their skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to the test as he launched SciFest’s call for entries for its 12th annual [email protected] competition. SciFest is the largest and most inclusive second-level STEM fair initiative on the island of Ireland. Since launching in 2008, more than 60,000 students have participated in the competition, which represents an average year on year increase of 23% in participation. SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Boston Scientific, Intel Ireland, and Specsavers.
SciFest aims to give students of all abilities and backgrounds the opportunity to develop research, problem solving, critical thinking, and presentation skills. The closing date for [email protected] 2019 is Friday 8th March 2019.
Minister McHugh said: “SciFest is a fantastic competition. As a Government, we are committed to promoting young people’s involvement in this area. An event like SciFest gets young people engaged in STEM subjects and in research and innovation. It drives interest and gives them a great opportunity to explore ideas and develop their skills outside their studies. The support and inspiration that teachers and parents offer is also really important. I also want to thank the third level institutes for hosting events and I would like to congratulate everyone else who gets involved, as well as the team from SciFest that makes it all happen.”
Speaking at the launch of SciFest 2019 at the Technological University in Dublin, Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder, and CEO said: “SciFest has now been running for 11 years and 2019 will mark our 12th year of the competition. I couldn’t be happier at what the competition has become and just how many second-level students are now showcasing their interest in STEM. Last year over 10,000 students participated across the country and I look forward to seeing how much the competition grows this year.”
Margie McCarthy, Interim Director, Innovation and Education Directorate, Science Foundation Ireland said: “SciFest is a terrific initiative that enables over 10,000 school students to grow their knowledge and passion for STEM. Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support this nationwide initiative since its inception through our SFI Discover Programme, which is working to make science accessible to all and highlights the importance of scientific inquiry. We are delighted to see SciFest grow year on year and hope that 2019 is another hugely successful year for them.”
Andrea Barrow, Emerging Talent Manager from Specsavers said, “Specsavers is delighted to be partnering with SciFest in their mission to encourage an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths for all second-level students across the country. SciFest is an incredible programme that encourages students’ passion for science. This year we’re excited to announce our new category, The Specsavers Making a Difference Award, which encourages students to think about a project that will make a difference to someone’s day to day life. We wish all the entrants the best of luck and look forward to seeing their projects.”
Richard O’Sullivan (R&D Director) from Boston Scientific said: “SciFest is a celebration of all things science, technology, and engineering. This competition allows the students to put their knowledge in these areas to the test and we are so happy to support a programme that encourages students to push boundaries in the classroom. We look forward to seeing what research is produced this year. Best of luck to all entrants.”
Hugh Hardiman, Director of Public Affair at Intel Ireland said: “Intel Ireland is delighted to once again support Scifest 2019, as we believe that the programme provides an important platform for young people right across Ireland to engage in scientific learning in an exciting and practical way. Participation at SciFest events encourages students to develop skills such as communication, creativity, problem solving and teamwork, that will be invaluable to them in our rapidly changing society, both now and in the future.”
In SciFest, second-level students showcase STEM projects at a series of one-day science fairs held locally in schools and regionally at 16 venues in the Institutes of Technology, TU Dublin, DCU, and St. Mary’s College, Derry. The winners from each regional STEM fair will go on to compete at a national final in November 2019. The winner(s) of the SciFest National Final 2019 will be presented with a trophy and will represent Ireland at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2020 in Anaheim, California.
Last year’s overall national final winner was Adam Kelly, a fifth-year student from Skerries Community College, for his open source solution to simulating quantum computing. Adam will represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona later this year.
Adam was one of 63 students who went on to exhibit 37 STEM projects at the national final. Students wishing to follow in Adam’s footsteps can log on to the SciFest website (www.scifest.ie) and enter online. Completed entries must be submitted by Friday 8th March 2019.
SciFest 2019 will mark the second year of the Broadcom Masters Award. This new award, introduced in 2018, saw five junior cycle students, ranging in age from 12 to 14, compete at the 2018 national final for the opportunity to participate in the Broadcom MASTERS International Programme which includes attendance at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair later this year. The inaugural award was won by Éabha Kenny, from Scoil Muire gan Smál, Convent of Mercy, Roscommon Town, Roscommon. Éabha will be one of 28 delegates representing 25 countries.