Writes Samantha Calthrop
Just before the 56th BT Young Scientists Exhibition, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) announced two additional scholarships to be available to winners. Since 2015, entrance scholarships to seven NUI universities have been awarded to winners of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, with over 40 students having received the awards since their beginning in 2015. Two more scholarships of 1000 euro have been established for the overall individual and group runner-ups, bringing the total of winnable scholarships up to six.
Lewis Purser, the IUA Director of Learning, Teaching and Academic Affairs, said, “The university scholarships are designed to encourage and support the participation by ambitious groups and individuals across our post-primary schools in all fields of science and technology, so important in addressing the major societal challenges which Ireland and the world are currently facing.”
The BT Young Scientist Exhibition was founded by two UCD professors, and has since risen to prominence among Irish secondary school students and internationally. Winners also recieve a cash prize in addition to the available entrance scholarships.
Two transition-year students, Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan, won first prize in this year’s exhibition with research into gender bias in young children. By surveying 356 children between 5 and 7, they found a significant trend of gender stereotyping, particularly in young boys. Runners-up include projects on LDL cholestrol and the effects of smartphone usage on mental health by Oscar Despard and Ava Hynes respectively.
“The BT exhibition is one of the finest examples of organisations working together on the shared goal of encouraging school students’ interest in science and technology,” said Shay Walsh, the managing director of BT Ireland. “We are incredibly indebted to the universities for providing entrance scholarships to 40 students since 2015, and today’s expansion announcement is a further boost to the positive impact we can have on young peoples’ education and lives.”