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Cratloe students are crowned the Intel Mini Scientists

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3RD – Today in the Helix at Dublin City University, students from across Ireland took part in the Intel Mini Scientist Grand Final, an event which is the culmination of a nationwide competition which has been running since September 2016.

3/2/17 ***NO REPRO FEE*** Winners of the Mini Scientist, Shane Leahy, Sean O’Brien, Marc O’Brien and Eoin Carey from St. Johns National School in Cratloe Co.Clare pictured at the Grand Final awards ceremony which took place today at the Helix in Dublin City University. Badger Victim or Villain: The winning project investigated the behaviour and habitat of the Irish Badger. The myth of badgers spreading bovine TB was exposed and alternative to culling was studied in the form of a vaccination. The students also developed their own badger repellent based on their own in depth investigations. Pic: Marc O'Sullivan
Winners of the Mini Scientist, Shane Leahy, Sean O’Brien, Marc O’Brien and Eoin Carey from St. Johns National School in Cratloe Co.Clare pictured at the Grand Final awards ceremony

The Intel Mini Scientist, which is now in its 10th year, gives primary school students from 4th, 5th and 6th class, the chance to explore science through project based learning and exhibitions.

The first phase of the program involves students participating at local level exhibitions where Intel judges visit the participating schools, choosing two winning projects in each. The second phase saw each of these winning projects take part in the Mini Scientist Regional Finals which were hosted throughout December in Leixlip and Shannon.

The 2016 / 2017 competition was the biggest year yet for Mini Scientist with over 6,000 students from 100 schools in 15 counties of Ireland taking part. This year there were almost 2,000 projects exhibited as part of the Mini Scientist competition and the Grand Final brought together the top 24 projects from across the country.

At the Grand Final, which was held in the Helix at Dublin City University, the participants exhibited their projects for a panel of judges, which was made up from Intel employees and external representatives from across industry and academia, who had the difficult task of choosing the winning projects from the very creative variety. Each of the projects included visual displays, projects books and practical experiments based on a scientific area aligned with the national primary science curriculum. The Grand Final was attended by Richard Bruton, Minister for Education, who had the opportunity to present the prizes to the winning projects.

The Grand Final was filled with innovative and imaginative projects, put together through months of hard work and the judges, after a very difficult task of deliberation selected their winning projects;

Grand Final Overall Winner

Badger Victim or Villain – St. John’s NS, Cratloe, Co. Clare

Runner-up Awards

Traffic Lights – Belmayne Educate Together, Castleknock, Dublin 13
Plant Power – St. Nicholas P.S, Longwood, Co. Meath
A feasibility study into the use of drones in Dublin, Alexandra College, Dublin 6

Special Awards

Additional special prizes were awarded as follows:
• Best Communications award – Pollution Solution, St. Laurence’s NS, Sallins, Co. Kildare
• Best Project book – Can Canny Color Make Memory Meliorate, Timahoe N.S, Co. Laois
• Best Visual Display – The Secret Life of Crows, Bridgetown N.S, Co. Clare
• Most Innovative Idea – Colloidal Silver, Castleknock Educate Together, Dublin 15

The winning project was entitled Badger Victim or Villain which was an investigation into the behaviour and habitat of the Irish Badger. The 4 winning students from the school in Cratloe, Co. Clare explored the role of badgers spread bovine TB was and an alternative to culling was studied in the form of a vaccination. The students also developed their own badger repellent based on their own in depth investigations. The winning students were Sean O’Brien, Marc O’Brien, Eoin Carey and Shane Leahy.

As part of the prize for the overall winning project, St. John’s N.S will receive a grant of €1000 from Intel.

Minister Bruton addressed the students at the prize giving ceremony and remarked on the achievements of those taking part “Science is all about asking questions about how the world around us works, asking can improve the way the world works and finding new ways to do things differently. Today is a day to celebrate some of our best young people, some of the best primary schools in the country and some of the best ideas – I congratulate you all on this exciting journey. W.B Yeats said that education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire and competitions like this provide you the opportunity to light that fire”.

Intel Ireland General Manager Eamonn Sinnott was also on hand to present awards to the participating students and added, “I really believe that supporting education is one of the most valuable, long lasting contributions that we can make to this country and we are very proud to make that contribution. We donate an average of €1.3 million to the Irish education system every year supporting initiatives right across primary, secondary, third and 4th level. Mini Scientist is our biggest education program and looking around the exhibition today and feeling the energy in this room, it’s not hard to see why that is. The students here today represent the top 1% of the entire competition and that’s something of which you should all be very proud”.

The event was held for the first time this year in the Helix at Dublin City University. On January 25th Intel and DCU signed an agreement which will see the two organisations collaborate on talent development and on technologies that have the potential to transform how we live, learn, work and engage with the arts in the future. DCU President Professor Brian MacCraith also attended the Mini Scientist final and remarked on the value of the program “The students participating in the Mini Scientist here today are incredible inventors, scientists and engineers who are coming up with some brilliant ideas and I am delighted to be here to see the work that they are doing. Each of them have created something special and I would encourage them to keep investigating, to keep exploring; it is young people such as these that will make Ireland an incredible place to be in the future”.

Sarah Sexton, Head of STEM Programs at Intel Ireland, was delighted with the success of this year’s Mini Scientist Grand Final, “The projects on display here today are all winners in their own right and are a showcase of the months of hard work by thousands of young people across Ireland. Each student competing is a fantastic role model of creativity and enthusiasm and has done a remarkable job in sharing their work today. We are very proud to be at the heart of the Mini Scientist competition and look forward to seeing all that will be made possible by these young people in the future”.

For more information about the grand final event or to sign your school up for the Mini Scientist competition visit



Further images can be found here:


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