Today, 17 October, 2008 the Minister of state for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins T.D., launched Intel’s SciFest 2009 with a ‘Celebration of Excellence in Science’ in the Innovation Centre in Intel Ireland, Leixlip, Co Kildare. Sixteen second level students were awarded Intel Excellence in Science medals in recognition of their achievement in SciFest 2008. Each of the sixteen students had been either individual or group winners of the ‘Best Project’ awards at SciFest 2008.
Speaking at the launch Dr Jimmy Devins, T.D. said, “One of the key strands of the government strategy for science in technology and innovation is a commitment to the promotion of science and positive career options for young people. The government science awareness programme ‘Discover Science and Engineering’ compliments the school system with a range of initiatives that include ‘Science week Ireland’ and ‘Discover Primary Science’. It is vital that interest in science is stimulated at an early age and fostered throughout the education system to enable Ireland to achieve the goals of developing a strong knowledge economy and becoming world leaders in Science and Technology.”
SciFest is a local one-day science fair held in third level colleges and open to all second level students. The project was launched nationwide in September 2007. The aim is to encourage a love of science through project-based learning and to provide more opportunities for students to present and display the results of their scientific investigations.
Since its launch SciFest has been more successful than anyone thought possible with over 1700 students exhibiting over 680 projects in 2008. So far nine Institutes of Technology: Athlone, Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Sligo, Tallaght, Tipperary and Waterford have participated in SciFest.
SciFest is jointly funded by Intel and Discover Science and Engineering and is supported by a number of other partners in the regional Institutes of Technology. The project thus creates a valuable link between the second and third level education sectors and between education and industry.
SciFest has been well received by science teachers who see it as an opportunity for their students to use their SciFest projects as a major part of their practical assessment for their Junior Certificate Science Exam.
Intel’s Education Specialist Gerry Nolan is delighted with the success of the project, “Education is a major focus area for Intel Ireland. Last year we contributed more than €1 million to local and national education programmes, we owe it to the next generation to advise and equip them with the skill and knowledge that enables them to contribute in a society defined by innovation, entrepreneurship and emerging technologies”
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