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Irish Students triumph at Intel ISEF, World’s Largest Science Fair


  • This week the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which is the world’s largest high school science research competition, was attended by almost 1,800 student finalists representing more than 400 affiliate science fairs and roughly 70 countries.
  • A total of 5 awards, 2 special awards and 3 category awards, were picked up by Irish students attending the event.


This week the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which is the world’s largest high school science research competition, was attended by approximately 1,700 young scientists selected from 422 affiliate fairs in more than 75 countries.


Anna McEvoy, Caoimhe Cronin, Shauna Murphy and Christopher Carragher are pictured after the awards ceremony of Intel ISEF 2015

At this year’s event, which took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 3 teams representing Ireland and Northern Ireland took part having secured their places at Intel ISEF after they became winners of Intel sponsored prizes at various Ireland based science fairs over the past 12 months.

Anna McEvoy, a 17-year-old student at Our Lady’s College in Greenhills, Drogheda, was awarded both a second place award in the Plant Sciences category as well as a Monsanto Award for Innovation in Plant Science First Award for her project ‘Aetiology of bleeding canker disease of Horse Chestnut trees’. Anna’s project involved research into the presence of bleeding canker on horse chestnut trees throughout Ireland and used an investigative method to identify the causal agent. As part of her awards Anna received cash prizes of $2,500 and $1,500. Anna was selected to attend ISEF after she was named Sentinus Young Innovator 2014.

Christopher Carragher, a sixth year student from Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblaney, Co.Monaghan picked up a second place award in the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics category for his project ‘Memory Buddy’. After becoming concerned by the signs of short-term memory loss being exhibited by a family member Christopher set about designing an automated system to aid people with memory loss. Memory Buddy is a complete system designed and programmed by Christopher.  Using Google Calendar the Memory Buddy can alert the person about appointments and medication via flashing lights, sound and also via the TV. It includes a remotely controlled medicine drawer that presents the appropriate medicine at a particular time and there is a feedback facility that notifies a carer when medicine has or has not been taken. The system also includes an organiser that can be used to establish care rotas and appointments. Christopher earned his place at Intel ISEF after being crowned the overall winner of Scifest in 2014.

In addition to picking up $1,500 cash prize Christopher also receives the very cool honour of having an asteroid named after him.

Shauna Murphy and Caoimhe Cronin, who are second year students from St. Mary’s Secondary School in Mallow, Co. Cork, picked up a fourth place award in the Chemistry category as well as a fourth place award from the American Chemical Society for their project entitled, ‘Measurement of radon emanation and its correlation with indoor radon levels in some areas of Mallow’. The projects seeks to discover the geographical distribution of radon levels in dwellings in Mallow and investigate factors that affect radon emanation from different sources. The Cork students were selected as the Intel student award winners at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2015 and as part of their prize received an all expenses trip to Intel ISEF. The girls received a cash prize of $1,500 for their achievements.

Speaking about the achievements of the Irish students, Sarah Sexton, Head of STEM Programs at Intel Ireland said “Intel ISEF is the largest science fair in the world with a phenomenal array of projects on display. The fact that the Irish students have done so well really is a testament to their hard work and to the standard of their projects. It is also a wonderful achievement for their teachers, Martin Timmons, Frances O’Regan and Cathryn Higgins. Intel is delighted to be able to sponsor the Irish teams to attend ISEF and we believe that it is so important to recognise and celebrate their achievements. We are very proud of the whole Irish team and hope that these students will be an inspiration to many other young people across Ireland”.

More than 7 million students across the world participated in feeder fairs for Intel ISEF over the past 12 months and this year the overall first-place winner, who received the $75,000 Gordon E. Moore Award, was Raymond Wang, 17, of Canada who was awarded first place for engineering a new air inlet system for airplane cabins to improve air quality and curb disease transmission. Wang’s system improves the availability of fresh air in the cabin by more than 190 percent while reducing pathogen inhalation concentrations by up to 55 times compared to conventional designs, and can be easily and economically incorporated in existing airplanes.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2015 is funded jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation with additional awards and support from dozens of other corporate, academic, governmental and science-focused organizations. Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to public engagement in science and science education, has owned and administered the competition since its inception in 1950 as the National Science Fair. This year, approximately US$4 million was awarded.

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

To get the latest Intel education news, visit, and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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Christopher Carragher, Shauna Murphy, Caoimhe Cronin and Anna McEvoy are pictured at Intel ISEF 2015

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