- On Friday October 26th SciFest@Intel 2012 took place at the Intel Ireland campus in Leixlip bringing together the winning projects from 15 regional SciFest fairs which took place earlier this year at Institutes of Technology around the country and the University of Ulster, Magee Campus, in Derry
- Simon Bluett from CBS, Secondary School Kilkenny picked up the top prize at SciFest@Intel 2012 for his project ‘Easyflick, Innovative, easy to use and safe circuit and lighting control for every house’
- The winning project will now go on to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona
On Friday last, October 26th 2012, Simon Bluett from CBS, Secondary School Kilkenny picked up the top prize at SciFest@Intel 2012 for his project ‘Easyflick, Innovative, easy to use and safe circuit and lighting control for every house ‘. Dr Jennifer McKenna, EU Research Project Manager at Intel, presented the winner with his prize – an all expenses paid trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona in May 2013, where he will represent Ireland.
SciFest@Intel is an exhibition of the winning projects from 15 regional SciFest fairs which took place earlier this year at Institutes of Technology around the country and the University of Ulster, Magee Campus, in Derry. The national final, SciFest@Intel, gives the winning students an opportunity to showcase their projects at Intel Ireland, and to be in with a chance to win the top prize. 2012 saw the introduction of a new award, the Global Citizenship and Sustainability Award which was set up to provide opportunities for Irish students to work cooperatively with students in Africa on global issues relating to sustainability.
The aim of Simon’s project was to design a system that can remotely control electrical circuits in the home. Recognising that there are already a number of home control products on the market, Simon’s approach was to design a product that could be retrofitted to an existing electrical system. He designed and developed a small flick unit that clips onto the circuit breaker switches on home switchboards. The unit is controlled via an app or online website, allowing you to control the circuits in your home, wherever you are. This means that if you are on the way to work and forgot to turn off the light in the kitchen, you can do so from the app!
In its inaugural year, the Global Citizenship and Sustainability Award provides a platform for Irish and African students to come together to investigate theories, discover new technologies and advance current knowledge through research and innovation in Ireland and Africa. At each Institute of Technology the projects which were eligible for this award were passed to a SciFest judging panel. The panel reviewed all projects from the 15 venues and selected one overall winner. The winning project came from St. Mary’s Academy, CBS Carlow and was carried out in collaboration with Popatlal Secondary School, Tanga, Tanzania. The two students involved were, Keane Nolan and DJ Hanley. They received the SciFest Global Citizenship and Sustainability trophy, a cash prize of €300 and a school visit from the winners of the first Young Scientists Tanzania during their trip to Ireland in January 2013. Their project was entitled, ‘The comparative analysis of raw versus pasteurised milk and the potential use of natural preservatives in milk to mitigate the effects of poverty in rural Africa’.
Sheila Porter, SciFest Project Manager was delighted with the success of the event and said ‘‘Great science is characterised not by rote-learning and memorisation but by creativity and investigation. The aim of SciFest is to create a science fair experience that is inclusive, accessible and inspires excellence. SciFest provides teachers with an opportunity to promote STEM in the classroom in an interesting, innovative and hands-on way. Furthermore, participation in SciFest supports not only the objectives of the current Junior Cert science syllabus but also the development of the key skills identified as central to learning in the new Junior Cycle curriculum. The opportunity to participate in SciFest@Intel is recognition of the hard work and dedication that these students put into their projects. For Simon the journey is only just beginning as they will have the honour of representing Ireland at next year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the US and I wish them the best of luck for that event! “
Dr. Graham Love, Director of Discover Science & Engineering (DSE) and Policy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) added “We are seeing a steady rise in students selecting science and related courses at third level and this is also reflected in the increased participation in SciFest, year-on-year. Encouragingly, 2012 saw close to 4,300 students exhibit almost 1,900 projects at regional level in ITs and schools around the country, and the 15 projects exhibited here today are of a very high standard. All students should be extremely proud of themselves for reaching this stage of SciFest. The projects on show were exceptional and show how good students are at thinking outside they box and most importantly that science can be fun! I congratulate Simon on his success today and I am confident that he will do Ireland proud at the International Science and Engineering Fair. DSE promotes inquiry based teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and maths, and events like SciFest help to promote these practices and encourage practical and hands-on learning for students.”
Dr Padraig Ó’ Murchú, Education and Research Manager, Intel Ireland also attended the event “Through participation at SciFest events students develop skills-sets that are required to address future global concerns of food, water and energy security, create wealth to sustain growth and provide better health services and better infrastructure. This year saw Intel introduce the inaugural Global Citizenship and Sustainability Award. This award was set up to provide opportunities for Irish students to work cooperatively with students in Africa on global issues relating to sustainability”.
Simon Bluett receiving his award from Dr. Jennifer Mckenna EU Research Project Manager Intel
SciFest is a series of one-day science fairs for second-level students hosted at local level in schools and at regional level in the Institutes of Technology (ITs) and the University of Ulster, culminating in a national competition for the overall winners from the ITs. The aim of the project is to encourage a love of science through active, collaborative, inquiry-based learning and to provide a forum for students at local/regional level to present and display their scientific investigations. www.scifest.ie
About Discover Science & Engineering
Discover Science & Engineering (DSE) is the national integrated awareness programme, managed by SFI on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Its objectives are to increase the numbers of students studying the physical sciences, to promote a positive attitude to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to foster a greater understanding of science and its value to Irish society. For further information please visit www.discover-science.ie
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