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Mini Scientists…. Big Ideas!


  • Almost 4,500 students from 10 counties across Ireland took part in Mini Scientist 2012
  • The Grand Final events brought together over 200 of these students who displayed a total of 60 projects
  • The 2 overall winning projects selected were from Kilmurry National School on Co. Clare and St. Anne’s National School in Ardclough in Co. Kildare


For the past number of months, 4th, 5th and 6th class students from across Ireland have been getting hands on with science and showcasing their big ideas as they took part in the annual Intel Mini Scientist competition. The competition, which has been running since 2003, gives young students 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 Grand Final which was hosted on Thursday December 13th and Friday December 14th at the Science Gallery in Dublin.

The 2012 initiative was the biggest year yet for the competition with almost 4,500 students from 10 counties across Ireland taking part. The Grand Final events brought together over 200 of these students who displayed a total of 60 projects in the hope of picking up one of the 2 overall and 14 runner prizes being awarded.

At the Final event the participants exhibited their projects for a panel of judges, which was made up from Intel employees, who had the difficult task of choosing the winning projects from the very creative variety. Intel employees also had the chance to come along and view the work of the students whose projects each included visual displays, projects books and practical experiments based on a scientific area aligned with the national primary science curriculum.

Each of the days of the Grand Final were filled with innovative and imaginative projects, put together through months of hard work and the judges, after a very difficult task of deliberation, compiled their list of winning projects for each day;

Thursday December 13th

Grand Final Overall Winner

•    Michelle Sheedy and Finia O’Brien from Kilmurry National School in Co. Clare

Runner-up Awards

•    Moynalvey National School

•    St. Seachnall’s National School

•    Ballyfin National School

•    St. Mary’s Boys National School, Maynooth

•    Whitecross National School

•    Scoil Mhuire Girls National School, Lucan

Friday December 14th

Grand Final Overall Winner

•    Mary Kelly and Emily Mansfield from St.Anne’s National School, Ardclough, Co. Kildare

Runner-up Awards

•    Scoil Na Mainstreach

•    Caragh National School

•    Scoil Chearbhail Ui Dhalaigh

•    Scoil Naisunta, Enfield

•    Central Remedial Clinic, Clontarf

•    Castleknock Educate Together

•    Scoil Mochua, Celbridge

•    Lusk National School

Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation and Department of Education & Skills Seán Sherlock visited the exhibition at the Science Gallery on December 13th and had the opportunity to hear from some of the budding young scientists and to award the prizes to the students. Minister Sherlock commended the standard of work presented by the students saying “Exploration and investigative learning play an important role in solving big problems and in creating opportunities for the future and programs such as this one are crucial in giving young people the opportunity to learn about the world around them in an exciting and practical way. The energy and enthusiasm displayed by the students is incredible  – they should each be very proud of their achievement in reaching the grand final event and I would like congratulate Intel on bringing this initiative to such a large number of students across Ireland”.

Sarah Sexton, coordinator of the Intel Mini Scientist program, was delighted with the success of this year’s competition, “This year it was fantastic to once again see a growth in the number of students participating in the program and at the same time we continue to see an ever higher standard of projects amongst the participants – the events are a true showcase of all the creative young talent in Ireland today. The Mini Scientist competition is a great way to get children excited about science and to give them the opportunity to build key 21st century sills such as critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork”.

Each of the winning and runner up projects were presented with special glass trophies an in addition, the 2 overall winning schools received a €1,000 monetary grant for their school.

For more information about the grand final event or the Mini Scientist program visit

Mary Kelly and Emily Mansfield from St.Anne’s National School in Ardclough won an overall award
Michelle Sheedy and Finia O Brien from Kilmurry National School in Co. Clare also won an overall award

Eimear Ryan aged 11 from St.Patrick’s National School in Castleknock pictured with her project ‘The Science of bubbles’

Harry Keenan, Mark Dempsey, James Gavin and Adam Malone from Scoil Bhride are pictured with Minister Sherlock

Andrew Hanlon, Stephen Curley and Thomas Coughlan from St.Stephen’s National School in Navan pictured with their project ‘Food Power’

Emma Keane and Aisling Doherty  from Gaelscoil ui fhiaich in Maynooth with their project ‘Fungus around our school’

Lance Delaney and Ciaran O’Reilly from Scoil an Linbh Iosa show their project ‘Master Switch’ to Minister Sherlock


Josh Watson from Wicklow Montessori School pictured with their project ‘Which toothpaste and mouthwash make your teeth whiter’

Further images from the Grand Final event, Day 1, can be found here:

Further images from the Grand Final event, Day 2, can be found here:

Further Information

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Media contact: Sarah Sexton  | + 353 1 606 8537


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