– Minister Conor Lenihan launches SciFest 2011 with a ‘Celebration of Excellence in Science and Maths’ at Intel Ireland
– Thirty-five second-level students were awarded Intel Excellence in Science medals in recognition of their achievement in SciFest 2010
– Scifest 2010 included over 2649 students from almost 200 schools exhibiting 2613 projects
On October 8th 2010 Conor Lenihan TD, Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources, launched SciFest 2011 with a ‘Celebration of Excellence in Science and Maths’ in the Innovation Open Lab in Intel Ireland, Leixlip, Co. Kildare. Thirty-five second-level students were awarded Intel Excellence in Science medals in recognition of their achievement in SciFest 2010. Each of the thirty-five students had been either individual or group winners of the ‘Best Project’ awards at SciFest 2010. The winners of the SciFest 2010 Mathematics in Science Award were also announced and trophies were presented to the three projects that the judges decided best illustrated the importance of mathematics in science.
SciFest is a national festival of science organised regionally in collaboration with the Institutes of Technology. It is open to all second-level students. 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. The SciFest initiative is jointly funded by Intel and Discover Science and Engineering as project partners. It is supported by a number of companies such as BT, Abbott and Dairymaster.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Lenihan, said, “SciFest is a fantastic example of industry, the education sector and government partnering together to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). By clearly illustrating the links between what students learn in the classroom, the opportunities at third level and potential career paths, SciFest plays a valuable role in helping to encourage young people to pursue opportunities in the Smart Economy. The 34% increase in participation in last year’s competition is a clear sign that SciFest is going from strength-to-strength and reflects the growing interest among students in pursuing STEM related courses at third level. I would like to congratulate Intel and Discover Science and Engineering for partnering on this project, and I also praise BT, Abbott, Dairymaster and PharmaChemical Ireland for their generous support of SciFest”.
Speaking at the opening Joe Foley, Intel Ireland Fab Operations Factory Manager, said, “It is of vital importance that we equip students with the 21st century skills required to transform Ireland into a Smart Economy. Education is the key to achieving this and SciFest is an example of Intel’s vision of moving from a content-based model of education to one which is skills based. The Scifest competition helps participants develop skills in areas such as problem solving, design, innovation, communications, and creativity. By creating a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths among students we can help to create a pipeline of graduates that will help Ireland compete for high level jobs in the future.”
Commenting on Scifest 2011, Peter Brabazon, Programme Director, Discover Science and Engineering said, “Today’s prize winners reflect the future of Ireland’s workforce as each project displayed a creative approach and provided a real world application of the skills that the students have learnt in the classroom. Their projects reflect the standard of science, technology, engineering and maths across the second level system and the passion of young people in these areas. Competitions like SciFest will help channel their passion into pursuing careers in the Smart Economy and it is fantastic to see companies like Intel working hand-in-hand with Institutes of Education across the country to achieve this”.
The inaugural SciFest was held in the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin, in 2006 and SciFest was launched nationwide in September 2007. Scifest 2010 took place in fourteen Institutes of Technology and the Millennium Forum in Derry with over 2649 students from almost 200 schools exhibiting 2613 projects. In the three years since Scifest was launched nationwide, 6241 students have exhibited 2613 projects. This represents an increase in participation of 23% in 2009 and a further increase of 34% in 2010. The rapid increase in participation in SciFest is a clear indication of the interest and enthusiasm among students and teachers in the investigative approach to teaching and learning science.
The Mathematics in Science Award, which was piloted this year, will be rolled out to each venue in 2011. The winner in each venue will receive a trophy sponsored by the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL). To celebrate the International Year of Chemistry PharmaChemical Ireland are also awarding a trophy at each Institute to the project with the best chemical content.
For full details of the 2010 award winners see the attachment below.
About Discover Science and Engineering
Discover Science and Engineering is the national integrated awareness programme, managed by Forfás on behalf of the Department of Enterprise Trade 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.
Intel is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.ie.
Further images from the event can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/55550679@N03/sets/72157625192943699/