– Two students from Blackwater Community School, Lismore, Co. Waterford pick up top prize at SciFest@Intel 2011
– The winners will go on to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the U.S. in May 2012
– SciFet@Intel is an exhibition of the winning projects from 14 regional SciFest fairs which took place earlier this year at Institutes of Technology around the country and the University of Ulster, Derry
Last week two students, Ruairi O’Neill and Eoghan Flynn, from Blackwater Community School, Lismore, Co. Waterford picked up the top prize at SciFest@Intel 2011 for their technology project, ‘Polyfuel – a novel solution to fuel shortages and disposal of ELPs’. Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon, TD attended the event and presented the winners with their prize which includes a trip to the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May 2012, where they will represent Ireland.
SciFet@Intel is an exhibition of the winning projects from 14 regional SciFest fairs which took place earlier this year at Institutes of Technology around the country and the University of Ulster, Derry. The national final event gave the winning students an opportunity to showcase their projects at the Innovation Open Lab at Intel’s campus in Leixlip, Co Kildare and to be in with a chance to win the top prize.
Ruairi and Eoghan designed a homemade, inexpensive and efficient apparatus which can convert end of life plastics (EPL) into a usable fuel source, thereby solving problems associated with fuel shortages and the disposal of plastics. Using the apparatus they developed, Ruairi and Eoghan found that EPL fuel production can be done simply at home. Their vision is that this technology could be used in both the developed and developing worlds to help combat fuel shortages and reduce the amount of ELPs sent to landfill.
Speaking at the event Sheila Porter, SciFest Project Manager at Intel said: “I would to congratulate all of the students who took part and showcased their award winning projects at the national SciFest final in Intel’s Innovation Open Lab. SciFest@Intel is recognition of the hard work and dedication that these students put into their projects and for Eoghan and Ruairi 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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. SciFest allows teachers the opportunity to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in the classroom in a more innovative and hands-on way. The collection of projects displayed at the final event is evidence of that”.
Peter Brabazon, Programme Director, Discover Science and Engineering (DSE) was also present at the event and said: “DSE has been a proud supporter of SciFest since it first began in 2006 and it is heartening to see the rise in entry levels and the standard of the projects year on year. All of the regional winners who have qualified for SciFest@Intel can be proud of their efforts and I have no doubt that the Eoghan and Ruairi will go on to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with great distinction. DSE promotes inquiry based teaching and learning, particularly in the STEM subjects, and events like SciFest help to foster these practices and encourage practical and hands on learning for students”.
Dr Padraig O’Murchú, Education and Research Manager, Corporate Affairs, Intel Ireland said “If we are to realise a smart, sustainable and inclusive society, then we will need a citizenry that is scientifically literate and numerate as well as skilled in areas like critical thinking, collaborative learning, research methodology and communications. These are the very skills that exhibitions like SciFest foster and support”.
SciFest 2012, a series of science fairs supported by Intel and Discover Science and Engineering and hosted by the Institutes of Technology and the University of Ulster, is now open for entry – go to www.scifest.ie for more information. SciFest 2012 is open to all secondary school students and aims to build on the success of this year’s events where a total of 2,907 students exhibited 1,243 projects across 14 venues.
Ruairi O’Neill and Eoghan Flynn from Blackwater Community School, Lismore, Co. Waterford are pictured with their award
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SciFest is a series of one-day science fairs funded by Intel Ireland and Discover Science and Engineering as project partners and hosted nationwide by the Institutes of Technology. Each SciFest fair includes a competition and exhibition of projects, a selection of science talks, science demonstrations in the college laboratories and a prize-giving ceremony. In each venue students compete for a number of awards including; Intel Best Project Award, Abbott Runner-up Best Project Award, BT Best Communicator Award, Discover Sensors Award, PharmaChemical Ireland Award, NCE-MSTL Maths in Science Award and ESERO Ireland Discover Space Award.
The aim of SciFest 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. While preparing a project for SciFest students must identify a problem, formulate a hypothesis, design an experimental method, record data, interpret results and draw conclusions. They learn how to collaborate with others and finally how to communicate with, and present their ideas to, the judges, their peers and visitors to the science fair. Participation in SciFest helps students to develop an interest in, and enthusiasm for, STEM. It allows them to learn while pursuing an aspect of the subject in which they have a particular interest. Students are then more likely to leave school equipped with the necessary skills for solving real world problems. www.scifest.ie.
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 number 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 society. For further information visit www.discover-science.ie