SciFest2015@ITSligo – Showcasing Science

A wealth of talent and ingenuity will be on display when post-primary students across the region compete for honours at SciFest2015@ITSligo on Wednesday, May 13th.

With many awards at stake, including prestigious trophies and the possibility of international recognition, they will be demonstrating and championing the merits of 90 projects and attending special laboratory demonstrations and lectures.  More than 300 students are expected at the popular annual science fair.

SciFest is an all-inclusive, all-island science competition where second-level students showcase science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) projects at one day science fairs held regionally in the 14  Institutes of Technology and St. Mary’s College, Derry.

SciFest2015@ITSligo has drawn entrants from schools in Sligo, Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Roscommon. All second level age groups are represented and projects are in three categories – Life Science, Technology and Physical Sciences.

Commenting on the SciFest2015@ITSligo, Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, stated: “Each year, more and more students are entering SciFest, demonstrating their interest in STEM subjects and adopting an inquiry-based approach to their learning, which is hugely positive.”

Dr Bill Crowe, a lecturer in Environmental Science at IT Sligo, who is the event’s main organiser, said:  “The enthusiasm and excitement of the students presenting their projects on the day is inspiring. They also thoroughly enjoy the day, observing the science and new technologies, such as Robotics, Computer Gaming and Forensics, and STEM research, on display at IT Sligo between 1.00 and 3.00pm.”

The students and teachers will be welcomed by Professor Vincent Cunnane, President of IT Sligo, and Dr Jerry Bird, Head of the School of Science will open the event.

Dr Bird said: “This is a unique event which embraces second level students across our region and fosters the scientific problem solving skills so needed in society today.  Many of these young scientists at SciFest will go on to study STEM third level qualifications and beyond in scientific careers”.

Special awards, including the SFI Discover Best Project Award, the Abbott Runner-up Best Project, the Intel Award and the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award, are made at each of the 15 venues. Winners from each regional science fair go on to compete at a national final which will take place this year in the Marino Conference Centre, Dublin on 6 November.

Awards presented at the national final include opportunities to represent Ireland at two international science fairs; the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona and the International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) 2016 in The Hague.

SciFest (www.scifest.ie) is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Discover programme, Intel and Boston Scientific. It is also supported by a number of other companies and organisations.

Photo caption:
Nicole Dolan and Erica Neilan from Mean Scoil Mhuire gan Smal, Roscommon receive the overall project prize for SciFest2014@ITSligo from George Porter, SciFest. Also in picture is the students teacher, Padraig Harlow.

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