SciFest Returns to IT Sligo

Of the over 300 students exhibited at SciFest@ITSligo 2019, with the top prize on the day, the SFI Best Project Award, going to St. Mary’s Secondary School students; Lauren Tuffy and Leah Hannon for their project, “To Develop a Better Adaptation Solution to Sea Level Rise”.  The students will go on to participate in the SciFest National Final where they will compete for the opportunity to represent Ireland at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Anaheim, California in May 2020.

The Abbott sponsored runner up best project went to Jacob Hamilton, John Mackey, Sean McLoughlin from Summerhill College Sligo for their project “The Effects of Water Type and Light Exposure on Plastic Degradation in Water” supervised by their teacher Kathy McMorrow.

Both winning projects were related to climate change and sustainability, an issue that our second level students now see as vital to our planets future.

SciFest@ITSligo co-ordinator Dr. Bill Crowe said:

 “Every year I am so impressed by the high standard of research that goes into the entries; this year is no different. The quality of the research being done by the second-level students from across the region highlights the passion the students have for science, technology, engineering and maths. We are so proud to take part in SciFest, that not only encourages the students to learn more about STEM but is all inclusive.”


SciFest is an all-inclusive, all-island science initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second-level students. SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel, Boston Scientific and Specsavers.


Commenting on the SciFest@ITSligo regional STEM fair Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO said:

As we mark the 12th anniversary of SciFest, more than 65,000 students have participated in the programme to date and we are sure that 2019 will be another stellar year for projects in science, technology, engineering and maths. SciFest gives students an excellent opportunity to develop their interest in STEM and inquiry-based approaches to learning, while developing their creative and problem-solving skills and learning to work in a team.”


Winning student, Lauren Tuffy said; “We are delighted to have won this award and we look forward to representing the region in the national finals.  Co-winner, Leah Hannon explained why they chose to enter SciFest@ITSligo: “We wish to investigate and solve the problem of coastal erosion due to sea level rise by providing better adaption designs. We also set out to ensure our barrier designs provide a better habitat for inter tidal species and to use natural seashells as part of the construction.”

The winning students are in good company.  Previous winner of the SciFest@ IT Sligo regional final has had an Asteroid named after him.  Aaron Hannon, from Mayo won the best project award two years ago with his unique assisted shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity.

IT Sligo’s Dr Bill Crowe said: “This shows evidence for all students in the North West, competing at SciFest at IT Sligo, if you think clearly, work hard and do a good science project “ the Sky is the Limit,” Literally, you too could have a heavenly body named after yourself.”


This year sees the introduction of an exciting new award, the Specsavers Making a Difference Award. A further new award this year is the Institute of Physics in Ireland award for the best Physics project. Among the other awards on offer are the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award and the Intel Technology Award.

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