NUI Galway and Medtronic Announce Essay Competition Winner

Monday, 11 December 2006

11 December 2006: The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway has announced the winners of the Schools' Science Essay Competition 2006, sponsored by Medtronic. First prize went to Leaving Certificate student, Paul Kelliher, who studies at Killorglin's Intermediate School, Co. Kerry. Runner-up was Sarah Grace of the Loreto Abbey Secondary School in Dalkey, and honourable mentions were achieved by Caoilfhionn Ni Chonghaile of the Sacred Heart School in Westport and Saraid McCarrick of St Attracta's Community School, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo.

With prizes including laptops, iPODs and school science bursaries, hundreds of essay entries came from sixty schools across the country. Competition was steep, with a particularly high standard of writing amongst the students who reached the "Top 11 short-list" reviewed by a high profile panel of scientists and journalists.

Commenting on the winning essay, competition judge and freelance science journalist Cormac Sheridan said, "Paul's essay crackles with ideas that are expressed with great verve. He is a writer with real intellectual energy and genuine potential".

The competition, for which students wrote essays on the topic 'The Quest for Immortality: Who Wants to Live Forever?', was co-ordinated by REMEDI, a Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre at NUI Galway, and was sponsored by REMEDI industrial partner Medtronic.

The competition aims to challenge young people to think about and express their views on recent advances in the science and technology field, a view eloquently expressed by Tom Kennedy, a member of the judging panel and editor of Science Spin magazine: "I like the competition because it gets participants thinking about science yet it has nothing to do with the points race. It is relatively easy to repeat given facts in a report or exam paper, but to write well about any subject it is necessary to understand it first."

Organised as part of a joint REMEDI and National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science secondary school outreach programme called GRO (Galway Regional Outreach), the competition will run annually. REMEDI also runs additional school and general public awareness initiatives throughout the year which are designed to facilitate dialogue in the areas of stem cell and gene therapy research.

The winning essays were selected by a high profile panel of judges which included: Prof Frank Barry (Scientific Director of REMEDI), Mr Leo Enright (Chair of the Discover Science & Engineering Steering Committee), Mr Tom Kennedy (Editor of Spin Science Magazine) and Mr Cormac Sheridan (Freelance Science Journalist).

For additional information on REMEDI outreach programmes, visit www.remedi.ie

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