Minister for Education Praises National Essay Competition

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

This year's BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition saw Leaving Cert student Paul Kelliher of the Intermediate College in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, receive top prize in an exciting national science essay competition organised by NUI Galway. Paul, who won a laptop, crystal trophy and €500 science bursary for his school, received his prizes from the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin T.D., on the Science Foundation Ireland booth at the festival.

The competition, co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, and sponsored by Medtronic, is now in its second year. Over 250 essays were received from across the country on the theme of "The Quest for Immortality: Who wants to live forever?"

Presenting the prizes for the second year in a row, Minister Hanafin described the competition as an initiative worth acknowledging and described writing about science as something that "enables us to spread our ideas all over the world."

Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director at REMEDI and competition judge, thanked all the students who participated in the competition, highlighting that "There are many attributes which are necessary to become a successful scientist. Two of those are the ability to ask big questions and also the ability to communicate clearly the results of these efforts and I think that we have a very talented pool of students that have excellent writing skills in the sciences." Professor Frank Barry also thanked Medtronic and SFI for their work in supporting science education.

Paul's essay was selected from a top-ten shortlist by a high profile panel of judges including Leo Enright (Chair of the Discover Science & Engineering Steering Committee), Tom Kennedy (Editor of Science Spin Magazine), Professor Frank Barry (Scientific Director, REMEDI) and Cormac Sheridan (Freelance Science Journalist) who met at REMEDI in November 2006 to choose a winner. Commenting on Paul's essay, competition judge Cormac Sheridan said "Paul's essay crackles with ideas and are expressed with great verve. He is a writer with real intellectual energy and genuine potential."

The runner up prize of a video iPOD, crystal trophy and €250 school science bursary went to transition year student Sarah Grace, of the Loreto Abbey Secondary School in Dalkey, Co. Dublin.

Organised as part of a joint REMEDI and NCBES secondary school outreach programme called GRO (Galway Regional Outreach), the aim of this annual competition is to hear young people's views on contemporary scientific questions and to encourage students to consider studying science in third level. Last year's competition winner, Laura Bree, is now studying biomedical engineering at NUI Galway.

REMEDI is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded research institute at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) located at NUI Galway.

To read the winning essays or for additional information on REMEDI and NCBES outreach programmes, visit www.remedi.ie and www.ncbes.ie

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