Minister Praises NUI Galway Science Essay Competition

Monday, 14 January 2008

This year's BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition saw fifth year student Catherine Duane of Holy Faith Secondary School, Clontarf, Dublin, receive top prize in an exciting national science essay competition organised by NUI Galway. Catherine, who won a laptop, trophy and €500 science bursary for her school, received her 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, has now completed its third year. Essays were received from across the country on the theme of 'Genetic Engineering: Panacea or Pandora's Box?'

The runner up prize of a video iPOD, trophy and €250 school science bursary went to Leaving Cert student Aidan Rowe of St Gerald's College, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

Presenting the prizes for the third successive year, Minister Hanafin said: "Increasingly we are all aware of the vital role of science and technology in our lives. We are aware too, of the extent to which it will impact upon our future economic development. Competitions like the national science essay competition have an important role in raising the profile of science among young people.

As students complete their CAO forms, it is important that we all encourage them to consider the vast range of exciting career opportunities in the fields of science and technology - from playstations to mutations, from bionics to photonics! I would like to congratulate all of the students who took part in the competition on their hard work and on the very high standard of research and writing. This level of dedication and expertise gives me great hope for the future of Irish science."

Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director at REMEDI and competition judge, thanked all the students who participated in the competition along with Medtronic and SFI for their work in supporting science education.

Noreen Moloney, of competition sponsor Medtronic, said: "Medtronic are delighted to support the promotion of science and engineering through initiatives such as the REMEDI national essay competition. It is imperative we promote interest in science, engineering and technology among our young people and be assured of a pool of highly educated, talented graduates to drive our economy forward in years to come."

Catherine Duane's essay was selected from a top-ten shortlist by a high profile panel of judges who met at REMEDI in November 2007 to choose a winner. The judges included: Leo Enright (Chair of the Discover Science & Engineering Steering Committee); Tom Kennedy (Editor of Science Spin Magazine); Prof Frank Barry (Scientific Director, REMEDI); Noreen Moloney (Medtronic); and Cormac Sheridan (Freelance Science Journalist). Commenting on Catherine's essay, competition judge Cormac Sheridan said: "Catherine s essay is a very polished piece of work. The writing is crisp and to the point, she handles the argument with great confidence, and it s superbly structured."

Organised as part of a joint REMEDI and NCBES secondary school outreach programme called GRO (Galway Regional Outreach), the aim of the competition is to hear young people's views on contemporary scientific questions and to encourage students to consider studying science in third level.

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 outreach programmes, visit www.remedi.ie

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