Jan 20 2009 Posted: 00:00 GMT
This year's BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition saw Leaving Cert student Daniel O'Reilly of Castleblayney College, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, receive top prize in the National Science Essay Competition organised by NUI Galway. Daniel, who won a laptop, trophy and a €500 science bursary for his school, received his prizes from the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe T.D., on the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) booth at the festival. The competition, co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, was sponsored for the fourth consecutive year by medical device technology company Medtronic. The contest is open to all students in the senior cycle of secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland, and this year was also open to all schools in Northern Ireland. The theme for the essay competition was Boundaries of Science – is there anything we should not do? The runner-up prize of a video iPOD, trophy and €250 school science bursary went to A-level student Bobby Tang of The Royal Belfast Academical Institution Belfast. Three letters of honourable mention were also issued to: Natalie Duda of Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin; Amy Diviney of Colaiste Chraobh Abhann, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow; and Rebecca Anderson of Eureka Secondary School, Kells, Co. Meath. Presenting the prizes, Minister O'Keeffe acknowledged the enthusiasm for science shown by all the entrants, saying: "I hope we see the future generation of scientists before us today". Professor Matthew Griffin, from REMEDI, NUI Galway, thanked all the students who participated in the competition, as well as Medtronic and SFI for their work in supporting science education. Angela Duffy, Senior R&D Scientist with competition sponsor Medtronic, said: "I am delighted to see such interest in research among secondary level students. Daniel and Bobby were deserved winners". Professor Frank Gannon, Director General, SFI, said: "I congratulate the winner and runners up on their success in the REMEDI science essay competition. I hope that your success today will encourage you to consider and explore the opportunities offered by careers in science and engineering. Ireland's future economic success is dependent on attracting young people into careers in science and engineering". Professor Gannon acknowledged the Education and Outreach programmes which are ongoing at REMEDI and the other eight SFI Centres for Science Engineering and Technology (CSETs) located at universities throughout Ireland and thanked the CSETs for their continued efforts in this regard. Daniel O'Reilly's essay was selected from a top-ten shortlist by a high profile panel of judges who met at REMEDI in November 2008 to choose a winner. The judges included: Tom Kennedy, Editor of Science Spin magazine; Cormac Sheridan, freelance science journalist; Dr Dónal Ó Mathúna, Senior Lecturer in Ethics, Decision-Making and Evidence in the School of Nursing, DCU; Dr Richard Hull, Department of Philosophy, and Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis (COBRA) at NUI Galway; and Danielle Nicholson, Outreach Officer at REMEDI, NUI Galway. The competition is organised as part of a joint REMEDI and National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway secondary school outreach programme called Galway Regional Outreach (GRO). 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 research institute funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under the Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) Programme. The Institute is hosted by NUI Galway at the NCBES.