Minister for Science Simon Harris TD has today welcomed the opening of the 57th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.
The event will be held virtually with 1,000 students representing over 200 schools from across the island of Ireland taking part.
Colaiste Craobh Abhainn, Kilcoole, St Gerards in Bray and St Mary’s College in Arklow will represent County Wicklow at this years exhobition.
This year’s projects cover a wide variety of topics, from COVID-19, the prevalence of social media and technology in our daily lives, ethnicity, gender studies, sports science, climate change, agricultural science, nutrition, solar power and biological diversity.
Judging begins this morning and the winners will be announced on Friday.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “I am so pleased this year’s event is continuing to take place despite the challenging circumstances we all find ourselves in.
“Now more than ever, we need our young people to be innovative, creative and to be great thinkers. This pandemic has taught us the value and importance of science and technology and how essential it is to our daily lives.
“We have a once in a generation opportunity to invest in science and technology, to realise the importance of science and to cherish and support its output.
“The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition offers us the opportunity to showcase some of the brightest and the best talent we have and I am really excited to see what our future scientists and entrepreneurs have on offers.”
The event will be opened by President Michael D Higgins. Minister Harris will later participate in the Connecting Women In Technology (CWIT) Tech Starter event.
Minister Harris added: We are more aware than ever of the central role of science in our lives. Today’s event is designed to support and encourage students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.
“The new and emerging technologies of the 21st century have developed at unprecedented pace and have transformed the way that we all live and work. Digitalisation is here to stay and will be a key influence on our economy and our society. That is why we need young people like the students at this event to develop the skills for a more digitised future and to reach for the great possibility it presents. .
“We need lots of different role models to be visible and to show the next generation that they can also follow their dreams in science. We have to deal with the gender gap that persists in the sector.
“Currently just over a third of STEM academic staff members in Irish universities are women. I am determined we need to do better here, and believe strongly in the maxim – if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.”