Entries open for SciFest 2016

SciFest 2016
Miranda Stecka, Fingal Community College at the launch of SciFest 2016

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22 January 2016 | 0

Secondary school students across Ireland are ebing invited to enter SciFest 2016 and put their knowledge to the test at SciFest 2016 – which has just opened for entries.

Now in its ninth year as a national project, SciFest is an all-inclusive, all-island science competition where second-level students showcase science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) projects at a series of one day science fairs held locally in schools and regionally in the 14  Institutes of Technology, DCU and St. Mary’s College, Derry. SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel and Boston Scientific. The winners from each regional science fair go on to compete at a national final in November 2016.

Speaking at the launch of the 2016 competition Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said: “2015 was a hugely successful year for SciFest, with a record number of students taking part. In total 7,200 students exhibited their projects in local and/or regional science fairs across the country. This year we intend to build on that success and have another record year. SciFest gives students an excellent opportunity to develop their interest in STEM and inquiry-based approaches to learning, while developing their creative and problem-solving skills and learning to work in a team.”

As well as pushing the boundaries of science, the national final winner of SciFest 2016 will represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

The SciFest 2015 national final winner was fifth year student Louis Madden from Largy College, Clones, Co. Monaghan, for his project that looked at whether genetic testing and DNA research can be carried out simply, cheaply and efficiently.

Louis spent just under €150 on cheap and recycled material to build several pieces of laboratory equipment including a vortex, centrifuge, PCR, transilluminator, gel box with power supply and gel camera. Using this equipment, he isolated and amplified chloroplast DNA. Comparing his results with those of other tests of the same material he demonstrated that genetic testing could be done in a simpler, cheaper and more effective manner. He will represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.

SciFest 2016 will be the second year of the prestigious Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award, which is presented at each of the 16 regional science fairs; the overall winner of this award will receive the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Trophy at the national final in November.

For more information visit the www.scifest.ie. Completed entries must be submitted by Friday 11 March.

TechCentral Reporters

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