Kinsale students clinch Google Science Fair global prize

Pictured: Sophie Healy-Thow, Emer Hickey and Ciara Judge
Pictured: Google Science Fair 2014 winners Sophie Healy-Thow, Emer Hickey and Ciara Judge



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23 September 2014 | 0

Three students from Kinsale Community College in Cork have been named winners of the grand prize at the fourth annual Google Science Fair in San Francisco.

Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow were originally selected as one of 33 finalists in the 15-16 years age category and went on to win their category and top an overall shortlist of 15 projects to claim the grand prize.

The students had previously won both the 2013 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition and the EU Contest for Young Scientists.

The team’s project investigated the use of natural bacteria to assist food production by increasing crop output.

The work, which commenced in 2012 and is ongoing, showed that natural bacteria in the roots of plants such as peas and clover could improve the growth of other valuable food crops such as wheat, oats and barley. This innovation would produce substantially increased food yields and reduce fertiliser use, potentially making a significant difference to improving food security and reducing the impact of intensive agriculture across the globe.

As the Grand Prize winners, the team will receive a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands provided by National Geographic, a $50,000 scholarship from Google, a personalised LEGO prize provided by LEGO Education and the chance to participate in astronaut training at the Virgin Galactic Spaceport in the Mojave desert.

The full list of winners can be found at


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