SciFest 2019

SciFest national final virtually open to all students

STEM enthusiasts of all ages encouraged to register and attend the competition’s virtual national final later this year
Timothy McGrath, Killorglin Community College, named overall winner of SciFest 2019. Credit. Keith Arkins

23 September 2020

SciFest has announced that its national final will take place in an all-virtual format this year, making it open to students from all over Ireland to attend.

Ireland’s largest second-level STEM competition, which is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Boston Scientific, Intel Ireland and Specsavers, will run from 19-21 November. Since it launched in 2006, more than 80,000 students have participated in the competition.

The three-day event will feature a series of talks and presentations from dignitaries, scientists and previous SciFest winners. The virtual conference centre will also allow attendees the opportunity to view the finalists’ projects and vote in the STEM Outreach Award competition for their favourite project.

In SciFest, second-level students showcase STEM projects at a series of one-day science fairs, traditionally held locally in schools and regionally at 16 venues in the Institutes of Technology, TU Dublin, DCU and St. Mary’s College, Derry. SciFest@College successfully took place online earlier this year.

The winners from each regional STEM fair will go on to compete at a national final in November. The winner(s) of the SciFest National Final 2020 will win a trophy and €3,000, and go on to represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2021 in the US.

Last year’s overall national final winner was Timothy McGrath, a sixth-year student from Killorglin Community College, for his research and development of a biofilter to combat oceanic and freshwater dead zones.

“The ongoing pandemic has really demonstrated the value of science to our society and I think it is more important than ever to encourage students’ participation in STEM fields; they will be the researchers, doctors and scientists of tomorrow,” said Sheila Porter, founder and CEO, SciFest. “That’s why we took the decision to proceed with this year’s competition in a virtual format.

“We hope students, teachers, parents and members of the general public will join us online for the National Final where you will get the opportunity to see interesting projects and hear from some of the best and brightest minds in science.”

Margie McCarthy, head of education and public engagement, SFI, said: “SciFest is a terrific initiative that each year, enables over 10,000 school students to grow their knowledge and passion for STEM. Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support this nationwide initiative since its inception through our SFI Discover Programme, which is working to make science accessible to all and highlights the importance of the scientific skills. As SciFest goes virtual for the 2020 National Final we are excited that students around the country can access the event and continue to experience this annual event. We are delighted to see SciFest grow year on year and look forward to the virtual final later this year.”

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