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Níl an leagan Gaeilge ar fáil go fóill, má’s maith leat an leagan Béarla a léamh brúigh anseo.

Science for Development Projects Showcase

Science for Development Projects Showcase

Science for Development Projects Showcase

The ornate Iveagh House Ballroom on St. Stephen’s Green was a hive of activity as young scientists from all over Ireland exhibited their Science for Development projects.  In fact, the girls from St Mary’s, Newport in Tipperary sported bright yellow bumble bee antennae as they shared their findings on the effects of different materials on bee health. 

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 Sarah Hennessy, Eah O’Gorman and Megan Freeney from St Mary’s Secondary School, Newport, Tipperary with Rita Walsh, WorldWise Global Schools © Irish Aid/ DFA

The importance of environment and health for development was a strong theme emerging from this year’s Science for Development projects. The Science for Development Award at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) is jointly sponsored by Irish Aid and Self Help Africa. The BTYSTE Science for Development award aims to encourage teachers and students to develop ideas that may prove useful at local community level in the world’s poorer countries.

This Showcase Event is a follow up event to the BTYSTE. It acknowledges all those who were eligible for the Award and offers them the chance to engage with other project groups as well as Self Help Africa and Irish Aid staff and invited guests from other NGOs and organisations.

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Science for Development shocase in the Iveagh House Ballroom. © Julien Behal / DFAT

The purification of cholera infected water by using CRISPR-Cas9 to genomically edit Paramecium Caudatum was the 2018 award winning project displayed by Timothy McGrath from Killorglin Community College, Co Kerry. Caoimhín O’Leary from Ardscoil na Mara, Waterford was also concerned with improving the safety of drinking water, in this case by using UV energy.

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Timothy McGrath from Killorglin Community College Co.Kerry with his project on the use of genetic engineering to target bacteria that cause Cholera. © Phil Behan

Systems for the cheap conservation of water are important for health and development and both Amelie Kearney from Sutton Park in Dublin and students from North Monastery Secondary School in Cork explored methods of doing this. Amelie’s project conserved water during cooking and the North Mon students used a sound frequency sensor to the same effect.

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Maeve O’Connor from Coláiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co Cork with Tánaiste Simon Coveney. © Irish Aid / DFAT

How to feed the planet’s ever growing population was the question that challenged Darragh and Andrew from Coláiste Treasa, Kanturk who studied the effects of Pseudomonas Fluorescens L321 on enhancing barley crop yield. The girls from Skerries Community College in Dublin responded to the challenge by investigating the use of insects as a reliable food source. Maeve O’Connor is also from from Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk. She looked at improving food production by tackling disease in potatoes. Her project which investigated the use of CRISPR- Cas9 for targeted genome editing in Solanum tuberosum won her the first prize individual intermediate in the 2018 BTYSTE.

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CRISPR- Cas9 for targeted genome editing in Solanum tuberosum on display. © Phil Behan

Simple and inexpensive solutions to health problems were of interest to the students from St Joseph of Cluny, Dublin and Castlerea Community School. The Cluny girls investigated the development of an app to detect glaucoma and other eye diseases using the torchlight and camera on a phone. Aoibhe and Kianna from Castlerea looked at the role that onions and garlic can play in modern medicine.

On the day the invited speakers were as impressive as the students. An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD praised the young scientists present. He said:

That's what this is all about - learning from each other, challenging each other, creating a way of thinking that comes up with the solutions to the problems that many people see as unsolvable today. Keep doing what you're doing and keep challenging norms, because that is what we need from a new generation of thinkers in Ireland

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Ella Jones, Amy Kelly and Jennifer Kestell from St Joseph of Cluny, Dublin with Lucy Hayes, Sightsavers. © Irish Aid / DFAT

Irish Aid Director Orla Mc Breen acted as Moderator and introduced speakers Ruairí de Búrca, Director General of Irish Aid, David Dalton, Executive Director of Self Help Africa, Lance O’Brien from Teagasc, Mari Cahalane, Head of BTYSTE, and very special guest Dr Tony Scott, the founder of BTYSTE.  Former Science for Development Award Winners Tara McGrath (2008) and Jack O’Connor (2017 winner with Diarmuid Curtin) inspired and encouraged those present. Secretary General Niall Burgess, himself a keen bee keeper was delighted with the buzz around the Ballroom.

Roll on Showcase 2019.

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