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The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is much more than a competition; it is an unforgettable experience of a lifetime for the students who take part. The Exhibition itself is the final stage in the competition, which is open to all second level students from Ireland, both north and south.

In 1963 two UCD physics researchers, Rev. Dr. Tom Burke and Dr. Tony Scott, came across the concept of ‘Science Fairs’’ while conducting research in New Mexico, America. These local school science exhibitions culminated in State Fairs and ultimately a national competition. The pair decided that this type of hands-on science was something that Irish students could benefit from, by taking science outside the four walls of the classroom and showing that it is all around. And so the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition was born. The first competition was held in 1965 in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin and attracted 230 entries and the first ever winner, John Monaghan, has recently retired as Chief Executive Officer of Avigen, a US Biotech company. The success of the first year was such that the exhibition moved to the much larger venue of the RDS in year two and it has remained there ever since. In recent years the number of entries has increased dramatically, reaching an all time high of over 2000 projects being submitted. All entries were screened to select just 550 projects to go through to compete in the RDS, other than 2021 and 2022 when virtual exhibitions were held. The event attracts some 40,000 people making it one of the largest events of its kind in Europe, if not the world! There have been a great array of winners over the years, see more details here.

BT has been the proud custodian, sponsor and organiser of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition for 25 years. The essence of the exhibition is the spirit and ingenuity demonstrated by the students who participate.  As a leader in innovation and technology, BT is thrilled to help cultivate and nurture the talent of our future scientists and engineers through the exhibition itself and also the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp. We hope you enjoy the final stage of the competition at the RDS. Be sure to tweet, check-in and Instagram your pics from the event.

Throughout BT Ireland’s 25 years as custodian and lead sponsor of the Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (YSTE), the company has made a huge impact on the exhibition as well as on the STEM sector in Ireland

BT Ireland became lead sponsor of the YSTE at the turn of the 21st century in 2000, and just a year later introduced the Primary Science Fair, the first science exhibition of its kind in Ireland for primary school students. Since then, the Primary Science Fair annually encourages 3rd to 6th class primary school students to learn more about STEM in a non-competitive environment. It has always been BT Ireland’s goal to encourage as many young people as possible to get involved in STEM, and since the introduction of the Primary Science Fair, many thousands of primary school students have participated.

After the YSTE was in BT Ireland’s custodianship for several years, BT Ireland identified an opportunity for BTYSTE participants to develop their ideas further into successful commercial enterprises and created the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp in 2009. The bootcamp offers experts in the STEM sector to give guidance to the students on how they can turn their incredible ideas into reality.

In 2006, recognising that the exhibition might not be accessible to those living outside of Dublin, BT Ireland introduced the Accommodation Grant Scheme contributing €1.2 million to qualified projects from schools that are over 70kms from the exhibition venue. Since its establishment, the Accommodation Grant Scheme has provided more opportunities for schools across Ireland to take part.

Did you know? 

In the 60 year history, over 50,000 project ideas, submitted by over 100,000 participants, have been judged

BT celebrated 20 years of involvement in 2020

We are proud to not just sponsor the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, but also to be entrusted with the organising and running of it too. Ours is a company founded on an inventive and pioneering spirit, we are passionate about technology and feel a real affinity with all the entrants.

60th anniversary

January 2024 saw the celebration of 60 years of the Young Scientist exhibition, the longest standing display of secondary school students’ abilities in the area of science and technology. The first ever Young Scientist Exhibition was held in the Mansion House in 1965: 230 students participated and 5,000 people attended. Since 1965, over three quarters of a million people have visited the Young Scientist Exhibition.

…and the winning continues

To date, Irish students have taken the top honours seventeen times at the European Union Science Contest. Irish Young Scientists are amongst the youngest entrants and have scooped over 20 top awards to date in the Science and Engineering Fair in the USA.

Famous milestones, through the years

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