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BT Young Scientists & Technologists of the Year 2016

Maria LouiseFufezan and Diana Bura are the BT Young Scientists & Technologists of the year 2016

Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura are the BT Young Scientists & Technologists of the year 2016

Transition Year girls from Balbriggan, Co. Dublin announced as winners of the 52nd BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition
          Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan win two top awards
Dublin, Friday, 8th January 2016: The winners of the 52nd BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (#BTYSTE) have been announced.  Maria Louise Fufezan (aged 16) and Diana Bura (aged 15) have taken home the top prize for their project entitled, ‘An Investigation into the Effects of Enzymes used in Animal Feed Additives on the Lifespan of Caenorhabditis Elegans’. The announcement was made in the BT Arena at Dublin’s RDS this evening by Jan O’Sullivan, TD, Minister for Education and Skills, and Shay Walsh, Managing Director, BT Ireland. The group entered in the intermediate section of the biological & ecological sciences category.
 
Maria and Diana were presented with a cheque for €5,000, the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 28th European Union Young Scientist competition in Brussels later this year and the BTYSTE perpetual trophy. In addition, as the Group Technical Partner of Williams Racing, BT will bring the winners on an all-expenses paid trip to the home of Williams Racing in Oxfordshire, England. Here the winners will get a behind the scenes look at how Williams are using technology to ensure they remain one of the world’s leading Formula 1 teams.
 
Shay Walsh, Managing Director, BT Ireland, said; “We are proud that the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition continues to act as a springboard for future entrepreneurs, academics, scientists and technologists and we have countless past winners who are proof of that. I would like to sincerely congratulate every single student who took part this week and to the thousands of other students who submitted a project but unfortunately didn’t qualify. Of course, particular congratulations must go to Maria and Diana, who will now join a prestigious list of esteemed winners and go on to represent Ireland at the EU Young Scientist later this year.” 
 
He added; “Although this is my first year as managing director, I’ve been attending this event for the 16 years that BT has been involved and I can honestly say that it has never been bigger or better. The innovation and creativity of the students exhibiting here this week is astounding and it is truly inspiring to see the world of STEM brought alive by this talented young generation.”
 
Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, said, “One of the things that always strikes me about this BT Young Scientist & Technology exhibition is its timing – the beginning of a new year.  For many of the participants here, this may indeed represent the beginning of a new phase in your lives, the beginning of a love affair with science, with scholarship and research.  For, this event provides you with a wonderful opportunity to showcase your talent and potential.  It allows you to develop your natural instincts of curiosity and as Einstein once said “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” 
 
“I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work that students, teachers and entire school communities have put into their projects.  The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is one of the highlights of the education year and the continued support by BT is critical to this fantastic event going from strength-to-strength.”
 
Speaking about the winning entry, category judge Prof. Grace McCormack commented; “These students have asked a novel question – could there be any effects of enzymes added to animal feed on worms of importance for soil fertility? The girls provide new evidence that there may be an unexpected detrimental change in behaviour and lifespan of these essential worms. The work is important for the environment and the food industry and will undoubtedly lead to further research in this important area”. 
 
Almost 1,200 students from across the island of Ireland covering 550 projects from 29 counties competed in the RDS for the coveted title of ‘BT Young Scientist(s) & Technologist(s) of the Year’. 
 
The award for Best Individual went to transition year student Shane Curran (aged 16) from Terenure College, Dublin for his project ‘Velodrome: The Automated Logistics Fulfilment Platform’.  Shane was entered in the technology category at intermediate level.
 
The award for Runner-Up Group went to 6th year students Gabriel Barat (aged 17) and Adrian Wolniak (aged 16) from Synge Street CBS, Dublin for their project ‘A Mathematical Model of Coffee Rust’. The group were entered in the chemical, physical & mathematical sciences category at senior level.
 
The award for Individual Runner-Up went to 5th year student Renuka Chintapalli (aged 16) from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin for her project ‘Developing a predictive tool for identifying FLNc-associated biomarkers of oesophageal cancer metastasis’. Renuka was entered in the biological & ecological sciences category at senior level.
 
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition continues tomorrow Saturday, 9th January and is open to the public from 09:30 – 17:30. Guests can expect to be wowed by a fantastic line-up of live shows including mentalist David MeadeCelestial Voyage 3D and the renowned World of Robots and TITAN the Robot. 
 
For information, an exhibition map and schedule of events, visitors can download the free BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition app now. Alternatively, log onto www.btyoungscientist.com, check out http://www.facebook.com/BTYSTE, follow on twitter at http://twitter.com/btyste or call 1800 924 362 or from Northern Ireland call 0800 917 1297.
 
ENDS                                   
 
For media enquiries, please contact:
Lydia Tierney, FleishmanHillard, + 353 85 713 8810 or lydia.tierney@fleishmaneurope.com
Gill Madden, FleishmanHillard, +353 86 230 9070 or gill.madden@fleishmaneurope.com  
Gina Kelly, PR at BT, + 353 86 780 5451 or gina.kelly@bt.com
 
About BT
BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world.  It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach. 
 
For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.
 
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. 
 
For more information, visit www.btplc.com.

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