Case studies

A few examples to inspire you.

A teacher’s story on entering BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition

Our school had always entered the BT Young Scientist competition in the past and had been very successful over the years under the supervision of Mr McKenna. Mr McKenna retired in 2010 and we hadn’t entered a project until 2016, when he helped a student enter their project in his own time. I had visited the exhibition and knew from Mr McKenna that preparation for the competition was very demanding but having experienced the event in 2016, we decided to enter three projects in the 2017 competition. One of the greatest challenges for the entry form was thinking of a project which was new, innovative and different. After the initial application, two out of three projects were accepted and the real work began. Pupils came in at lunchtime and after school and a lot of extra time was put in. On 30 December we got a call to say that a project had withdrawn from the competition and our third project was invited to take part. Our initial reaction was that we couldn’t get the project ready in 11 days, and the pupils weren’t even back to school until the 9 January to get any experiments done. However, having been at the exhibition the previous year, I knew how much our pupils would enjoy it and so myself and my colleague Mrs Katrina Brolly, really encouraged them to go for it. It was definitely a mammoth task ahead! Getting to the event BT were very good helping us with the grant etc, but other than myself and Mrs Brolly, staff members in the school were not really aware what... read more

A view from St Killian’s College Carnlough

I decided to enter BTYSTE six years ago.  Some year 13 pupils had a project they had started when taking part in the First Lego League competition and I thought it was good enough to develop into a product, and wouldn’t require much more work to finish it to a good standard.  I knew the standard at BTYSTE was high so I made sure that the pupil’s application to enter was well written. The pupils were keen to go to Dublin so they put a good effort into the project but it didn’t interfere with their normal AS classes. The application was successful but we didn’t know what to expect in Dublin. The time and effort required for a good project could be compared to the time and effort you would put into a school team involved in sport over a two to three month period. Now every year as soon as we come home from Dublin we start thinking up new projects for the following year. Getting support is vital I have great support from our own school and the headmaster was keen to promote BTYSTE as well.  There is great support from BT with a dedicated help line to for BTYSTE from N. Ireland and you can contact them for information or if you need any help.  The Dept. of Education is also very supportive and invites all entries from Northern Ireland to Stormont for a buffet lunch, photo opportunity and recognition of efforts. The challenge when you know you are going to Dublin is to get the project finished to a good standard which will give... read more


It all started at the beginning of first year at St.Mary’s Secondary School in Mallow, Co. Cork. I asked my science teacher, Martin Timmons, if I could do a project for the BT Young Scientist competition. He was extremely enthusiastic about it and when my friend Shauna joined, we got started straight away. We never thought at that early stage we would get as far as we did, not in a million years. Last May, we won two awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We presented our project titled “Measurement of Radon Emanation and its Correlation with Indoor Radon Levels in Some Areas of Mallow” at the world’s largest school science competition, with over 1,700 students from 75 countries. We were amazed to have won a special award from the American Society of Chemistry, especially since we were one of the youngest competitors there. At the next awards ceremony to our surprise we were placed fourth in the chemistry category. It really did feel like we were world champions. Before taking the world stage though, we got what we thought was the opportunity of a lifetime to go and compete at the BT Young Scientist in Dublin. All my friends were competing and we had an absolute ball. It came as an absolute shock that we won three awards and a chance to represent Ireland in the US! Our project studies the noble gas Radon. Colourless, odourless, tasteless, yet it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Ireland after smoking due to the radioactivity when it breaks down into harmful elements... read more

An Tionchar The Impact Hurling Boot

Shíofra Ryan, St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr The amazing thing about the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and indeed science in general, is that it never ceases to surprise you! Before my BT Young Scientist experience I would have never thought that I had a science bone in my body. Simply because I imagined science being difficult equations and experiments, being carried out on far away labs that I would never have any connection to. But the amazing thing about the BT Young Scientist is that it proves that there is science in everything, and everywhere in the world around us. I looked to my favourite past time – camogie. I love playing it but the BT Young Scientist got me to look at it in a different light, and got me thinking outside the box. Perhaps one of the most common problems in hurling and camogie is injuries. So for my project called ‘An Tionchar – The Impact Hurling Boot’ (meaning impact in Irish), I designed and tested a boot specifically to meet the needs of hurling and camogie players. Currently the boot that is worn by hurling and camogie players is designed to meet the needs of a soccer player. Hurling and soccer are two very different sports, and to prove this I compared and analysed the movements of Kilkenny senior hurler Richie Hogan and the then Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard. From this I gathered how Steven Gerrard carried out twice as many straight line runs as Richie Hogan did. When carrying out straight line runs you use what is called plantarflexion and dorsiflexion movements of... read more

FenuHealth for Business in Action

This year we did the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. The atmosphere in the RDS was amazing! Our project was called ‘Encouraging horses to eat by adding various flavours to their feed’. We conducted a trial using 110 volunteer horses to see if horses preferred flavours in their feed. We used several different flavours for our trial and we found that 70% of horses prefer a flavour in their feed. We ended up coming 2nd in our category! We received a phone call the following morning at 7.30am from Shanghai from a Mr Michael Connolly of Red Mills [Horse feed company] wondering what our project was about! Mr Connolly then helped us turn it into a business called FenuHealth within a few weeks. Mr Connolly helped us to go to the largest Horse Trade Fair in the World, Equitana, which takes place every two years in Germany. Before we went to Germany we met with Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney T.D. and he launched our product for us. Elaine Hatton [Irish Thoroughbred Marketing], Ann-Marie Walsh [Enterprise Ireland] and Mari Cahalane [Head of BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition] came with us. We also met with the German Ambassador and he helped us too. Also supporting us before we travelled to Germany were the Enterprise Unit of Meath County Council, Dr Pearse Lyons of Alltech [One of the biggest horse supplement companies in the world] and Horse Racing Ireland. Enterprise Ireland were also a huge help and there marketing and design departments helped us with all our own marketing. We travelled to Germany on Saint Patrick’s Day and Mr Connolly... read more

Music has wings

Our project started back in second year and has been growing ever since. We believe the reason Irish music and African music sound so similar is due to the migratory birds, such as the Swallow, which migrate between the two countries and influence the two genres of music by singing in the surrounding areas. We got the idea for our project by taking the time to listen to the birds around us. As Irish musicians, we our trained to learn music by ear instead of learning music by notes on a sheet. Team member Patrick thought that one birdsong sounded like “The Kesh Jig”. When he discovered the bird was a swallow, all he knew about the swallow was that it migrates to Africa every year. He then thought if these birds can influence the music here in Ireland, surely they can do the same in Africa and cause the two genres of music to sound similar. We researched our hypothesis by using audio editor files. These allowed us to place two pieces of audio side by side so we could view the connection between the birds and the music both visually and aurally. We then took our findings and analysed them through maths by using Fourier’s Transformation. This mathematical equation broke down our audios into a simple form of frequencies so we could see the connections more clearly. We found huge similarities between the migratory birds and the two countries music. This then led us to question that if the birds can influence music here, surely they can do the same in other parts of the world? We... read more
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