Important advice

Please read carefully.


What is it?

Plagiarism is using others’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.

How can students avoid plagiarism?

You must give credit to sources whenever you use:

– another person’s idea, opinion, or theory;

– any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings

– any pieces of information that are not common knowledge;

– quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words;

– paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words.

These guidelines apply irrespective of the source of the information.

Plagiarism of any kind will result in immediate disqualification from the competition, save in the absolute discretion of BT and the judges.


Scientific and technological investigations and applications must be undertaken with integrity through the use of rigorous methods.

Participating students must ensure that the involvement of people as participants in their research is always fully justified and if so, there is a duty to protect the well being, dignity and privacy of individuals. The welfare of any animals that are subject to investigation must always be respected and likewise any experimentation carried out in the natural environment must avoid having adverse impacts.


Is your invention patentable? 

The vast majority of students taking part in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will not need to consider applying for a patent.

However, if your project comprises functional or technical aspects that are new and not an obvious development on what already exists, you should consider applying for patent protection.

For an invention to be patentable it must be:

1. Totally new (use Google and Yahoo, also free patent search products like espacenet and Google Patent)

2. Not obvious to a person who works in the technology field (usually an improvement with surprising benefits)

3. Capable of industrial application (e.g. manufacture)

4. Not be part of the excluded category, e.g. equipment specifically designed for human or animal torture!

Prior to making a patent application, it is unwise to make any public disclosure of your idea/invention, or to put it into use publicly, for example at the exhibition. The main reason for this is to protect the validity of the patent application.

If an invention is in the public domain it is considered ‘prior art’ and no longer patentable in most countries including the UK and ROI.

But please remember that there are real costs involved should you decide to apply for a patent, these initial costs are:

• the basic patent office fees (a few hundred euros/pounds depending on where you file the patent application e.g. the Irish Patent Office or UK Patent Office)

• the optional, but advisable, Patent Attorney fees, these can add another few hundred euros/pounds to the application (invention disclosure forms help reduce these costs)

External Help – Is it allowed?

It is expected that all or the majority of the work for a project will be conducted either in the school, home or the outside environment. Understandably, some projects may involve visiting distant locations. Students may seek advice or information about their project from sources beyond their school, such as on the ‘web’ or from government organisations, or from universities, institutes of technology or other experts. However, it is recommended that the majority of students’ work should be conducted under the supervision of their relevant teachers, with, where appropriate, suitable levels of involvement by parents, guardians or other responsible adults.

Where experimental / research work is conducted by the students themselves, or on their behalf, in a laboratory that is external to their school (e.g. in a local university, a hospital or an industry) then that work should be clearly identified and acknowledged within the project report book and presentation. In addition, it is a requirement that a cover letter from the external facility, describing the extent of the assistance provided and the work done by the students within that facility or undertaken on behalf of the student(s), will be included in the project report book.

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