NI: HISTORIC HIGH AS 50TH BT YOUNG SCIENTIST & TECHNOLOGY EXHIBITION RECEIVES RECORD NUMBER OF ENTRIES

138 school students from across Northern Ireland have entered a total of 68 projects into one of the largest school science and technology events in the world, BT announced today. The students, from 29 schools, have entered their ideas into a range of categories from technology to mathematical and ecological to be in with a chance of being crowned the BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year in 2014.

BT, which has organised the exhibition for 14 years, has significantly evolved the exhibition every year to engage as many young people as possible in the key areas of science, technology, engineering, maths, innovation and commercialisation. Major progress has been made over the past fourteen years including: a tripling of project entries; a new commercialisation boot camp; a financial bursary to assist participating schools; and a growing array of science and technology exhibits, events and special acts that attract thousands of visitors.

Peter Morris, Director of Corporate Services, BT, said, “Investment in science and technology has continued to serve Northern Ireland well, and we need to ensure we have the talent to sustain and grow these valuable sectors. BT organises this phenomenal exhibition because it offers unique opportunities for young people and teachers and inspires them to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and innovation. It has thrived for 50 years, and I’d encourage Northern Ireland schools, families and business leaders to visit in January and experience the talent, ideas, optimism, exhibits and special acts at an event that shows that anything is possible.”

The overall 2014 exhibition project entries at a glance (all-island):

  • 2,000 entries received, spanning 32 counties
  • 4,418 students
  • 379 schools represented
  • Number of entries per category:

o Biological & Ecological Sciences: 574

o Chemical, physical & Mathematical Sciences: 350

o Social & Behavioural Sciences: 701

o Technology: 375

Minister for Education John O’Dowd MLA, said: “Strengthening the economy is a top priority for the Executive and there is no doubt that building interest in, and passion for, the STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – within our young people will contribute to this aim in the long term.

“The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition provides a valuable platform for young people from across Ireland to showcase their creative ideas on a national and international stage. That the event has now reached its 50th edition is testament to its continuing relevance and popularity among our young people.

“I commend all the young people from the north of Ireland who have submitted entries for this year’s exhibition and hope that as many as possible are able to make the finals event itself in Dublin in January. I know from experience that the exhibition fosters great excitement about STEM and is fantastic reward for the hard work that pupils put into their projects.”

BT estimates that, over the past 50 years, almost 70,000 students have submitted more than 33,000 projects to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. In recent years BT has noted an increase in the number of students creating commercially-viable projects and demonstrating entrepreneurial flair.

The 50th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place in the RDS, Dublin from January 8th – 11th 2014. There are over 120 awards including the overall BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year. In addition, BT offers over 30 participating students the opportunity to take part in the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp, an intensive commercialisation skills programme.

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is organised by BT, and is supported by a number of valued partners including the Department of Education and MATRIX. More than 250 BT employees will help to deliver the 2014 exhibition.

For more information on the exhibition, log onto www.btyoungscientist.com.

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