The 60th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) begins at Dublin’s RDS today.
The event showcases research and innovation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in project entries from students aged 12-19 years.
Some 550 projects from 219 schools will be on display spanning the categories of technology; biological and ecological sciences; social and behavioural sciences; chemical, physical and mathematical sciences; and a new fifth category introduced this year for the 60th BTYSTE, health and wellbeing.
A judging panel of 85 experts from the world of STEM and business will choose over 200 prize winners, including the overall winning entry which will be awarded €7,500.
The winning entrant or team will go on to represent Ireland at the EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) which will take place this year in the European City of Science 2024 – Katowice, Poland.
President Michael D Higgins will officially open the 2024 exhibition today at a special ceremony.
Speaking ahead of the event, President Higgins offered his best wishes to the students taking part.
“As we reflect on this year’s exhibits, and on their connection with the issues and challenges we face together on our shared vulnerable planet, may I suggest that there has never been a better time in which to be a young scientist,” President Higgins said.
“Yes it is a challenging time, but it is so potentially fulfilling to know that the choices you make will have effects that are important, not just for your own time, but for the very possibility of life itself,” he added.
The 2024 exhibition marks the 60th anniversary of the BTYSTE which has become one of the longest running events of its kind in the world.
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BT Ireland estimates that in the last 60 years, some 150,000 young people have taken part putting forward over 100,000 project ideas, and over the past 35 years, 17 of the overall exhibition winners have won first place at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists.
Many previous winners have developed their projects into successful commercial enterprises.
Patrick Collison, who won the exhibition in 2005, went on to form Stripe, a multibillion-euro payments company.
“Since its foundation by Dr Tony Scott and the late Fr Tom Burke, the exhibition has excelled as a platform for inspiring young people to use STEM to understand and improve the world,” said Shay Walsh, Managing Director, BT Ireland.
“It has served as a launchpad for many incredible careers, including that of John Monahan, our first ever winner, who joins us as a judge this week,” Mr Walsh said.
The 2024 Primary Science Fair will take place alongside the exhibition on Thursday and Friday giving 55 primary schools the opportunity to display their research and innovation to judges and visitors.
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition opens to the public from Thursday to Saturday.