Students across the country are today being called to put their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills to the test and enter the 15th annual SciFest@College competition. SciFest is the largest and most inclusive second-level STEM fair initiative on the island of Ireland. Since its foundation in 2006, SciFest has grown from a single STEM fair of 170 students to 99 STEM fairs with 10,000 students participating in 2019. SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Boston Scientific, Intel Ireland and Specsavers.
SciFest aims to give students of all abilities and backgrounds the opportunity to develop research, problem solving, critical thinking, and presentation skills. The closing date for the SciFest@College 2020 regional fairs is Friday 6th March 2020.
Speaking at the launch of SciFest 2020 at the National Botanical Gardens in Dublin, Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO said: “SciFest has been running since 2006 and 2020 will mark the 15th year of this competition. I am delighted that the competition has become a regular part of the school calendar across the country and more students are entering and showcasing their passion for STEM. The competition has evolved and grown over the last 15 years and I look forward to this continuing long into the future.”
Margie McCarthy, Head of Education & Public Engagement, Science Foundation Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland is proud to continue to support SciFest, a programme that proves our students are interested in showcasing their interest and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and maths. We are delighted that this all-inclusive, accessible programme continues to grow year on year and wish the organisers and the participating students all the best for 2020.”
In SciFest, second-level students showcase STEM projects at a series of one-day science fairs held locally in schools and regionally at 16 venues in the Institutes of Technology, TU Dublin, DCU and St. Mary’s College, Derry. The winners from each regional STEM fair will go on to compete at a national final in November 2020. The winner(s) of the SciFest National Final 2020 will be presented with a trophy and will represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2021 in the USA.
Last year’s overall national final winner was Timothy McGrath, a sixth-year student from Killorglin Community College, for his research and development of a biofilter to combat oceanic and freshwater deadzones. Timothy will represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2020 in Anaheim, California later this year.
Timothy was one of 77 students who went on to exhibit 41 STEM projects at the National Final. Students wishing to follow in Timothy’s footsteps can log on to the SciFest website (www.scifest.ie) and enter online. Completed entries must be submitted by Friday 6th March 2020.
SciFest 2020 will mark the third year of the Broadcom Masters Award. This new award, introduced in 2018, saw four junior cycle students, ranging in age from 12 to 14, compete at the 2019 National Final for the opportunity to participate in the Broadcom MASTERS International Programme which includes attendance at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair later this year. Ireland will be represented by Orna Collins who won her place on the programme for her project on ‘Plastic with Potential – Toward a Sustainable Biodegradable’ at November’s SciFest National Final in Dublin.
For more information on SciFest visit www.scifest.ie.