Ireland’s largest and most inclusive second-level STEM fair programme announces climate action as this year’s theme

SciFest launches with calls for entries for the 2023 competition

by Alison O'Hanlon
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SciFest, Ireland’s largest and most inclusive STEM fair programme for second-level students has announced its return for the 18thconsecutive year, with this year’s competition theme to focus on climate action. The competition attracts 10,000 student participants annually and organisers have kicked off the 2023 competition with a call for entrants to regional fairs around the country.

Since launching in 2008, more than 90,000 students have participated in the competition. 

At today’s launch of the SciFest 2023 programme it was announced that EirGrid is joining SciFest as a project partner, joining long-time partners Intel and Boston Scientific. EirGrid has been a gold sponsor at the school level for the past year. As part of the extended partnership, they will sponsor a new award, the ‘Climate and Delivering Cleaner Energy Future’ award at this year’s regional fairs and at the SciFest National Final.

Pictured at the launch today at Clogher Road Community College was Minister for Education Norma Foley, together with Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO, and student Luke Sullivan. Picture. Keith Arkins

Speaking at the launch of SciFest 2023 at Clogher Road Community College in Dublin, Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO said“SciFest has now been running for 17 years and 2023 will mark our 18th year of the competition. The growth of SciFest is reflected in the establishment of our project partnership with EirGrid, who have already shown steadfast support to the competition over the past year at local level. I am delighted to announce climate action as the theme of this year’s competition. We greatly look forward to seeing students’ innovative solutions, from across a range of STEM fields, which we know will play an important role in helping us address many of the challenges facing society”. 

Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, said: “I am delighted to join the SciFest team to celebrate the launch of SciFest 2023. Initiatives such as SciFest cultivate a genuine curiosity for science and STEM from an early age. It is fantastic to see so many young people actively engaging with important issues like climate change and looking at practical, creative and innovative solutions for issues facing society today.”

Speaking about the expanded partnership, Doireann Barry, Head of Strategy and Sustainability with EirGrid, said“Leading on sustainability and decarbonisation is central to our strategy. By extending this partnership with SciFest, we want to continue to provide a space for second level students to explore and develop their ideas for a cleaner energy future, as we work to transition to low carbon, renewable energy.”

Pictured at the launch today at Clogher Road Community College was Minister for Education Norma Foley, together with Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO, and students Shane Noonan and Fyodor Stigoun. Picture. Keith Arkins

In SciFest, second-level students showcase STEM projects at a series of one-day science fairs held locally in schools and regionally at venues in the Technological Universities, Dundalk Institute of Technology, DCU and St. Mary’s College, Derry. The winners from each regional STEM fair will go on to compete at the National Final in November 2023. The winner(s) of the SciFest National Final 2023 will be presented with a trophy and will represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California next year. 

Last year’s overall National Final winners were Liam Waldron, Rachel Griffin and Luke O’Sullivan, sixth-year students from Killarney Community College, for their Group Theoretic Approach to Pythagoras’ Theorem. The team will go on to represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Dallas, Texas in May. 

Students wishing to follow in Liam, Rachel and Luke’s footsteps can log on to the SciFest website (www.scifest.ie) and enter online. Completed entry forms for SciFest 2023 must be submitted by 10 March.

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