Winners of the 51st BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition announced
13 January 2015
Transition year students Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy, both aged 16, from Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co Cork have taken home the top prize for their project entitled, ‘Alcohol consumption: Does the apple fall far from the tree?’.
The pair entered in the Intermediate section of the Social & Behavioural Sciences category.
Ian and Eimear were presented with a cheque for €5,000, the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 27th European Union Young Scientist competition taking place in September in Milan and the BTYSTE perpetual trophy.
In addition they will receive an all-expenses paid trip to London to go behind the scenes at the state of the art BT Sport studios, take in a Premier League game and also do a tour of the BT Information Age exhibit at the London Science Museum.
Colm O’Neill, CEO, BT Ireland said, “Every year the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition captures the public’s imagination by demonstrating the creativity, ingenuity and potential of our young people. We have had some of Ireland’s brightest, hard-working and positive young people inspire us with their ideas. Everyone involved with the exhibition has been hugely impressed by the calibre of these entries. He added, “This exhibition continues to be the showcase for our next generation of entrepreneurs, academics, scientists and technologists; minds that will tackle and solve some of the most challenging issues facing our planet. I would like to congratulate every single student who took part this week. Participating in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is a great achievement and congratulations of course to Ian and Eimear on an enormous achievement. If our past winners have taught us anything, it’s that this award can be life-changing.”
Speaking about the winning entry, judge, Professor Ian Robertson, said “This study aimed to identify one potential cause of hazardous drinking in teenagers – parental drinking habits and attitudes to their children’s drinking. Fifth and sixth year students from the Kanturk-Mallow area were surveyed, with over 902 students reporting on their drinking. Uniquely for this type of survey, the parents of 360 of these students also agreed to report on their own drinking and attitudes.
“Using sophisticated statistical analysis, the students discovered that teenagers whose parents believe that it is acceptable for their children to drink alcohol on special occasions are up to four times more likely to engage in hazardous drinking than other adolescents. They also discovered that fathers’ drinking levels were a major factor in teenagers’ excessive drinking. Fathers’ attitudes to alcohol are crucial in shaping drinking of both boys and girls, but if mothers disapprove of their teenagers drinking, this can halve their risk of hazardous drinking. The message from this research can help shape family alcohol behaviour in a very positive way into the future.”
Jan O’Sullivan, TD Minister for Education and Skills commented “The talent we have seen in the RDS this week offers a positive insight into the future of this country and I am greatly impressed by the standard of the entries to this important event. I would like to congratulate our winners who have done exceptionally well to succeed against such worthy competitors and I hope that everyone who participated in this year’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will continue to innovate and create new ideas. I want to commend all the students involved, in particular the winning entries, but also their parents and teachers who have helped them come so far.”
In all, approximately 1,200 students from across the island of Ireland covering 550 projects from 206 schools competed for the coveted title ‘Winners of the 2015 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition’.
The award for Best Individual which went to Rachael Ni Dhonnachadha, aged 16, and a fifth year student from St Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk, Co Louth, for her project “Brap: Boxers handwrap, preventing wrist injury in boxing.” She was entered in the Biological & Ecological Sciences category at senior level.