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SciFest 2013

SciFest 2013@LIT reveals the science behind birds nesting habits, improving rowing performance and takes the smell out of sports gear bags

~ Post-primary school students from schools all over the Mid-West taking science to the next level with over 150 projects on display at Limerick Institute of Technology ~

Post-primary school students from all over Limerick city and county, Clare and some from Tipperary gathered at Limerick Institute of Technology(LIT) Moylish campus to showcase their science projects at one of 15 regional SciFest Science Fairs. Some 150 science projects were displayed at SciFest@LIT, with approximately 400 students from schools all over the Mid-West delving into the deeper realms of scientific exploration with some interesting results. Entries to this year’s SciFest have broken all records with up to 4000 students exhibiting their projects at the 15 venues over the next three months.

SciFest2013@LIT, officially opened by Kieran O’Donnell, TD, featured a range of scientific discoveries and explorations – the results of which are bound to raise a few eyebrows. Whether teaching affects physical health was put to the test, antiseptic properties of naturally occurring plants were investigated as was the feasibility of space elevators.

The top prize on the day went to 5th year student Conor Foy from Colaiste Chiaran Croom, with his project ‘To design and manufacture a device to improve the timing among crew in a rowing’, which show-cased an app he has made to help with rowing crew performance.

 Other eye-catching investigations that were showcased at SciFest@LIT include:

  • To demonstrate the effects of urbanisation on avian nesting, populations and diet in the Shannon area – Alaine Lee from St Caiman’s Community School in Shannon analysed years of data to show the changes in bird populations as areas become more built-up. 
  • Dearbhla Guerin from Colaiste Mhuire in Askeaton looked at ‘The development of race track surfaces in Ireland and the UK over the last 25 years and the benefits that have emerged from these developments’. 
  • The Sustainable Energy Award for their project Thermakettle went to Transition Year students Maria Lyons, Roisin Owen and Kate Gloster from Laurel Hill Colaiste.
  •  Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh students Daniel Enright, Ben Ryan and Brian O'Riordan have turned their scientific investigations into a mini business. Their Odour abs products solve the age-old problem of smelly gear bags! 
  • Tom Bermingham, Ronan Allen and Conor Mackle from Kilrush Community School investigated the feasibility of ‘Space Elevators’.

LIT SciFest co-ordinator Science Lecturer Marie Walsh said; “It is hugely encouraging to see such high quality entries for this year’s SciFest@LIT. The Mid-West post-primary students are displaying a real interest in the sciences and you only need to take a look at the variety of projects and experiments on show to see that they have taken SciFest very seriously. It bodes well for the future of Institutes of Technology that there is such a high standard being set and today shows the value of SciFest as an outlet for students to explore science in ways that interest them. It also continues to receive local sponsorship from Roche, Beckman Coulter and Cook Medical.” It is refreshing to read the comment from one young student who exhibited at the event, ‘I really thought SciFest was a very engaging and entertaining event and I am very grateful to LIT who host it. My science is more interesting now and I would love to study it at LIT when I leave school’.

Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said; “SciFest is a fun and exciting way to encourage an interest in science at school level, providing not only an occasion to celebrate achievement and a job well done but also an opportunity to encourage active and collaborative learning. The rapid increase in participation in the competition is a clear indication of the interest and enthusiasm among students and teachers in the investigative approach to teaching and learning science.”

Commenting on SciFest2013@LIT, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) said: “SFI is pleased to support SciFest as it is vital that we engage and encourage our young people to increase their knowledge of science and engineering. It is these skills that are required to drive sustainable economic recovery in Ireland. This is one of 15 regional fairs and the standard of projects has been very high. We are pleased that SciFest and related competitions support SFI’s new strategy, Agenda 2020, as they are helping ‘to have an engaged and scientifically informed public.’ Activities such as SciFest play a key role in encouraging young people to study STEM subjects.”

 Dr Pádraig Ó Murchú, Education and Research Manager, Intel Ireland, remarked that; “SciFest allows students pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering and maths using an inquiry based approach, working individually or in groups and present their results to a wider audience.”

In 2012, almost 3,400 students from 227 schools exhibited close to 1,500 projects at SciFest events at third level colleges across the country. An additional 900 students exhibited 400 projects at their own SciFest in-school events. Please see www.scifest.ie for further information.

For further information contact: Marie Walsh, Science Department LIT 061 293338 / 0861739497

The SciFest programme is primarily sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Science & Engineering Programme and Intel Ireland. It is also supported by a number of other companies and organisations.

Dates and venues for SciFest@College 2013

​Institute of Technology/Venue Exhibition Date ​​Institute of Technology/Venue Exhibition Date​ ​Institute of Technology/Venue Exhibition Date​​
​Dublin ​22 March ​Waterford ​1 May ​Dundalk ​8 May
​Tralee 12 April​ ​LIT Tipperary ​2 May Letterkenny ​10 May
​Cork ​19 April Carlow ​2 May Blanchardstown ​14 May
Athlone​ 1 May​ ​Sligo ​3 May Galway-Mayo ​16 May
Limerick​ ​1 May Tallaght​ 8 May​
SiFest North-West,
University of Ulster - Magee Campus​
​11 June

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