Shane O’Connor and Liam Carew were awarded second place at the EU Contest for Young Scientists, for their insightful project that surveyed 2,000 Irish students.

The overall winners of the 2023 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) have been recognised at one of the largest science fares in the world.

Shane O’Connor and Liam Carew were awarded second place at this year’s EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) for their project, in a competition against more than 130 young scientists from 36 countries.

O’Connor and Carew, former students from The Abbey School in Tipperary, were noticed by the judging panel for their project titled: ‘Assessing the impact of second-level education on key aspects of adolescents’ life and development’.

This project surveyed 2,000 students across Ireland aged between 12 and 19, to examine how they found their education experiences impacted their social, physical, and mental wellbeing.

Prof Joe Barry, chair of the social and behavioural sciences group judging panel at BTYSTE 2023, said the research found that inequality is prevalent in DEIS schools, but that “exponential improvements in areas of pastoral care and physical health are quickly closing this gap”.

The two young scientists both spoke positively about their experience at EUCYS. O’Connor said it was an “honour” to represent Ireland and to be recognised when “the level of competition is so high”. Carew said it was “fantastic” to end the EUCYS experience “on a high”.

“We are heading straight into our first year at University College Cork on Monday, and we can safely say that the skills we have developed at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition and here at EUCYS have been crucial in preparing us for university life,” Carew said.

Ireland has a strong track record in this EU competition, having won 17 first place prizes over the past 33 years. Last year, the overall winners of the 2022 BTYSTE – Aditya Kumar and Aditya Joshi – also won the top prize at this EU competition.

In 2021, three BTYSTE winners – Greg Tarr, Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan – took home top prizes against 150 young scientists at the EU event.

Applications are now open for the 60th BTYSTE, which will take place next year in Dublin from 10 January to 13 January.

BT Ireland is encouraging students aged between 12 and 19 to fill out an online application form and submit a one-page proposal outlining their idea. Qualified entries will be announced at the end of October.

Leigh Mc Gowran
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