2022 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition to go virtual

Organisers confirm annual showcase will be online for the second year in a row

Megan Carroll, Abby Mullins and Chloe Murphy from Moate Community School, who were overall group winners at the 2021 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, are pictured at Hodson Bay launching next year’s event. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Megan Carroll, Abby Mullins and Chloe Murphy from Moate Community School, who were overall group winners at the 2021 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, are pictured at Hodson Bay launching next year’s event. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

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The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) will be going virtual for a second year in a row next January in an indication of the possible longer-term disruption posed by Covid-19.

The 2022 edition of the annual showcase of scientific endeavour by young people in Ireland will take place from January 12th to 14th next. Now in its 58th year, it is Europe’s largest national science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) event.

By setting up a digital hub-cum-studio in the Mansion House, with a layout mimicking the event’s traditional home in the RDS in Dublin, the contest went ahead in January last with students engaging with their virtual audience via three-minute video presentations.

“We took the decision to announce that the 2022 exhibition will be a virtual exhibition in January as we wanted students, teachers and the school communities to have certainty about BTYSTE 2022 before the end of the current school year,” said BTYSTE head Mari Cahalane, who added that the plan was to return to the RDS in 2023.

“This decision allows all involved to begin planning their participation over the summer months.”

Prizes

Students chosen to present their projects in the virtual exhibition hall next year will be vying for more than 200 prizes across four categories and different age groups. The overall winner receives €7,500 and the opportunity to represent Ireland at the EU Contest for Young Scientists.

Greg Tarr, a Leaving Certificate student from Bandon Grammar School in Co Cork, won this year’s contest. He used artificial intelligence to develop a system to detect “deepfake” videos, which have caused havoc on social media channels.

While there was a drop in entrants this year due to the pandemic, the competition attracted a large international audience, with people in 77 countries following the online event.

BT Ireland managing director Shay Walsh said the competition has become “a staple in the school calendar” and is “an exciting and fun way for young minds to engage with science, technology, engineering and maths subjects”.

The four categories are: technology; social and behavioural science; biological and ecological science, and chemical, physical and mathematical science, and the event is open to second-level students aged 12 to 19.

Mairead Cusack, a teacher at Moate Community School who has won the BTYSTE educator of excellence award, said the exhibition is “a fun and exciting way to build our students’ interest in science”.

“I’m always so proud when I see the ideas students have and how excited they are to carry out their investigations,” she said.

Prospective participants must submit a one-page proposal outlining their project idea and entry fees are being waived to encourage students to pursue Stem challenges over the summer. The deadline for submissions is September 27th and details are available at btyoungscientist.com