Ireland’s young scientist winner aims to take home European title

6th year student Shane Curran is representing Ireland at the final in Tallinn, Estonia

Terenure College student Shane Curran receives his BT Young Scientist award in January 2017

Terenure College student Shane Curran receives his BT Young Scientist award in January 2017


Ireland’s BT Young Scientist competition winner Shane Curran is hoping to take home the European title as Dublin starts preparations to host the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) next year.

The Terenure College student, who is representing Ireland with his qCrypt project at this year’s European final in Tallinn, Estonia, is encouraging students to start on their projects for the national competition in January 2019.

The closing date for the next BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition was yesterday, but Mr Curran told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that it is important to get working on a project early. The 2018 competition will start on January 10th in the RDS, Dublin.

Curran’s qCrypt award-winning data storage system was not his first BT Young Scientist project.

“I always wanted to enter the competition from when I was in fifth or sixth class in primary school, but the competition is for secondary schools only.”

qCrypt was Mr Currans’s this fourth entry in the long-running competition, so he considers himself a veteran.

His data storage system is a key-exchange system that double-encrypts data, which he believes would make it invulnerable even to the as yet unrealised promise of quantum computers. His encryption process also runs 40 per cent faster than current systems.

The competition in Tallinn is tough, he says, with projects across all disciplines including biology and chemistry.

“There are plenty I can’t get my head around. It’s great to see what other countries are doing and see how we can improve.”

Previous winning projects include a type of broadband internet using lasers, a new model of how light scatters when it hits a surface, and research into complex neurological disorders.

The winners of the EUCYS will be announced today between 9am and 11am - watch the livestream here.