Ireland to host Europe’s top competition for young scientists in 2018

More than 100 projects from over 40 countries will compete for the European title

Students at the BT Young Scientist & Technology exhibition at the RDS last year. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Students at the BT Young Scientist & Technology exhibition at the RDS last year. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

 

The European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) will be held in Dublin next year, marking the 30th anniversary of the competition.

It is Europe’s leading science competition aimed at young people. The announcement was made today by the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton.

Ireland hosted the event once previously in 2004 and has enjoyed unparalleled success at the EUCYS, with 14 overall winners in the past 28 years.

The 2018 contest will be held at the RDS in September. More than100 projects from over 40 countries will compete for the European title in the largest staging of the event.

Organised by the European Commission, the event seeks to promote the ideals of co-operation and interchange between young scientists. A platform for the most promising young scientists across Europe, participants must each qualify from their own countries’ national exhibition, which in Ireland’s case is the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.

Mr Bruton said the announcement was endorsement of the continued emphasis placed by the Department of Education on STEM (science, technology, engineering and Maths) education at second level.

“It is a fantastic achievement to be selected to host the 30th EU Contest for Young Scientists... Initiatives such as this play an important role in raising awareness and engagement around science and technology and the impact it has on every aspect of our lives.”

He thanked board members of the charitable trust, the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition Ltd, who were instrumental in securing the contest and will be overseeing the running of the event.

‘A huge honour’

Mari Cahalane, Head of BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, and National Organiser for EUCYS 2018 said it was “a huge honour for Ireland and something we have been working towards for quite some time”.

She added: “EUCYS is something our participants at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition strive to compete at.

“The international students who will take part are the innovators and scientific leaders of tomorrow, and that is why it is so important that Ireland shows them the welcome they deserve next year.”

Speaking to The Irish Times, software engineer Abdusalam Abubakar, who was a dual winner of the 2007 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition and EUCYS when it was staged in Valencia, Spain, said he was delighted with the announcement.

He believed it was validation of the quality of Irish science, and he hoped it would help attract scientists to Ireland.

He recalled being overwhelmed by his dual win at the age of 16. He had arrived in Ireland from Somalia just two years previously and went on to win the BTYSTE having just completed his junior cert at Dublin’s Synge Street school.

His winning project on advanced mathematics was “an attempt to crack the most hacker-proof encryption system in the world”.

He won at EUCYS competing against entrants who were all at 1st year college level.

“I was barely two years in Ireland. To represent the country, like my new home, was quite a honour. I was overwhelmed.”

He took a gap year after his Leaving Cert to travel throughout Africa before studying applied mathematics at DCU in 2010.

He went on to do postgraduate courses in data science and analytics at UCC, and software development at DIT.

He works with the technology company in Ericsson in Athlone, Co Westmeath.