Updated: 02/05/18 : 13:33:11
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SciFest returns to IT Sligo - over 350 students to compete

SciFest is back: the stage is set at IT Sligo for hundreds of students who will battle it out at SciFest’s regional finals on Wednesday, 9 May, at the Knocknarea Arena.

Approximately 368 students from across the North West will exhibit more than 150 projects in hopes of wooing the judges and progressing to the prestigious Boston Scientific Medical Devices Grand Award at the national final in November.

IT Sligo is one of 16 regional science fairs taking place across the country, illustrating a surge in STEM popularity among second-level students in Ireland.

Dr Bill Crowe, SciFest@IT Sligo organiser, said he expects this year’s event to follow-on from the success of 2017 which saw the largest number of participants and projects ever and the eventual national winner.

He said: “IT Sligo has been successfully hosting a SciFest@College science fair each year since 2008.  As always, the projects entered by the students are impressive, engaging and thought-provoking. It’s evident from the high standard of research that goes into projects each year that second-level students from across the region are passionate about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).”

The SciFest science fairs programme is a national initiative founded in 2006 to encourage a love of STEM through active, collaborative, inquiry-based learning.

The programme offers an innovative way to expose students to, and enhance their understanding of, STEM subjects.

Following on from his success at 2017’s SciFest at IT Sligo, Aaron Hannon from St Muredach’s College in Ballina, Co Mayo, won the top award nationally. He is getting ready to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania later this month.

Aaron’s project, pictured above, was called ‘EnableArm’ a unique assisted shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity.


His teacher, Mr Kevin Boyle, was named Intel Teacher of Excellence and will accompany Aaron to the US.

Ben Maloney, also from St Muredach’s, made it a dual effort for the Ballina school as his ‘Bike Provision Prevention Sensor’ also progressed to the national finals.

The 2018 national winner and their mentor will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona next spring.

Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO said: “2017 was the tenth anniversary for SciFest and a hugely successful year with another big increase in the number of students taking part. In total 10,000 students exhibited their projects in local and regional STEM fairs across the country.

"We are sure that 2018 will be another successful year. SciFest gives students an excellent opportunity to develop their interest in STEM and inquiry-based approaches to learning, while developing their creative and problem-solving skills and learning to work in a team.”