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BTYSTE Nov 26, 2020

Students to tackle Covid-19, Mental Health and Local Issues at BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2021

  • Project titles heavily influenced by healthcare and Covid-19
  • 550 finalists for the 2021 Exhibition announced
  • 213 schools spanning 29 counties will represent their community at the BTYSTE
  • Projects titles show increasing awareness of major social issues such as mental health, gender studies and diversity

BT Ireland has today revealed the 550 finalists who will represent their schools and communities from across the island of Ireland at the first-ever virtual BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) from Wednesday 6th to Friday 8th January 2021. Selected from over 1,300 entries, the finalists represent 213 schools across 29 counties and will showcase their projects on the BTYSTE virtual platform to a national – and increasingly international – audience.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a driving force behind a large number of entries this year with a quarter of all qualified projects delving into topics on health and the impact of Covid-19.  Projects vary from topics which explore the effects lockdown may have had on different socio-economic groups, to investigations into the effectiveness of different types of facemasks and the impact of hand sanitizer on our skin. The impact of Covid-19 is explored across all four project categories – Social & Behavioural Science; Technology; Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences; and Biological & Ecological Sciences.

Year after year, the students that enter the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition explore and analyse both national and global social issues which are important to them. Many projects this year touch on direct provision, gender studies, race, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and socioeconomic challenges.

The ongoing prevalence of social media and technology in our everyday lives also features strongly in this year’s project trends alongside a growing trend of safety, our own personal safety and the safety of others. Qualified projects also demonstrate a continued interest in the science behind sports with projects investigating protective sportswear as well as the effects of nutrition on performance.

Over the coming weeks, students will focus on preparing to exhibit their projects and meet the judges at the 57th annual Exhibition.

Shay Walsh, Managing Director at BT Ireland said: “In spite of a challenging year for students and schools, BT Ireland and the BTYSTE judges are hugely impressed by the quality and quantity of this year’s projects. I commend all students who entered a project for the BTYSTE 2021 for their commitment and drive in recent months. To see the ways in which students, with the help of their teachers and parents, have interrogated the pandemic through their projects is incredible. 

It is encouraging to see that students are continuing to push beyond limits and produce innovative solutions and ideas to everyday problems they encounter. Congratulations to all the students, teachers and parents who have put so much time, effort and resources into the projects. When we see the volumes and the substance of these projects, we know the future is in safe hands.

Mari Cahalane, Head of BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition said: “For the first time in its history, the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will be turned into a virtual exhibition. We are excited to unveil the new interactive BTYSTE platform in January which will also bring the exhibition to new audiences, far and wide. We are looking forward to showcasing the amazing projects from some of the brightest young minds in the country in a new and innovative way. 

We have a full schedule of events suitable for all ages to look forward to in January, including special acts, the Primary Science Fair, and business events, all taking place alongside the showcase of student projects.” 

Minister for Education, Norma Foley said: “The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is the highlight of the school calendar every year. It gives our students a unique opportunity to explore and investigate their own interests in STEM subjects, and this year is no exception.

The projects this year demonstrate the great ambition of our students who continue to push boundaries by exploring solutions to the issues of the day such as the global pandemic, climate change, mental health and many others. 

I wish to congratulate every student who worked so hard to prepare and present their projects, all of the teachers who supported them, and parents who have also provided huge support. I wish all of the students the very best and hope that you all enjoy the exhibition in January. I look forward to engaging with everyone involved within the new virtual platform.”

For the first time in its prestigious history, the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will be delivered across a virtual platform from January 6th – 8th 2021. This national celebration of science and technology is one of the country’s best attended events every year.  For participants, the Exhibition offers a chance to win one of the most coveted awards with a substantial prize fund and the BTYSTE perpetual trophy, as well as over 200 prizes for individuals, groups, and teachers.