Two Derry schools have been congratulated for their success at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.
Oakgrove Integrated College, Derry won the University of Ulster Special Award, given to the best project from the north, for their examination of how to develop methods to harvest seeds from crops for replanting by farmers in developing countries.
Oakgrove were also awarded the prize sponsored by MATRIX, the NI Science Industry Panel, for the best school from the north of Ireland entering the event, while the Irish Medicines Board Special Award went to St Mary’s College for their ‘Medicinal safety’ project.
Education Minister John O’Dowd said the school should be “hugely proud of their achievements.”
“The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition represents the culmination of months of hard work and attendance at the event is reward in itself – but it is also a hotly contested competition across many categories and with 550 projects in the finals, to win any award category is a fantastic achievement.
“I spent an illuminating and inspiring afternoon at the exhibition during which I was greatly impressed by not only the standard of project entries, but also the enthusiasm, energy and diligence of the young people. Such passion is a tribute to the teachers who have invested so much in encouraging and helping the students progress their projects, as well as to the young people themselves who clearly enjoy the whole experience.
“It is this kind of real excitement about STEM subjects that will help the Executive deliver its long term goals of boosting the local economy on the global stage by creating an innovative, knowledge-based workforce.”
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood also congratulated the local schools.
“Great congratulations must go to the pupils and teachers of both these local schools. It is an achievement which can’t be underestimated given the highly competitive field at the RDS.
The Young Scientist Competition is an event which gains in profile each and every year.
“Schools from throughout the country put huge effort into preparing and practising for this event. The achievement of our local schools, St Mary’s and Oakgrove, is therefore all the more great.
“The schools and all the pupils involved should be justifiably proud of themselves,” he said.
Derry Sinn Fein councillor Colly Kelly said the local schools success was “great news”.
“Competitions such as this offer children from Derry an excellent opportunity to showcase their talents and to demonstrate their creative and innovative skills in their subject areas.
“Science is an important subject with huge technological leaps being made year by year, so it is crucial our young people are educated and encouraged to develop their skills in this area.
“It is important to promote and invest in STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Maths), subjects so that more and more young people can develop careers through science based industries,” he said.