23 September, 2014 - Minister O’Sullivan congratulates Irish science competitions winners

The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, sent her very best congratulations to four second-level students who won major international science competitions.

Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow were this year’s winners of both the Grand Prize and of the 15-16 Age category at the Google Science Fair.

The students of Kinsale Community School, Co. Cork, won the BT Young Scientist & Technology Award in 2013 with their project, 'A statistical investigation of the effects of diazotroph bacteria on plant germination'. Their findings can be applied to help address food poverty and reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment.

The Google Science Fair, in its fourth year, is a global competition for students aged 13-18 years. As overall winners, the students were awarded a prize which included a visit to the Galapagos Islands (sponsored by National Geographic), $50,000 scholarship funding, and a visit to Virgin’s Galactic Spaceport, which is based in New Mexico.

Paul Clarke, of St. Paul’s College in Raheny, Dublin 5, was announced as this year’s winner of the CERN prize at the EU Contest for Young Scientists. After winning the national competition earlier this year, he represented Ireland at an EU level.

His project was based on solving long-standing maths questions, and was called “Contributions to cyclic graph theory."

He will spend a week in Geneva, at CERN, the European particle physics centre. 

Remarking on the successes, Minister O’Sullivan said: “I am thrilled to hear this fantastic news. These young people have shown us the possibilities that science offers to students. It is not just something that belongs in classrooms; it has so many applications across so many areas of our lives.

“What you do in school can make a real difference to people around the world. I hope this success shows how exciting the world of science is, and that students consider all of their options when making subject and course choices.”