Over 4,000 young people from over 130 schools across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland attended Northern Ireland’s largest science fair, the Sentinus Young Innovators and Big Bang Fair Northern Ireland, hosted at Ulster University’s Jordanstown campus.
Students showcased their science projects solving real world problems and competed for a variety of prizes including the chance to represent Ireland at a number of international science and engineering fairs in the USA and UK. The overall winners were Dylan Bagnall and Richard Beattie from The King’s Hospital School, Dublin. Both students will be given all-expenses paid trips to Phoenix, Arizona in 2019.
The annual showcase celebrates the achievements of young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and centres on an exhibition of innovative and exciting science projects, based around real world problems and carried out by students from schools across the island of Ireland.
The event was organised by Sentinus, an educational charity working with more than 60,000 young people each year, from schools and colleges across Northern Ireland, delivering programmes that promote engagement in STEM and support the development of scientific and technological skills. On the day, exhibitions of project work from primary, post-primary and further education students were displayed and judged by industry experts who volunteer their time as part of a commitment to progress the STEM agenda for Northern Ireland.
Alongside the exhibition and competition, school children were treated to a number of interactive workshops designed to bring science to life. This year saw ‘Astronomical’ by Scott Marley and ‘Power Up!’ by Neil Monteiro, with each putting their own creative spin on the wonders of science and engineering.
Employers, universities and industry bodies such as Queen’s University, Ulster University, Bombardier Aerospace and Randox Laboratories were also on hand to provide valuable advice about pursuing a career in the STEM sectors.
Speaking at the event, Bill Connor, Sentinus Chief Executive said:
“The Sentinus Young Innovators and Big Bang Fair is our biggest event of the year with more than 4,000 young people attending from right across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The event is all about promoting engagement in science and technology project work, exciting young people about the STEM subjects and promoting and rewarding innovation.
“Throughout the course of the academic year Sentinus has worked alongside schools and local businesses to expose students of all ages and abilities to practical, real world challenges that the STEM subjects are crucial to solving. As part of the exhibition some school children have been tasked with using their STEM knowledge to provide businesses with innovative solutions to real world problems and see the development process through to the end. It is this engagement between schools and businesses that will strengthen the STEM Agenda and help inspire growth in STEM careers, thus benefiting the Northern Ireland economy in the medium to long term.”