Minister encourages STEM entries for Scifest 2019

James Nolan

Minister McHugh was full of praise for the competition as he emphasised the importance of STEM and urged students to consider entering

Minister for Education Joe McHugh has called on second-level students in Ireland to put their science, technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills to the test as he launched SciFest’s call for entries for its 12th annual SciFest@College competition.

The competition, which has seen 60,000 students participate since its launch in 2008, is the largest second level STEM fair in Ireland and it aims to give students of all abilities and backgrounds the opportunity to develop research, problem solving, critical thinking and presentation skills.

Minister McHugh was full of praise for the competition as he emphasised the importance of STEM and urged students to consider entering.

“SciFest is a fantastic competition. As a government, we are committed to promoting young people’s involvement in this area. An event like SciFest gets young people engaged in STEM subjects and in research and innovation.”

“It drives interest and gives them a great opportunity to explore ideas and develop their skills outside their studies. I also want to thank the third level institutions for hosting events and I would like to congratulate everyone else who gets involved, as well as the team from SciFest that makes it all happen,” added McHugh.

While speaking at the launch of SciFest 2019 at the Technological University in Dublin, SciFest founder and CEO Shelia Porter emphasised her joy at what the competition has become while looking forward to further growth this year.

“SciFest has now been running for 11 years and 2019 will mark our 12th year of the competition. I couldn’t be happier at what the competition has become and just how many second level students are now showcasing their interest in STEM.”

“Last year over 10,000 students participated across the country and I look forward to seeing how much the competition grows this year,” said Porter.

Interim Director of Science Foundation Ireland, Margie McCarthy, wished the competition further success this year, stating that Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to backing such an initiative.

“SciFest is a terrific initiative that enables over 10,000 school students to grow their knowledge and passion for STEM. Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support this nationwide initiative since its inception through our SFI Discover Programme. We are delighted to see SciFest grow year on year and hope that 2019 is another hugely successful year for them,” said McCarthy.

Excitement for the competition is also growing amongst students who have a passion for STEM. Second level student Lucy Smith hopes for her school to get involved.

“I hope to get involved with my school as I think it is a great way for us to get involved in subjects like science and engineering and it is always an added bonus to able to work outside of the classroom for a few hours every week,” said Smith.

The closing date for entries to SciFest 2019 is Friday, March 8th.

James Nolan

Image credit: SciFest Facebook