Thursday, 27 April 2017

BT Ireland - Launches BT Young Scientist Expo

BT Ireland today launched the 54th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE), calling on secondary school students across Ireland to begin their preparation for the 2018 event in January.

To mark the launch of the 2018 exhibition, BT commissioned an independent survey of third-level students to identify levels and origins of interest in science and technology. The research revealed that participation in events like the BTYSTE has a strong influence on the future pursuit of science and technology at third level. However, 40% of students still perceive science and technology subjects as ‘too difficult’.

Last year, the BTYSTE recorded the highest ever number of entries proving that the popularity of the exhibition and engagement in STEM events is growing year on year. However, the research illustrates that there is still work to be done to promote the value of choosing science and technology subjects at secondary school level.Key findings revealed that:

-          40% say they didn’t take science for their Leaving Cert or consider it for third level as they found the subject too difficult
-          One in three had no interest in science or technology whatsoever
Despite the volume of Irish technology and science entrepreneurs making their mark, only 2% of students surveyed could identify an influential Irish scientist or technologist, with Robert Boyle (Founder of Boyles Law, Chemist and Physicist from Lismore Co. Waterford 1627-1691), emerging as the most influential scientist. This indicates a gap in understanding of the potential careers available to students choosing STEM subjects at second level and serves as a reminder that more emphasis needs to be placed on guiding students to think more carefully about their subject choices, and the many opportunities available to them.

Crucially, the research did indicate a positive link between engagement in STEM subjects and events at second-level andits influence on future choices:

-          77% of those surveyed who participated in BTYSTE went on to study science and/or technology in third-level. Of those surveyed that didn’t participate in the BTYSTE, less than 10% subsequently went onto study science and/or technology in third level
-          35% stated their school and peers were the biggest influential factor in determining their interest in science or technology, nearly tripling the respondents who suggested parents/guardians are the most influential (13%).  
-          56% of students currently studying science and/or technology at third level felt their parents and teachers put focus on STEM whilst at secondary school, compared to only 32% of other students
Shay Walsh, BT Ireland’s Managing Director said, “At BT, we’re proud to be entering into our 18th yearas organiser and sponsor of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Today’s research proves that initiatives like BTYSTE play an important role in cultivating an interest in science, maths, engineering and technology at the grassroots, but also highlights the need for schools to encourage their students to choose science or technology subjects at exam level to maintain that interest.
“For students, the future really does start here so I would encourage every student to consider getting involved in the BTYSTE to see for themselves how exciting and vast the world of science and technology can be.” 
This year’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibitionwill take place from the 10th-13th of January 2018 at the RDS, Dublin. The exhibition offers one of the most coveted awards for participants, with a substantial prize fund andthe BTYSTE perpetual trophy, as well as over 140 prizes for individuals, groups and teachers. In addition, the overall winner will represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in 2018.

Today’s launch also includes an interactive digital launch, which will see over 600 students and teachers from around the country participate in a live ‘BTYSTE Top Tips seminar’ at 10am acrosssocial media to show schools how easy it is to get involved. For more information, visit, or follow BTYSTE on Facebook and Twitter.