The overall prize fund for 2015 has been boosted by up to €26,000, including €2,000 each for two teachers whose contribution to science and technology education at the event will be recognised.
Most of the increased prizes are on offer for senior students taking part, as fifth-year and sixth-year participants have the chance to help meet some of their college costs. The prizes will be awarded if they go on to attend any one of the country’s seven universities next year or in 2016.
For any of those who win the individual or group categories — with up to three students in each group project entry — there will be a €1,000 scholarship.
And if the overall winner at the 2015 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition on January 9 is either an individual or group in the senior age category, they will be eligible for €2,000 each.
The money will be theirs to spend as they choose and will be awarded by the university they attend, but may come in handy if the winners are liable for student contributions that will reach €3,000 next year.
Prof Brian MacCraith, president of Dublin City University, said the universities were delighted to partner with BT in their “common goal to encourage and harness science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) learning across the island.”
“We want to recognise the efforts and enhanced learning experience of those students that participate in the exhibition, as they approach their third-level education,” said Prof MacCraith, who also chairs the National STEM Education Review Group.
From a record 2,077 entries, 550 projects submitted by 1,185 students have been picked to exhibit at the RDS, Dublin from January 7 to 10.
They will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of this year’s overall winner Paul Clarke, a student of St Paul’s College in Dublin. He took the accolade for his work on complex mathematical cycles that plot efficient routes for computers and business.
The 2013 winners — three teenage girls from Kinsale Community School, Co Cork — were listed in Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential Teens of the Year in October. The previous month, Sophie Healy-Thow, Emer Hickey, and Ciara Judge won top prize at the Google Science Fair in San Francisco.
The Educator of Excellence prizes to be awarded at the January exhibition will be presented to one teacher in each of two categories — biological and ecological sciences, and social and behavioural sciences — for their STEM education work.
More information on the exhibition, which opens to visitors on Thursday, January 8, is available at www.btyoungscientist.com.