The BT Young Scientist of the Year 2008 is Emer Jones, a second year student from Presentation School, Tralee in Co Kerry.
Her project entitled, 'Research and Development of Emergency Sandbag Shelters' was announced by Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin and Chris Clark, Chief Executive Officer, BT Ireland at the awards ceremony held at the RDS in Dublin.
Minister Mary Hanafin presented Emer with a cheque for €5,000, a Waterford Crystal trophy and the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 20th European Union Contest for Young Scientists taking place in Copenhagen this September.
Chris Clark said: "Forty four years on and the exhibition goes from strength to strength. As the organiser, we invest in this event as it encourages students and schools through the 32 counties to have a passion for science and technology. This year's winner is a brilliant example of the creativity and ingenuity we set out to find each year through organising this showcase."
According to the judges, Emer's project examined the use of native materials to enhance the stability of emergency sandbag shelters used in disaster relief. Based on the award-winning sandbag shelter developed by Nader Khalili of the Cal-Earth Institute, Emer examined what materials could help the shelters stand up to earthquakes and high-winds and was able to demonstrate that using wood or bamboo sticks between the layers instead of the normal barbed wire method could deliver the same stability at much reduced cost.
Further awards presented tonight included Best Group named as first cousins, Edel Ryan and Fiona Ryan, from Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew, Co Galway for their Social and Behavioural category project in the Intermediate section entitled 'Living to Teach or Teaching to Live?.' They received a prize of €2,400 and a BT Perpetual Trophy.
The award for individual runner-up went to Henry Glass from Clongowes Wood College, Naas, Co Kildare for his project entitled 'The Detection and Locating of Food by the Slug, Limax pseudoflavus' entered in the Intermediate Section of the Biological and Ecological category. She was awarded €1,200 and a BT Perpetual Trophy.
1,128 students competed this week in 500 projects from 31 counties across Ireland. The RDS has already welcomed thousands of visiting students, teachers, parents, and members of the general public.
Doors are open from 9.30am to 5pm.