Cork teens triumph at EU young scientist competition

Coláiste Choilm students Cormac Harris and Alan O'Sullivan won for their groundbreaking research on the prevalence of gender stereotyping in 5-7-year-olds and the development of an initiative to combat gender bias.
Cork teens triumph at EU young scientist competition

Cork's Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan have taken home first prize at this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists. Picture: Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography

Two Cork students took home the top prize at this year's European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) with their project on gender stereotyping.

Coláiste Choilm students Cormac Harris and Alan O'Sullivan won for their groundbreaking research on the prevalence of gender stereotyping in 5-7-year-olds and the development of an initiative to combat gender bias.

The project aimed to identify how early gender stereotyping can be identified and their research identified the need to focus on children of all genders from a young age in order to combat the development of gender stereotyping.

The duo won the 2020 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) and went on to represent Ireland at the EUCYS alongside this year's BTYSTE winner, Gregory Tarr from Bandon.

BT Young Scientist 2020 winners, Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan, and BT Young Scientist 2021 winner Gregory Tarr. Picture: Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography
BT Young Scientist 2020 winners, Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan, and BT Young Scientist 2021 winner Gregory Tarr. Picture: Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography

Gregory's project saw him take home third prize at the EU competition with his computer program which is designed to detect 'deepfake' videos.

The project uses a sophisticated artificial intelligence software program that can efficiently detect DeepFake media with state-of-the-art accuracy.

The software, which is over 150,000 lines of code, made significant improvements on speed and efficiency when compared to the current best model without sacrificing its ability to accurately detect the fake.

The tool could potentially be deployed at scale to filter out DeepFake media making the internet a safer place.

Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin ahead of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. Picture: Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography
Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin ahead of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. Picture: Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography

Cormac and Alan are Ireland's 16th winners in the EU-wide competition. Their triumph marks the second consecutive year that an Irish entry has won first prize.

This year’s EUCYS was hosted virtually in Salamanca, Spain and young scientists, aged between 14 and 20 years, competed from 39 countries across Europe and the world.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event brought together contestants from 2020 and 2021.

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