Overview of SciFest 2017
SciFest has had another very successful year to date in 2017. The number of students participating reached 10,000, an increase of 25% on the previous year. In all, some 298 schools and over 600 teachers were actively involved in SciFest at local and/or regional level. Since the project launched nationwide in 2008 some 50,000 students have taken part.
The number of schools hosting in-house SciFest@School science fairs increased by 19% to a total of 67. SciFest supported these schools with judges, certificates and awards for students, and promotional materials. Further supports were available through online resources and teachers' packs.
As in previous years SciFest@College fairs took place in 16 regional venues with almost 4000 students participating. These fairs took place between March and June in 14 Institutes of Technology, DCU and St Mary's College, Derry.
An innovation this year was a SciFest STEM fair in the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID) in the School of Education in Trinity College. The students were mentored by Daragh Fallon and Anna O'Flynn from Abbott Ireland, which also sponsored the event.
A further exciting development this year was the extablishment of a partnership with Gaisce - The President's Award. SciFest is now a Gaisce Challenge Partner. What this means is that students can now use their work for SciFest towards their Gaisce Award - more details available here.
The national final will take place in the Marino Conference Centre on 10 November. The top prize at this event will be an all-expenses-paid trip Pittsburgh, USA, to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in May 2018. The winning student(s) will be accompanied by their teacher.
Caolann Brady from St Wolstan's Community School in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, winner of the SciFest 2016 national final, represented Ireland at Intel ISEF in Los Angeles in May and was placed second in her category. In addition to a cash prize Caolann will have an asteroid named after her.
The winners of the SEAI INESPO award at the 2016 SciFest national final, Ciara Mac Carthy and Claire Lemass from Our Lady's Bower, Athlone, were awarded a first place gold medal at INESPO and participated in a one-week educational programme in Amsterdam.
SciFest continues to enjoy a high media profile with over 400 media placements in the past 12 months, including on the RTE TV News, on local radio and online. In addition to the traditional media SciFest had a significant presence on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. During the past 12 months the SciFest website had a total of over 33,000 hits.
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