Programme Description

Programme Description


The SciFest programme consists of a series of one-day STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) fairs for second-level students. The aim of the programme is to encourage an interest in, and love of, the STEM subjects. The programme is designed to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. Established in 2008 the programme is now implemented at four distinct levels.

Level 1. Local – SciFest@School

SciFest@School is where second-level schools host their own in-house SciFest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) fair. Support for the event is provided by SciFest in the form of a SciFest STEM Fair Toolkit, resources and BKMs on the SciFest website. Support for judging, certificates and a small number of prizes for participating students and promotional materials are also provided. This strand was introduced in 2011 and there has been strong demand from schools to participate. From just 5 schools in 2011 the number participating increased to 71 in the 2017/2018 school year. In these 71 schools almost 7200 students presented just over 3000 projects.

Level 2. Regional – SciFest@College

The Institutes of Technology, DCU and St Mary's College, Derry host one-day SciFest STEM fairs which are open to all second-level students. A SciFest fair consists of a competition and exhibition of projects, a prize-giving ceremony, and may also include a selection of science talks, science demonstrations in the college laboratories and advice on careers in STEM and courses available in the college. SciFest@College affords students the opportunity to visit a third-level college, view the facilities and get information on the various STEM courses available. The fact that the event is regionally based and has open and free entry means that SciFest is both accessible and inclusive. The project also has a cross-border aspect as St Mary's College in Derry also hosts a SciFest fair and some students from schools in Northern Ireland cross the border to participate in fairs in the Republic.

Level 3. National - in Association with SFI

Winning projects from each SciFest@College STEM fair are invited to participate in a national SciFest STEM fair. The projects are evaluated by an expert panel of judges from academia, enterprise and government. Each of the exhibitors is presented with an Excellence in STEM award in recognition of their success at the regional fairs and the overall winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip along with their teacher to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which is held annually in May in the USA. The top five award winners of the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award at the regional science fairs also participate in the national final.

Level 4. International – SciFest@ISEF and SciFest@INESPO

SciFest participated in the Intel ISEF for the first time in May 2012. ISEF is a one-week science fair, held annually in the USA since 1950, at which some 1800 students from over 420 affiliated science fairs in approximately 75 countries, regions and territories compete for a range of prizes. The projects are judged by a 1200-strong panel of highly-qualified judges. In the seven years in which SciFest has participated in Intel ISEF our students have won a total of nine major awards.

In 2014 SciFest affiliated to the International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) in the Netherlands. This competition attracts students from over 50 countries all over the world. In June 2015 SciFest participated in the INESPO competition for the first time. The three students from the Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty achieved a first place award and gold medal for their project on LED street lamps. In 2016 Lúc de Barra from Coláiste Raithín in Bray, Co. Wicklow achieved a second place and a silver medal for his project on extracting biodiesel from pine needles. In 2017 Ciara Mac Carthy and Claire Lemass from Our Lady's Bower in Athlone were awarded a first place gold medal for their project entitled 'Caonach Cliste' which looks at the use of Sphagnum moss as a natural filter for harvested rainwater. In 2018 INESPO was converted to an exclusively online competition and participation in the event is no longer an award at the SciFest national final.

Programme History

Please follow this link to view a history of the development of the SciFest programme.

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25 2019
SciFest@School in Seamount College, Kinvara, Co. Galway
06 2019
SciFest@School in Adamstown Community College, Lucan, Co. Dublin
13 2019
SciFest@School in Mount Anville Secondary School, Mount Anville Rd, Dublin 14
13 2019
SciFest@School in Our Lady of Mercy College, Beaumont, Dublin 9
Michael D. Higgins, Patron of SciFest
SciFest is a registered charity.

Michael D. Higgins
© 2019 SciFest