Investing in young innovators

Looking back at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2016

IF you can dream it, you can do it. That’s the message the participants take away from the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, which is held every year in Dublin.

Now in its 54th year, the exhibition has grown from a fledgling science fair into an impressive showcase for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This all-island exhibition, which is organised and sponsored by BT, provides an important platform for young people to come together to investigate theories, discover new technologies and advance current knowledge through innovation.

Schools across the island of Ireland compete for the title of ‘BT Young Scientist and Technologist’ but it is much more than a competition. It is an unforgettable experience for the students taking part, who have caught the ‘science and technology bug’.

Pupils present their projects to leading academic and industry experts and are encouraged to think about the unlimited career opportunities in STEM-related subjects. Past winners have gone on to enjoy international success at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. Some are even turning innovative ideas into their own commercial ventures.

Around 550 student projects are put on show at the RDS in Dublin, alongside the interactive displays of some of our partner organisations. Visitors can learn about the latest scientific and technological developments and enjoy breath-taking shows in the 1800-seater arena, including a special appearance from top Northern Ireland illusionist, David Meade.

Participation in the competition continues to grow, year on year, with many schools becoming regular exhibitors. In fact, pupils from St Killian’s College, Carnlough, were so determined to return to Dublin in January that they told us, “As soon as we came home, we were already thinking up new projects for next year.”

No wonder, then, the Head of Technology at St Killian’s, Sean Connolly, won an Educator of Excellence award. The school enters a number of projects every year and participants have used their experience to win sponsorship for university courses and higher apprentice awards.

This is a science and technology festival which bridges the gap between the world of education and business. Working together with other like-minded organisations and leaders in innovation and technology, BT wants to inspire a future workforce of skilled science and technology innovators to address our most pressing challenges and provide a pathway to continued prosperity.

We want to inspire our young people and instil in them the belief that every idea, how big or small, is worth exploring.

:: Mari Cahalane is head of BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. For more information, visit or for further news and insights, join our BT Business & Public Sector Network in Northern Ireland LinkedIn group.  

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