Student behind AI project wins Young Scientist competition

The youth science competition and exhibition celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.

Laptop stock (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A student behind a project on artificial intelligence (AI) has won the BT Young Scientist competition.

Limerick student Sean O’Sullivan, from Colaiste Chiarain, won the contest with his project VerifyMe: A new approach to authorship attribution in the post-ChatGPT era.

Minister for Education Norma Foley congratulated the teenager on winning “the hugely prestigious top prize”.

“Being awarded this prize is a tremendous achievement, given the extremely high standard of entries presented,” she said.

“It is testament to Sean’s hard work and dedication to his chosen field of research, and to the unwavering support of his family, teachers and school.”

The minister also congratulated Anastasia Mazour, from Rockwell College, Tipperary, on being named the 2024 winner of the Education for Sustainable Development category, which is sponsored by the Department of Education.

The Kerry TD praised the annual science and technology exhibition on its significant anniversary, and said this year saw a record 2,000 projects submitted by more than 4,000 students.

She said that 15-year-olds in Ireland significantly outperform many of their counterparts across the OECD in science, and pledged the government’s dedication to promote uptake in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects in schools.

She added: “In this 60th year of the exhibition, significant credit must go to founders Dr Tony Scott and Fr Tom Burke who had the vision and determination to establish this event in Ireland back in 1963 and to all of those who have nurtured and celebrated scientific research in our school communities in the years since.

“The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition continues to demonstrate the breadth of what’s possible in our world when open and inquiring minds ask questions and explore new opportunities and solutions.

“Meeting students exhibiting projects this week and witnessing the innovation, creativity and attention to detail which they have applied to research on a wide range of subject matters has been a great honour.

“This year’s exhibition saw the highest number of projects entered in seven years, with over 2,000 projects submitted by over 4,000 students from schools across the island of Ireland. Well done to everyone who presented entries and to all of those who contributed in any way to making this another hugely successful year of the event.

“Our thanks also to BT for their dedication to supporting and empowering students along the way to the momentous occasion of showcasing their own scientific research at the exhibition.”