President Michael D. Higgins opens 58th Young Scientist Exhibition

At the opening of the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition, President Michael D. Higgins said that science needs a redirection, “perhaps even a paradigm shift, so it will help solve the great social challenges of our time with the best effect for all.” can help”.

In times of a pandemic and a global public health emergency, “Young Scientist Awards have significance in achieving the greater-needed awareness of the world’s dependence on science and technology,” he said.

The participating young scientists were engaging in positive and often important and urgently needed efforts of collective action, Mr Higgins believed, as the competition’s 58th staging is online due to COVID-19.

The pandemic has reaffirmed the vital importance of science as a vital tool for humanity, Mr Higgins said, both in combating the transmission of the coronavirus, and for alleviating the misery and tragedy that it begets.

But he underlined: “In science and technology its consequences are never neutral. The purpose of application, delivery and its possibilities is essentially an ethical issue.”

Ireland was fortunate to have so many young people who are “problem-solvers, critical thinkers and those who relentlessly pursue the promise of tomorrow, as well as create possibility.”

Andy Bucur, in John the Baptist Community School, Co Limerick, is demonstrating his project, the Fundus Eye Scanner, at the 58th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. Photograph: Fennel Photography

As citizens of the future, they are needed “as a source of hope for crafting a shared and better life for all who inhabit this fragile planet”, Mr Higgins said.

Addressing this year’s entrants, he said: “You will be remembered if your contribution was one to an ethical society, if the results of science and technology are allowed to flow for common human benefit and, above all, for ecological responsibility.” went. “


The president said progress should be equitably deployed in the parts of the world that need them most – and in Africa in particular.

“From the climate change crisis – the greatest threat facing us, an existential threat – to the related issues of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, science can address almost all of the great challenges we face as a global community of citizens. . , global poverty, hunger, famine, malnutrition, inequality, to name just a few,” he said.

Scientific effort, Mr Higgins believed, could enable the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: providing an adequate response to climate change, reducing hunger and poverty, creating healthier living conditions and education and Providing universal basic services, including health care, and achieving the link between economy, society, ecology and culture “which we urgently need and cannot postpone”.

I have predicted that the center of success will be the transfer of science and technology on equal terms. “The shameful failure that the uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines shows how far we have to go in this regard.”


The coming generation had the opportunity to redefine the relationship between science, technology and society, he said, unlike the tragedy of the past when the sharpest scientific intelligence as advocates for the arms industry or for some of the world’s worst polluters was occupied.

Activities such as the BT Exhibition “demonstrate an active citizenship on behalf of the participating students, your families, teachers and others who have supported you in your scientific inquiries and discoveries”.

“Such active citizenship contributes greatly to an inclusive republic, in which all citizens are encouraged to participate as active members engaged in shaping an inclusive, prosperous, enlightened society and sustainable economy, which needs evidence. Power is informed,” Mr Higgins said.

In a congratulatory message to the entrants, BT Chief Executive Philip Jensen said: “You are all re-imagining the future and helping to build a more responsible, inclusive and sustainable world.”

This year’s projects cover a wide range of topics from health, mental wellness, climate crisis and biodiversity loss – with more than 200 awards awarded in four categories. The overall winner receiving €7,500 in prize money and a chance to represent Ireland in the European Union competition for young scientists will be announced on Friday.

The public can view the projects and other BT Young Scientific and Technology exhibition events through Exhibition Portal, more details are here