BT Ireland has today revealed the top themes emerging from the project entries for the 2024 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE). The data shows that secondary school students from across the island of Ireland are interested in learning more about AI, diversity & inclusion and mental health. This January, 550 projects and hundreds of students will represent their school and community at the 2024 BTYSTE.
Of all the submissions for the 2024 exhibition, the most common project titles are focused on health (16%); mental, menstrual, sleep, medicine, ageing, behaviour. Mental health project entries covered a broad range of topics, such as beauty standards, sports performance, exercise and sleep. 2% of all entries specifically investigated the health and environmental implications of vaping, which suggests the awareness and concerns of young people around vaping.
AI accounted for 4% of all entries, with projects looking at how programmes such as Chat GPT can be used effectively in education and health. Diversity & Inclusion was another topic of interest for students this year. Of all entries, 3% focus on developing apps and technology to help improve the daily lives of those with physical disabilities. Neurodiversity (autism, in particular) was another emerging theme, suggesting growing interest from young people in the ways that technology can improve the lives of neurodivergent people.
Similar to previous years, the environment continues to be a strong trend within entries, with 11% of all projects covering the topic, from ways to become more sustainable, to environmentally friendly farming practices, microplastics, natural fertilisers and even fast fashion.
Young peoples’ interest in sport remains high, with 9% of projects investigating topics ranging from sports injuries to performance, as well as the use of technology within sports, gender, and mental health. Furthermore 6% of all projects also delve into education, investigating areas from mental health to academic success, innovation, and the use of apps and devices within classrooms and learning environments.
Schools who entered the 2024 BTYSTE were notified of results on Wednesday, 25 October, 2023. From January 10 to 13, hundreds of students will showcase their innovative ideas in the areas of Social & Behavioural Sciences, Technology, Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Biological & Ecological Sciences, and a brand-new category being introduced for 2024, Health and Wellbeing.
Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD said: “It is fantastic to see the level of engagement by students in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2024. It is an absolute highlight of the school calendar each year. The interest from students in health-related topics demonstrates young people’s interest in that area, and it’s great to see that the BTYSTE has created a new category for the 60th exhibition next year, ‘Health and Wellbeing’, that will enable secondary school students to explore that interest further. I am looking forward to visiting the Exhibition in January to see the exceptional ideas and innovations being showcased by students across Ireland. I wish to congratulate each and every student who has submitted a project to the BTYSTE, along with their teachers and parents who have supported them throughout the process.”
Shay Walsh, Managing Director at BT Ireland commented, “At BT Ireland, we’re looking forward to delivering the 60th edition of this national treasure in January. Each year we continue to be amazed at the caliber of ideas and innovations that are submitted for consideration to the BTYSTE. The volume of exceptional entries we received for 2024 exhibition shows that interest in science, technology, exhibition, and mathematics (STEM)continues to grow, and we are looking forward to recognise and nurture new talent in the sector in the new year.”
Mari Cahalane, Head of the BTYSTE concluded: “The BTYSTE is a fantastic platform for students to develop their best ideas to improve the world we live in and showcase them nationally and internationally. As one of the largest STEM school exhibitions in Europe, our alumni have been recognised globally and with the standard of entries for 2024 just as high as years before, we’re very confident that trend will continue. We are excited to see the 2024 BTYSTE entrants showcase their extraordinary work at next year’s exhibition.”
The 60th BTYSTE will take place from January 10-13, 2024. Ireland’s national celebration of STEM is one of the country’s best attended events every year and has something for all ages to enjoy. There are over 200 prizes to be won and a prize fund of €50,000 for BTYSTE 2024. These prizes are awarded across all five categories and age groups, including the overall BT Young Scientist & Technologist of the Year Award, worth €7,500, which will see the winners go on to represent Ireland at the prestigious European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), which takes place in the European City of Science 2024 - Katowice, Poland. Ireland has a strong record of taking home the prize for first place at the EUCYS, with 17 wins over the past 33 years.
Tickets for the BTYSTE 2024 will be available for purchase later this month.