28 May 2022

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Four out of five finalists in BD STEM STARS awards from Limerick

Four out of five finalists in BD STEM STARS awards from Limerick

Photo shows Desmond College, Newcastle West team that won last year’s BD STEM STARS, the 2022 final of which takes place on Thursday next, May 12th.

Four Limerick schools are in with a shot of landing one of the largest schools’ competition prize-funds in the Mid-West after making it into a shortlist of five for the BD STEM STARS Awards final next week (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths).

Outgoing champions Desmond College, Newcastle West, inaugural competition winners Thomond Community College, Salesian Secondary School, Pallaskenry and Coláiste Nano Nagle, Sexton St will join the only shortlisted school from outside Limerick, Coláiste Mhuire Co-Ed, Thurles in the final at the BD Research Centre Ireland (RCI) facility at the National Technology Park on Thursday next, May 12th. This is the third BD STEM STAR Awards and the first in-person event since the outbreak of COVID.

The finalists will demonstrate their projects to the judges on the day and will hear from BD RCI’s Site Director Padraig Fitzgerald. They will also get a tour of the cutting-edge labs in the high-tech facility before the winners are announced.

The outright winner of the competition will receive a €10,000 prize to go towards supporting STEM education as well as the STEM STARS trophy. The second placed school will receive a €6,000 cheque, with €4,000 for third place. Commendation awards of €1,000 each go to the finalists.

The high quality and diversity of projects developed by the finalists augurs well for the future availability of STEM talent in the region.

Salesian Secondary School in Pallaskenry have carried out an investigation into the use of external electrical stimulation in the treatment and management of Reynaud’s disease; Desmond College, Newcastlewest are putting forward a wearable early warning system to alert children and their parents of UV rays that cause skin cancer; Thomond Community College are exploring how to reduce incidents of concussion in high impact sports; Coláiste Nano Nagle have developed an accessibility app for visually impaired people that allows them shop independently, while Coláiste Mhuire Co-Ed in Thurles have created an that helps to manage diabetes including a feature for students to contact a teacher if having a hypo or hypoglycemic episode.

Looking ahead to the final, Mr. Fitzgerald said: “The STEM STARS competition is something we have a great passion for here in BD, not alone because it supports one of our key objectives in raising awareness of and participation levels in STEM, it has also been hugely encouraging for us to see the energy that the schools and students invest in their projects. We’ve been so impressed with the project ideas coming through, the excitement among students for the work and desire to know more.

“But above all, it’s the recognition that through the application of STEM, unmet needs in healthcare can be addressed and witnessing the desire of the students to play a part in that is a very positive outcome for us.”

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