Laois Young Scientist winner 'determined' and did 'incredible' work says teacher

Michelle Hogan


Michelle Hogan


Heywood Community School student Caoimhe Murphy from Ballyroan has won an Highly Commended Award for her project at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Caoimhe contested the senior individual Biological and Ecological Sciences section of the BT Young Scientist Exhibition.

The judges rewarded Caoimhe for her investigation of the effect of wild bird cover (GLAS) on seed eating bird populations.

Caoimhe was one of six Laois projects at the huge exhibition this week, all six are from Heywood Community School and videos of each project are now on

Aodhagan O Suilleabhain is the Science Co-Ordinator at Heywood CS. He said the work Caoimhe did was “incredible”.

“We are very proud of her and delighted for her, she is a very good student and her experiment was very good.

“Caoimhe took it on herself, she would come to us now and then with a question or to ask advice but it was surprisingly quiet coming up to Christmas we were expecting to help out a lot but she went and did most of it herself which is incredible. She took it all on board and she was determined,” he said.

Six projects from Heywood Community School were at the exhibition which was in the RDS in Dublin from Wednesday, January 10 to Saturday, January 13.

“We were very busy and were kept going, it was great fun altogether. I think they got a lot out of it and they are all exhausted now. We will sit back after a few days and have a meeting to discuss where we can go in future.

“We are delighted to have participated and delighted to come away from it with an award,” he said.

Re-vamping science for the TY class in Heywood popularised the subject among students.

“We had a science fair to revamp science for TY class and that popularised the idea for the subject. We didn’t set out and recruit people they came to us and they wanted to have a go at it.

“It was a bit strange back to normal on Monday after being out last week in a different environment we were leaving at quarter to seven every morning and not getting back until quarter past eight every evening. They were focused on their projects and the judging so they are exhausted now. Well done to all of the students,” he said.

See also:

WATCH: Laois student develops library for graph analysis in senior category of BT Young Scientist

WATCH: Laois students examine the effects of sound on ASD people for BT Young Scientist

WATCH: Laois twins Melissa and Jessica Donegan examine text language at BT Young Scientist

WATCH: Laois students test the need for speed at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition

Laois student shines with project on Irish teenagers at BT Young Scientist #watch #btyse

The overall winner of the 54th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) was Simon Meehan, aged 15, a Transition Year student from Colaiste Choilm in Cork.

He took home the top prize for his project entitled ‘Investigation into the Antimicrobial effects of both aerial and root parts of selected plants against Staphylococcus’ aureus. T

he coveted prize was presented to the winner this evening in the BT Arena by Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton and Managing Director of BT Ireland, Shay Walsh.

Simon Meehan presented his project in the Biological and Ecological section of the Intermediate category.

Simon’s award includes the largest prize fund yet of €7,500, the BTYSTE perpetual trophy and an exclusive trip to Bletchley Park in the UK, the infamous World War II coding centre. In addition, and uniquely this year, the winner will have the opportunity to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, taking place in the RDS, Dublin in September 2018. This will be only the second time in the 30-year history of the competition that Ireland will host this prominent international event.

The award for Group winner went to James Knoblauch, Harry Knoblauch and Oran O’Donoghue, all aged 16 and 5th year students from St. Brendan’s College Killarney, Co. Kerry for their project entitled ‘An Investigation into Conformity and How Minorities Influence it’. The students were in the Social and Behavioural Category at Senior level.  In two controlled psychology experiments, the project demonstrated how one person can influence the behaviour of others, using a unique approach to studying group dynamics, focusing on the influence of an individual within a group setting.

 The Individual runner-up award was presented to Claire Gregg, aged 16, transition year student at Loreto College St. Stephens Green, Dublin for her project entitled ‘An Analysis of the Housing Shortage in Ireland using Agent-Based Modelling’. Claire was in the Social Behavioural Sciences category at Intermediate level. Claire’s project addresses a significant challenge in society in an innovative, sophisticated way by modelling complex data on the housing shortage in Ireland. The model identifies the most salient factors affecting the Irish housing market by drawing on extensive data sources.

 The Group runners-up award was presented to Darragh Twomey, Neil O’Leary and Andrew Heffernan, aged 16, transition year students at Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co. Cork for their project entitled ‘Feeding 9.6 billion people by 2050’. The students were in the Biological and Ecological Sciences category at Intermediate level. They carried out a field study to increase food production in a sustainable manner. They treated barley with a specific strain of bacteria and found it increased the yield of varieties of the crop.

This year an impressive 2,031 projects from 4,251 students across the island of Ireland were entered, with every county represented by a submission. 60% of entrants are female and the highest ever number of entries from DEIS schools, a positive indication of the power of this platform to engage participation in the critical STEM subjects. 

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition continues tomorrow, Saturday 13th January, and is open to the public from 9:30am. – 5:30pm.

Make sure to book your tickets online in advance at ticketing to avoid disappointment as both Thursday and Friday of the Exhibition totally sold out.

Visitors can look forward to a packed event once again tomorrow with 22 shows which include the Ministry of Science, World of Robots and a Journey Through Space and Time.


For more information, visitors can download the free BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition app now. Alternatively, log onto, check out , or follow on Twitter at